A business continuity plan PDF can act as a go-to reference for an entire organization or business unit.
However, to make the plan as useful as possible, it should be completely self-contained. By including everything needed in a single document, it will be much easier for teams to implement the plan when the time comes.
In this article, we’ll explore what types of information should be included in that continuity plan.
Why Create a Business Continuity Plan PDF?
A business continuity plan is a structured, pre-planned response to an emergency, disaster, or another type of business disruption.
For a plan to be implemented effectively, continuity teams – as well as other parties within the organization – must be able to access that plan easily and quickly.
Creating a PDF is useful because:
- Team members will have a reference document that can help them stay aligned and in sync
- Activities, expectations, and responsibilities will be clearly defined
- A PDF can provide all necessary information in a single place, which both saves time for readers and ensures that there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings regarding the plan activities
A well-written continuity plan PDF, in other words, can become an invaluable go-to resource for business continuity teams.
What to Include in a Business Continuity Plan PDF
Below, we’ll look at some of the most important sections to include inside a continuity plan, as well as what content to place inside each section.
At the outset of the plan, it is important to provide introductory material that explains the general nature and aim of the plan, its creation date, who created it, and other general information.
Much of this can be included on the cover page or on the first page of the report.
Purpose and Scope
In this section, more detail can be provided regarding the specific activities and purpose of the plan: which business units are covered, when the plan should be implemented, and so forth.
Business Continuity Team
Every plan will be implemented by a business continuity team.
Here, detailed information should be provided about that team, including contact details, the team structure, and the team members’ responsibilities.
Protection of Key Business Units
One of the most important aims of a business continuity plan is the protection of important business units and functions. Protecting the customer experience, for instance, is of the utmost importance during any business continuity effort.
This section will outline the sequence of activities to undertake in order to protect those critical functions.
Recovery and Restoration Strategies
Once the most important business functions have been protected and maintained, it is important to restore any other functions that have been lost.
These restoration activities should address any business activities that would be impacted by the disruption, including business units and processes as well as assets.
Relocation may be necessary in certain situations.
If a worksite is compromised, for instance, then workers may be required to relocate to a new site. Remote working can also be a useful strategy for ensuring uninterrupted business functioning, as many organizations discovered during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Training and Exercises
Training, drills, and exercises can ensure that employees stay prepared and can implement the plan successfully.
In this section, detail should be provided regarding the content of the training, when and how often it should be implemented, and how performance should be evaluated. Exercises and drills, which can help evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed plan activities, should also be covered in this section.
Continuity Plan Maintenance
To stay relevant, every business continuity plan should be regularly maintained and updated. This section will outline how often the plan should be revisited and updated, while also including a log of past revisions.
Communication plays an important role in every continuity plan, and guidelines should be provided regarding the content, frequency, and types of communication. For instance, organizations may restrict exactly what information should be communicated to customers and the public.
Templates can also be useful, since they can improve adherence to those guidelines and save time for continuity team members.
Business continuity plans often revolve around the protection and restoration of business activities. But these plans will not always be implemented in isolation – they will often be accompanied by emergency response plans, IT disaster recovery plans, and other response plans with different aims.
It is important to reference those plans here, not only to save time for those reading the plan, but also to provide context and information regarding the overall response effort.
Since time is so valuable during emergency responses, it is important not to waste time searching for contact details.
Contact lists should provide those details, along with names, addresses, the contact’s function, and other relevant information. Placing all of these contact lists in a single section can make it easy for readers to find and access.
Required Documents, Forms, and Templates
Useful documents can include status reports, feedback forms, communication templates, and similar items, all of which can be included in a single appendix for easy referencing.