A business continuity plan sample template is a must-have tool for anyone developing a business continuity plan.
In this article, we’ll provide a detailed sample template that can be used and modified as needed, regardless of the type of disruption being addressed.
Having a template on hand can greatly simplify the creation of new business continuity plans, as well as emergency response plans, disaster recovery plans, and other continuity plans.
An Easy-to-Use Business Continuity Plan Sample Template
Continuity plans will vary in length and complexity, depending on the organization’s scale, its industry, and its needs.
However, the following outline can be customized and applied to a wide variety of circumstances. Each section covered below includes a short description of the section, as well as a list of specific points to address.
Every business continuity plan should include a section detailing general information about the plan and its purpose.
Here are a few items to cover:
- General recovery information, such as contact information for continuity coordinators, recovery site information, and critical dependencies affected by disruptions
- Types of disruptions, disasters, or emergencies that the continuity plan would address
- General recovery strategies, which should first aim to protect people, then business processes and assets
- Which business functions should be recovered, recovery sites, and recovery time frames
This section should only aim to provide a brief summary of the plan, without exploring any of the actual processes or procedures.
Training and Exercises
A business continuity team will be responsible for the execution of the plan. But change readiness is essential – in order to implement the plan properly, they will need to receive the proper training.
This section will describe that training in detail, including:
- The specific goals of the training efforts
- The types of training that teams will receive
- Which team members will receive which training
- When training should be conducted and updated
- Exercises, drills, and simulations that will offer hands-on practice
Training should occur on a regular basis, in order to ensure that business continuity team members can respond competently and effectively if the plan is executed. Live exercises and drills can be used to simulate disruptions and give team members the chance to demonstrate their abilities.
Plan Activation Process
This section outlines the actual sequence of actions that will occur at the outset of the continuity plan.
In this section, it is useful to include:
- Notification checklists that describe a series of parties to contact at the outset of a response
- Business continuity team members’ responsibilities
- Declaration policies and procedures that describe guidelines for how disruptions will be communicated, the content of those communications, and so forth
Once these items have been completed and the plan has been activated, it is time to begin the core activities associated with this particular continuity plan.
Recovery and Restoration Procedures
Not every business continuity plan will have the same aim or purpose, though many revolve around disaster mitigation and recovery.
In such cases, restoration and recovery would be the primary aim of the continuity plan, which would include activities such as:
- General recovery activities and tasks, as well as the sequence of these tasks and who will be performing them
- Data retrieval procedures that will be conducted during certain types of IT disruptions
- Restoration and reconstruction procedures that will aim to rebuild systems and processes
- Relocation or remote working procedures that can be implemented during natural disasters or other disruptions that impact a workplace
Since these actions are the primary effort that will drive every business continuity effort, it may be tempting to create plans that consist only of these procedures.
However, it is important to realize that every other section of the continuity plan is equally important – without the proper training, for instance, business continuity teams won’t actually be able to implement the plan successfully.
Since business continuity plans should be implemented rapidly, it is important to have contact lists and details on hand.
These lists can include telephone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, and other contact details for…
- Business continuity team members
- Government agencies
- Vendors and business partners
Having all of this information will save valuable time and ensure that business teams spend time only on the most important recovery and restoration activities, rather than spending that time searching for and compiling contact details.
An appendix can include other relevant information, such as:
- Other related business continuity plans, such as emergency response plans and continuity plans that cover other types of disruptions
- Documents and resources required for the successful implementation of the plan
- Required forms and reports, such as status reports, communication templates, and expense logs
The proper implementation of recovery and restoration plans can make a big difference in the outcomes and the effectiveness of those efforts. Therefore, the more detail that can be included, the better.