- Skip to right header navigation
- Skip to main content
- Skip to secondary navigation
- Skip to footer
Business Continuity and Crisis Management Consultants
7 Business Continuity Exercise Scenarios That You Need to Prepare For
May 17, 2022 By // by Bryan Strawser
According to research, about 25% of businesses fail to recover after disasters. If they lack a recovery plan, it becomes hard to cope with the repercussions. That’s why your business needs an ideal business continuity plan (BCP). In this article, we discuss how to test your BCP plan using several different business continuity exercise scenarios.
To top off business security in case of exercise scenarios, testing your BCP prior is crucial. However, it’s good to understand that each business has a distinct BCP depending on size and other factors. That’s why you need to carry out a risk assessment and business impact analysis to be aware of the ideal risk factors.
Luckily, below, we discuss seven of the most common business continuity exercises, types of tests, and the importance of testing your continuity plan.
Types of Tests
These are the three most common tests for your plan to ensure business continuity if the risk occurs.
1. Plan Review
It’s one of the most straightforward tests. The planning and recovery team goes through all the points on the BCP. The team ensures the plan covers all the company’s objectives without conducting any practical work.
2. Tabletop Testing
It’s the most common in many businesses and a better version of the plan review. In this test, employees test the plan in a conference setting . The employees get to act and respond to specific exercises as they would if it was the actual day of the incident.
3. Simulation Test
It’s the most realistic of the three, where employees perform the exercises in their workstations. It’s also the most practical, as they don’t skip any activity.
Importance of Testing
Testing your business’s BCP is crucial because it creates a picture of the scenarios, making it easy for team members to relate. Here’s why you need to conduct the tests.
- Team members get practical preparation.
- It’s good to identify any loopholes in the BCP.
- It ensures you cover all your company’s objectives.
- Lastly, it gives room to amend the BCP before the ideal scenarios.
Want to put your tabletop exercises on auto-pilot?
In our experience, business teams that practice crisis, disruption, and business continuity scenarios respond faster and recover more quickly than teams that do not.
Managing crisis & continuity exercises for hundreds of business units worldwide is a tall order. That’s why we’ve developed a set of crisis & continuity exercises that can be executed by a business leader in an hour or less – and don’t require expert facilitation from a crisis management or business continuity team.
Our Exercise in a Box scenarios and materials were written by the battle-tested experts in crisis management, business continuity, and crisis communications at Bryghtpath.
Learn more about Exercise in a Box >>
Business Continuity Exercise Scenarios
Now that you understand why you need a business continuity plan, the kind of tests to conduct, and their importance, let’s dive into the ideal exercise scenarios.
Cyber security is still a worrying issue for most businesses, as it poses a threat to a company’s data. Since most companies today share their data through the internet, they are prone to phishing, ransomware , and malware. These could lead to data loss and an expensive yet risky recovery process.
For instance, imagine a scenario where one of the employees gets exposed to phishing, leaking the company’s critical details. To handle such a case, you need to answer a few questions like, do you have the proper means to retrieve the data? How fast would the process take? Is the information encrypted? And lastly, who should the employee report to first? That will help you develop the best plan to help you in such a situation if it happens.
In as much as pandemics don’t happen every so often, COVID-19 came as a reminder that you cannot avoid preparing for one. You should have measures to control the effects of the pandemic as a business since inception.
For instance, if it’s a contagious disease, your BCP should stipulate what departments need to report to work physically. It should also state how remote workers can access the company’s data. Lastly, your business continuity plan should note if such an arrangement would affect payroll for better coordination. With such measures in place, the situation becomes manageable, and you have an assurance of business continuity until the pandemic is over.
3. Physical Disruptions
These could involve fire, active shooters, or workplace violence. For instance, if there was a fire, is your team aware of how they could respond to that ? Depending on your company’s location, some areas have a requirement to conduct fire drills often. Either way, it’s wise to prepare your employees in advance.
Conduct a fire drill often, and let your team know how they respond if it happens. The same goes for active shooter scenarios. Let them know the essential measures for their protection.
4. Natural Disasters
Especially in disaster-prone areas, prior preparation is crucial. These disasters could include earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires. For instance, in the case of earthquakes, the west coast is prone to earthquakes and wildfires, while the east coast is more prone to hurricanes and snowstorms.
Depending on your business location, you need to prepare to handle such occurrences. You can even set aside a budget to control damages and set up your business in a way it can withstand disasters. Also, it would help if you prepared for a time when it’ll be impossible to have employees reporting to work physically.
5. Power Outage
For instance, in a scenario where there’s a power outage because of a storm and the power company gives a power outage notice for a few days, do you plan to run the business? Do you have backup generators? Will all employees have to report to work physically? These are some questions you should consider when making a continuity plan for a power outage.
6. Network Outage
Today, access to a network is crucial for communication and completing everyday tasks. Having a backup plan is vital. You should ensure employees can access company data through a secure means. That ensures business continues, especially in critical departments.
7. Emergency Communication
It’s the most critical part of any business. That involves a channel of informing the ideal personnel when there’s a hitch or any shortcoming. For instance, how fast is your channel for emergency communication? Does your channel offer emergency contacts, people that are first to get information? In case of a power or network outage, would you still communicate? Is your team well informed on how to access it?
These are some of the questions you need to ask when selecting an ideal communication channel . That’s because communication is the backbone of success in any undertaking. It helps with coordination, ensuring you conquer any barriers your business might encounter.
It would be easier for a business to respond to a risk occurrence with measures already in place. That’s because you are not starting from zero. Also, you get to minimize the downtime and survive the season until recovery. Every business needs this for its continuity despite setbacks.
Want to work with us or learn more about Business Continuity & Crisis Management?
- Our proprietary Resiliency Diagnosis process is the perfect way to advance your business continuity & crisis management program. Our thorough standards-based review culminates in a full report, maturity model scoring, and a clear set of recommendations for improvement.
- Our Business Continuity (including effective continuity exercises) & Crisis Management services help you rapidly grow and mature your program to ensure your organization is prepared for the storms that lie ahead.
- Our Ultimate Guide to Business Continuity contains everything you need to know about Business Continuity while our Ultimate Guide to Crisis Management does the same for Crisis Management.
- Our free Business Continuity 101 Introductory Course and/or our Crisis Management 101 Introductory Course may help you with an introduction to the world of business continuity & crisis management – and help prepare your organization for your next disruption.
- Learn about our Free Resources , including articles, a resource library , white papers, reports, free introductory courses , webinars, and more.
- Set up an initial call with us to chat further about how we might be able to work together.
About Bryan Strawser
Bryan Strawser is Founder, Principal, and Chief Executive at Bryghtpath LLC, a strategic advisory firm he founded in 2014. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in the areas of, business continuity, disaster recovery, crisis management, enterprise risk, intelligence, and crisis communications.
At Bryghtpath, Bryan leads a team of experts that offer strategic counsel and support to the world’s leading brands, public sector agencies, and nonprofit organizations to strategically navigate uncertainty and disruption.
Learn more about Bryan at this link .
PO Box 131416 Saint Paul, MN 55113 USA
- Active Shooter Programs
- Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS)
- IT Disaster Recovery Consulting
- Resiliency Diagnosis®️
- Crisis Communications
- Global Security Operations Center (GSOC)
- Emergency Planning & Exercises
- Intelligence & Global Security Consulting
- Workplace Violence & Threat Management
Our Free Courses
Active Shooter 101
Business Continuity 101
Crisis Communications 101
Crisis Management 101
Workplace Violence 101
Our Premium Courses
5-Day Business Continuity Accelerator
Communicating in the Critical Moment
Crisis Management Academy®️
Managing Threats Workshop
Preparing for Careers in Resilience
Business Continuity Plan Templates
Communications & Awareness Collateral Packages
Crisis Plan Templates
Disaster Recovery Templates
Exercise in a Box®
Exercise in a Day®
Ready-Made Crisis Plans
Resilience Job Descriptions
Pre-made Processes & Templates
- Add to Favourite
- Google Plus
Right Tool, Right Price, Right Now!
Express BCP - The Professional Business Continuity Plan Template
Business Continuity Plan Exercises and Tests
The primary purpose of testing is to ensure that the strategies, plans, and procedures that have been put in place are fully understood by all concerned and are fit for purpose on an ongoing basis.
Business Continuity Plan Exercises and Tests are especially designed to identify problem areas, and so the success of a test cannot be judged solely through whether it worked exactly according to plan (they rarely do!).
The success of a test can be measured by the value which is gained from its performance, particularly in the area of problem identification and resolution.
The objectives of testing and exercising are to ensure that:-
- All staff are fully aware of their recovery responsibilities and duties;
- Staff training has been adequate
- All necessary recovery resources are available as detailed in the recovery plans
- All essential supplies can be obtained as anticipated
- All documentation has been kept current and reflects current arrangements and procedures
- Bottlenecks, uncertainties, and unreliable procedures are identified and resolved prior to any recovery incident
- Alternate facilities to be utilized in recovery meet all requirements; and
- Senior management is comfortable that the plans will work as expected
- Business Continuity Plan Template
- Threat & Risk Assessment Template
- Business Impact Analysis Template
- Tabletop Walk-Through Exercise Template
- BCM Policy and Guidelines
- Testing & Exercise Project Plan
- Pandemic Plan Template (Influenza)
Business Continuity Info
- Business Impact Analysis
- Threat/Risk Analysis
- Recovery Strategies
- Creating the BCP
- BCP Testing
- Disaster Recovery Plan Template
Thousands of companies have already enjoyed saving time, money, and energy by using our Business Continuity Plan template. Below is a sample of our notable clients: [ click to view more clients ]
What is BCP testing?
Published on November 15, 2022
Jump to a section
Everything you need to know about business continuity, straight to your inbox.
Business continuity planning is only half the battle. An effective business continuity strategy must be effective in multiple scenarios and for various uncontrollable events.
You have put together a team responsible for crisis management and implementing your disaster recovery scenarios. To ensure business continuity, your key personnel must also ensure that these strategies have been tested and reviewed for effectiveness.
BCP testing involves a series of exercises and simulation tests to mimic the effects of the crisis. An effective testing approach must involve various scenarios so your team can handle any situation with ease. Your testing should encompass readiness for different BC incidents , whether a small-scale issue like a power outage or a large-scale event like a cyber attack or a natural disaster.
Why is it essential to conduct BCP testing?
As a business owner, a positive mindset can go a long way. But it isn't particularly helpful if you're conducting a risk management and assessment strategy. You need to anticipate, plan for, and mitigate risks before they occur. If you don't, the entire organization could crumble and your business continuity would be at risk.
Testing the business continuity plan (BCP) is a must when you are developing your operational resilience strategies. If you are not conducting BC plan testing, you have no way to ensure that the strategy you have in place is the best at managing your perceived risks and threats.
BCP testing enables you to achieve the following:
- Identify any gaps in your existing business continuity plan, develop ways to address them and take corrective actions to increase the plan's maturity.
- Identify interdependencies in various departments of your disaster recovery plan. You can use the test findings to develop a coordinated plan among department heads in the event of a disaster.
- Speed up your company's response to a crisis and ensure compliance requirements are met.
- Avoid having a damaged reputation because you can show your customers resilience during times of crisis.
- Ensure that your business continuity plan is current and updated. Take actionable findings from your business continuity plan testing to identify where improvements are needed.
As a business owner, you have the responsibility to assess your continuity plan and whether regular testing is needed to avoid revenue loss resulting from an inadequate plan.
How often should you perform testing on business continuity plans?
Many businesses perform an annual plan review while others do it every six months. There are no hard and fast rules on the frequency of performing business continuity plan testing. It depends on the unique circumstances and needs of your company, as well as the type and nature of risks.
One thing is definite, though: the more complex the plan is, the more it requires testing and review.
For example, a large multinational organization will require a more complex business continuity plan than a startup consisting of only five employees. The type of products or services offered by the company will also determine the complexity of the business continuity strategy and the subsequent business continuity tests to be done.
An extensive supply chain has more moving parts and that requires the company to ensure all those parts are working efficiently. Any disruption to the critical component of the company can result in the business temporarily halting operation, or inefficiencies in its operation.
Regulation is another factor that impacts the frequency of testing your business continuity plan. The healthcare and finance industries are two of the most highly regulated industries. If your company is part of this industry, you need to regularly conduct business continuity testing to ensure that you satisfy all the requirements for operation even during disruptive events.
The use of technological tools that automate business continuity plan testing is a smart investment for companies of all sizes. The automated review ensures that you don't have to perform regular manual testing of your business continuity strategy.
Why do companies fail to test their BCP?
In a nutshell, companies tend to realise how important business continuity planning is when disruptions have already affected their business. There are many factors and reasons why companies don't invest much time and effort in planning and testing, including:
Where time, effort and money have already been spent in the creation of a plan, businesses assume that the plan is and will always be effective.
Exercising will highlight assumptions such as whether all staff listed in the plan are available and able to complete their duty as required, if access is prohibited in required areas and for longer than anticipated, and if all IT systems and applications will be restored within expected timeframes and access to data be as expected.
It is these knock-on effects that have to be addressed in exercising, by coming up with solutions and going on to further exercise these.
For example, carrying out regular checks of the company call tree allows a company to evaluate the response rate of staff members and verify telephone numbers communication is of ultimate importance during an incident, and as we know, contact details can change at any time.
The crisis management team should then be able to use the plan effectively during an incident, and the individuals listed in the plan will be better equipped to respond to their assigned duties.
Secondly, where resources are sparse and time and personnel are vital, testing as a priority can get pushed down the list. Lack of commitment, budgets, complacency and buy-in can lead to any scheduled testing getting shelved. These will put your business resilience at risk.
Experience shows that untested plans have a greater likelihood of failure, resulting in lost revenue, damage to reputation and impeded customer fulfilment.
As vital as testing is to the success of BCM, you must however not put the business at risk through the process of testing. As this activity can be time and resource heavy, it can be a complex process which is costly to an organisation of any size. Taking people out of their jobs at critical times, highlighted in your BIA, can be expensive and unnecessary. Good testing should have focus and planning to avoid this.
Another way in which a lack of exercise and testing can negatively affect a business is the relationship these activities have with compliance. To fulfil the requirements outlined within the official ISO standard for Business Continuity, ISO 22301 , exercising and testing must be conducted at regular intervals by an organisation, which must then evaluate and record the findings of these events to continually improve and update its BCMS.
The standard is focused around the 'Plan-do-check-act' management model, and in this case, testing and exercise would fall into the check' step within the model, which is defined by ISO as to monitor and review performance against business continuity policy and objectives, report the results to management for review, and determine and authorize actions for remediation and improvement '.
An organisation therefore must conduct these activities regularly should they wish to certify, or even align with these standards as they certainly will not be successful in doing so if not.
How to Perform BCP Testing
BCP testing should be able to provide you with confidence and validation that the BC and crisis management plans & strategies are feasible, and that all team members and staff are familiar with and understand their roles in the BC process.
Good testing should be focused and varied. There are various ways to test your business continuity plan. Make sure you use all of these methods so you can address various areas of your continuity plan and keep it updated.
The first tier of business continuity plan testing is the tabletop exercise. This testing method involves specific disaster situations and evaluating how your crisis response team deals with these scenarios. The goal of this test is to assess if any gaps weren't previously addressed.
To conduct the tabletop test, you must identify a realistic threat to the organization. Make sure that this threat is relevant to your industry or organization. Identify your continuity objectives for performing the tabletop test and create a schedule for how and when it will be conducted.
Use whatever information you obtain in the test, such as strengths and weaknesses, to create a successful continuity plan.
A plan review is like an audit of your business continuity plan details. It involves the business continuity team, department heads, and C-level management. They will take an in-depth look at the plan details to see if any areas need revision or if there are missing components.
The plan review is crucial for managers as they will be responsible for passing on this information to the rest of the employees. It's also a good opportunity to update the contact information of the BCP team as part of the emergency communication strategy.
It is also a type of test that is important if you have new employees. It should be included as part of their onboarding or training.
A structured or walk-through exercise is another example of a test that you can use for the continuity plan. Unlike the tabletop test, this one is more active. It specifically deals with disaster recovery functions, such as restoring backup systems for data loss, verification of redundant systems, and addressing various mission-critical functions.
The walk-through test will involve the critical personnel who are part of your business continuity team. The critical personnel will be discussing plan details and designate roles on how to respond to a real-world disaster and the most disruptive events.
The full simulation test is another method of testing your continuity plan details. This test must be performed to mimic the effects of a real disaster or disruptive event. You can also conduct a single-team simulation as part of testing a specific team's capacity to respond to specific disaster recovery scenarios.
A full-scale exercise is ideally done at full capacity; this means all of your employees and critical personnel are involved in the test. Make sure you undergo the previous exercises before you move on to the full-scale exercise.
Tips for keeping BCP current
Testing your business continuity plan ensures that it fits your organization's needs. It also minimizes the impact of multiple scenarios and disruptive events on the critical component of continuity.
However, test findings update your existing continuity plans to ensure that they are relevant even as the circumstances affecting your company might have changed. The industry and the conditions that it operates in are constantly changing. You have to develop a methodical and systematic review of your continuity plans to meet your specific needs and enable faster recovery.
The following tips will enable you to come up with actionable findings that ensure your continuity planning is relevant and accurate.
Regular testing is a must
Regular tests are important if you want your business continuity planning to succeed. Things are constantly changing in the business landscape. There are known threats to your company and there are also new threats that emerge. Some of the things that were not previously a threat to your business existence might be a significant factor that can lead to revenue loss or damaged reputation .
You need to conduct testing to be able to gather the critical information and plan for how you can prepare for these different scenarios.
Internal communication is key
Communicating the overall risk and benefits that can come from an effective exercise and testing programme should be key to aid buy-in, support and uptake.
Making sure departmental awareness training is up-to-date is vital and makes testing more worthwhile. If an incident does occur and those listed in the plan have been trained and had their roles communicated effectively, then there is a greater chance of executing the plan successfully.
Integrate your business continuity planning with your Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
The most effective and updated continuity plans are those that accurately measure the scale of a disastrous event's impact on your company and its revenue potential.
Test your vendor's continuity plan
This approach is critical if your business relies on an effective supply chain management system. You need to ensure your vendor's success as it is also critical to your business success. It's a good idea to conduct facilitated discussions with critical vendors as they are an integral part of your continuity.
The Bottom Line
A business continuity plan provides your organization with a blueprint for what steps to take in the event of a disaster. However, continuity planning is only as good as it fits the purpose. BCP testing is one of the ways that you can evaluate if the current plans and measures are aligned with your goals and needs.
Creating the business continuity plan is only the first step. You have more work to do in terms of testing and reviewing the results to ensure that it's doing its job in protecting your company from disruptive events, and enabling you to stay open.
An effective business continuity plan will help your business get through any operational downtime. Utilising a tool or software to assist in your BCP planning, including your testing and exercises can significantly improve your processes and simplify things for everyone involved.
Benefits of using web-based software to aid your Business continuity plan testing
At Continuity2, the Exercising module creates the exercise types according to your specific organisational needs, schedules the test, invites the relevant employees by email, defines the aims of the exercise, and communicates the details to the participants.
Once completed, the software reports on the observations of the exercise and records recommendations and actions raised as a result of the exercise. All reports are distributed and signed off via the software and held within the system for Audit purposes.
Exercises are created and calendared via a simple to use interface where all of the exercises for an entire organisation can be planned and communicated easily, i.e. 15 minutes to plan and document an exercise and 20 minutes to report on the exercise after completion. Post-exercise reports are automatically produced by the system. Actions to improve are automatically captured in the systems action tracking module and included as part of the corrective action or continuous improvement function if desired.
Book a demo today to see the software in action and learn how to maximise your BCP testing processes and results.
Written by Aimee Quinn
Resilience Manager at Continuity2
With an Honours degree in Risk Management from Glasgow Caledonian University and 6+ years in Business Risk and Resilience, Aimee looks after the design and implementation of Business Continuity Management Systems (BCMS) across all clients. From carrying out successful software deployments to achieving ISO 22301, Aimee helps make companies more resilient and their lives easier in the long run.
BCP Test Scenarios
Get real!! Take business continuity & incident response testing to the next level with Facilit8r. Experience simulated social media storms, ransom negotiations and many more challenges that occur in real-life incidents
The purpose of basing a BCP test on a specific scenario is to create an element of realism by simulating a threat scenario that could significantly affect the organisation. Simulations introduce a realistic stress level so that plans and delegates are challenged in a robust and meaningful way.
A scenario can be thought of as a root cause - the event that created the impact on our organisation, and which resulted in an operational impairment on people, processes and things that is significant enough to warrant invoking incident management and business continuity plans. So when considering a BCP test scenario we need to make sure that it adds realism and relevance to the BCP test.
To do this we need to consider two things: what the precise BCP test scenario is and what impact it will have. The impact of the chosen scenario will have a significant bearing on the usefulness of the test: if the impact is too small, then the BCP test will become a “near miss” and will not require the business continuity plan to be invoked. An excessively large impact could become overwhelming – meaning that the BCP test is halted because the planned impact creates a “meltdown” that cannot be managed.
Below we provide a list of scenarios categorised by the impact they can create:
BCP test scenarios that can be used to support BCP tests where the primary impact is loss of access to buildings or workplace:
Bomb / bomb scare
Water services outage or infection
Structural damage to buildings (caused by weather or accidental damage)
BCP test scenarios that can be used to support BCP tests where people are the primary impact
BCP test scenarios that can be used to support BCP tests where critical infrastructure is the main impact
Critical application failures
External telecoms failures
Of course, some of these scenarios can impact more than one thing – a flood can not only damage or deny access to the workplace it could affect IT systems and external networks. These considerations will be part of the BCP test objectives and the BCP test plan .
That covers BCP Test scenarios - continue to read more about other aspects of BCP testing
Get in touch by completing our contact form
Follow or connect with Steve, RiskCentric's owner & founder via LinkedIn
We use essential cookies to make Venngage work. By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Cookies and similar technologies collect certain information about how you’re using our website. Some of them are essential, and without them you wouldn’t be able to use Venngage. But others are optional, and you get to choose whether we use them or not.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are always on, as they’re essential for making Venngage work, and making it safe. Without these cookies, services you’ve asked for can’t be provided.
Show cookie providers
- Google Login
These cookies help us provide enhanced functionality and personalisation, and remember your settings. They may be set by us or by third party providers.
These cookies help us analyze how many people are using Venngage, where they come from and how they're using it. If you opt out of these cookies, we can’t get feedback to make Venngage better for you and all our users.
- Google Analytics
These cookies are set by our advertising partners to track your activity and show you relevant Venngage ads on other sites as you browse the internet.
- Google Tag Manager
- Daily Infographics
- Graphic Design
- Graphs and Charts
- Data Visualization
- Human Resources
- Training and Development
- Beginner Guides
7 Business Continuity Plan Examples
By Danesh Ramuthi , Nov 28, 2023
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a strategic framework that prepares businesses to maintain or swiftly resume their critical functions in the face of disruptions, whether they stem from natural disasters, technological failures, human error, or other unforeseen events.
In today’s fast-paced world, businesses face an array of potential disruptions ranging from cyberattacks and ransomware to severe weather events and global pandemics. By having a well-crafted BCP, businesses can mitigate these risks, ensuring the safety and continuity of their critical services and operations.
Responsibility for business continuity planning typically lies with top management and dedicated planning teams within an organization. It is a cross-functional effort that involves input and coordination across various departments, ensuring that all aspects of the business are considered.
For businesses looking to develop or refine their business continuity strategies, there are numerous resources available. Tools like Venngage’s business plan maker and their business continuity plan templates offer practical assistance, streamlining the process of creating a robust and effective BCP.
Click to jump ahead:
7 business continuity plan examples
Business continuity types, how to write a business continuity plan, how often should a business continuity plan be reviewed, business continuity plan vs. disaster recovery plan, final thoughts.
In business, unpredictability is the only certainty. This is where business continuity plans (BCPs) come into play. These plans are not just documents; they are a testament to a company’s preparedness and commitment to sustained operations under adverse conditions. To illustrate the practicality and necessity of these plans, let’s delve into some compelling examples.
Business continuity plan example for small business
Imagine a small business specializing in digital marketing services, with a significant portion of its operations reliant on continuous internet connectivity and digital communication tools. This business, although small, caters to a global clientele, making its online presence and prompt service delivery crucial.
Scope and objective:
This Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is designed to ensure the continuity of digital marketing services and client communications in the event of an unforeseen and prolonged internet outage. Such an outage could be caused by a variety of factors, including cyberattacks, technical failures or service provider issues. The plan aims to minimize disruption to these critical services, ensuring that client projects are delivered on time and communication lines remain open and effective.
Operations at risk:
Operation: Digital Marketing Services Operation Description: A team dedicated to creating and managing digital marketing campaigns for clients across various time zones. Business Impact: High Impact Description: The team manages all client communications, campaign designs, and real-time online marketing strategies. An internet outage would halt all ongoing campaigns and client communications, leading to potential loss of business and client trust.
The BCP should include immediate measures like switching to a backup internet service provider or using mobile data as a temporary solution. The IT team should be prepared to deploy these alternatives swiftly. Additionally, the company should have a protocol for informing clients about the situation via alternative communication channels like mobile phones.
Roles and responsibilities:
Representative: Alex Martinez Role: IT Manager Description of Responsibilities:
- Oversee the implementation of the backup internet connectivity plan.
- Coordinate with the digital marketing team to ensure minimal disruption in campaign management.
- Communicate with the service provider for updates and resolution timelines.
Business continuity plan example for software company
In the landscape of software development, a well-structured Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is vital. This example illustrates a BCP for a software company, focusing on a different kind of disruption: a critical data breach.
Scope and objectives:
This BCP is designed to ensure the continuity of software development and client data security in the event of a significant data breach. Such a breach could be due to cyberattacks, internal security lapses, or third-party service vulnerabilities. The plan prioritizes the rapid response to secure data, assess the impact on software development projects and maintain client trust and communication.
Operation: Software Development and Data Security Operation Description: The software development team is responsible for creating and maintaining software products, which involves handling sensitive client data. The integrity and security of this data are paramount. Business Impact: Critical Impact Description: A data breach could compromise client data, leading to loss of trust, legal consequences and potential financial penalties. It could also disrupt ongoing development projects and delay product releases.
The IT security team should immediately isolate the breached systems to prevent further data loss. They should then work on identifying the breach’s source and extent. Simultaneously, the client relations team should inform affected clients about the breach and the steps being taken. The company should also engage a third-party cybersecurity firm for an independent investigation and recovery assistance.
Representative: Sarah Lopez Role: Head of IT Security Contact Details: [email protected] Description of Responsibilities:
- Lead the initial response to the data breach, including system isolation and assessment.
- Coordinate with external cybersecurity experts for breach analysis and mitigation.
- Work with the legal team to understand and comply with data breach notification laws.
- Communicate with the software development team leaders about the impact on ongoing projects.
Related: 7 Best Business Plan Software for 2023
Business continuity plan example for manufacturing
In the manufacturing sector, disruptions can significantly impact production lines, supply chains, and customer commitments. This example of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for a manufacturing company addresses a specific scenario: a major supply chain disruption.
This BCP is formulated to ensure the continuity of manufacturing operations in the event of a significant supply chain disruption. Such disruptions could be caused by geopolitical events, natural disasters affecting key suppliers or transportation network failures. The plan focuses on maintaining production capabilities and fulfilling customer orders by managing and mitigating supply chain risks.
Operation: Production Line Operation Description: The production line is dependent on a steady supply of raw materials and components from various suppliers to manufacture products. Business Impact: High Impact Description: A disruption in the supply chain can lead to a halt in production, resulting in delayed order fulfillment, loss of revenue and potential damage to customer relationships.
The company should establish relationships with alternative suppliers to ensure a diversified supply chain. In the event of a disruption, the procurement team should be able to quickly switch to these alternative sources. Additionally, maintaining a strategic reserve of critical materials can buffer short-term disruptions. The logistics team should also develop flexible transportation plans to adapt to changing scenarios.
Representative: Michael Johnson Role: Head of Supply Chain Management Contact Details: mj[email protected] Description of Responsibilities:
- Monitor global supply chain trends and identify potential risks.
- Develop and maintain relationships with alternative suppliers.
- Coordinate with logistics to ensure flexible transportation solutions.
- Communicate with production managers about supply chain status and potential impacts on production schedules.
Related: 15+ Business Plan Templates for Strategic Planning
BCPs are essential for ensuring that a business can continue operating during crises. Here’s a summary of the different types of business continuity plans that are common:
- Operational : Involves ensuring that critical systems and processes continue functioning without disruption. It’s vital to have a plan to minimize revenue loss in case of disruptions.
- Technological : For businesses heavily reliant on technology, this type of continuity plan focuses on maintaining and securing internal systems, like having offline storage for important documents.
- Economic continuity : This type ensures that the business remains profitable during disruptions. It involves future-proofing the organization against scenarios that could negatively impact the bottom line.
- Workforce continuity : Focuses on maintaining adequate and appropriate staffing levels, especially during crises, ensuring that the workforce is capable of handling incoming work.
- Safety : Beyond staffing, safety continuity involves creating a comfortable and secure work environment where employees feel supported, especially during crises.
- Environmental : It addresses the ability of the team to operate effectively and safely in their physical work environment, considering threats to physical office spaces and planning accordingly.
- Security : Means prioritizing the safety and security of employees and business assets, planning for potential security breaches and safeguarding important business information.
- Reputation : Focuses on maintaining customer satisfaction and a good reputation, monitoring conversations about the brand and having action plans for reputation management.
As I have explained so far, a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is invaluable. Writing an effective BCP involves a series of strategic steps, each crucial to ensuring that your business can withstand and recover from unexpected events. Here’s a guide on how to craft a robust business continuity plan:
1. Choose your business continuity team
Assemble a dedicated team responsible for the development and implementation of the BCP. The team should include members from various departments with a deep understanding of the business operations.
2. Outline your plan objectives
Clearly articulate what the plan aims to achieve. Objectives may include minimizing financial loss, ensuring the safety of employees, maintaining critical business operations, and protecting the company’s reputation.
3. Meet with key players in your departments
Engage with department heads and key personnel to gain insights into the specific needs and processes of each department. This helps in identifying critical functions and resources.
4. Identify critical functions and types of threats
Determine which functions are vital to the business’s survival and identify potential threats that could impact these areas.
5. Carry on risk assessments across different areas
Evaluate the likelihood and impact of identified threats on each critical function. This assessment helps in prioritizing the risks and planning accordingly.
6. Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
Perform a BIA to understand the potential consequences of disruption to critical business functions. It has to be done in determining the maximum acceptable downtime and the resources needed for business continuity.
7. Start drafting the plan
Compile the information gathered into a structured document. The plan should include emergency contact information, recovery strategies and detailed action steps for different scenarios.
8. Test the plan for any gaps
Conduct simulations or tabletop exercises to test the plan’s effectiveness. This testing can reveal unforeseen gaps or weaknesses in the plan.
9. Review & revise your plan
Use the insights gained from testing to refine and update the plan. Continual revision ensures the plan remains relevant and effective in the face of changing business conditions and emerging threats.
Read Also: How to Write a Business Plan Outline [Examples + Templates]
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should ideally be reviewed and updated at least annually.
The annual review ensures that the plan remains relevant and effective in the face of new challenges and changes within the business, such as shifts in business strategy, introduction of new technology or changes in operational processes.
Additionally, it’s crucial to reassess the BCP following any significant business changes, such as mergers, acquisitions or entry into new markets, as well as after the occurrence of any major incident that tested the plan’s effectiveness.
However, in rapidly changing industries or in businesses that face a high degree of uncertainty or frequent changes, more frequent reviews – such as bi-annually or quarterly – may be necessary.
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) are two crucial components of organizational preparedness, yet they serve different functions. The BCP is aimed at preventing interruptions to business operations and maintaining regular activities.
It focuses on aspects such as the location of operations during a crisis (like a temporary office or remote work), how staff will communicate and which functions are prioritized. In essence, a BCP details how a business can continue operating during and after a disruption.
On the other hand, a DRP is more specific to restoring data access and IT infrastructure after a disaster. It describes the steps that employees must follow during and after a disaster to ensure minimal function necessary for the organization to continue.
Essentially, while a BCP is about maintaining operations, a DRP is about restoring critical functions, particularly IT-related, after a disruption has occurred
It’s clear that having a robust and adaptable business continuity plan (BCP) is not just a strategic advantage but a fundamental necessity for businesses of all sizes and sectors.
From small businesses to large corporations, the principles of effective business continuity planning remain consistent: identify potential threats, assess the impact on critical functions, and develop a comprehensive strategy to maintain operations during and after a disruption.
The process of writing a BCP, as detailed in this article, underscores the importance of a thorough and thoughtful approach. It’s about more than just drafting a document; it’s about creating a living framework that evolves with your business and the changing landscape of risks.
To assist in this crucial task, you can use Venngage’s business plan maker & their business continuity plan templates . These tools streamline the process of creating a BCP, ensuring that it is not only comprehensive but also clear, accessible and easy to implement.
5 Essential Scenarios for Testing Your Business Continuity Plan
By Lauren Groff:
Business continuity planning is being widely embraced as an essential component of business strategy. With a continuity plan, you’ll ensure your organization will be able to deal with and recover from any potential threat that could arise. Despite widespread adoption, however, too many businesses consider a BCP a once-and-done affair. However, to ensure the greatest resilience in your organization, regular testing of your plan will ensure it’s up to scratch.
Testing your plan often reveals gaps and flaws that would otherwise be unforeseen – business threats are dynamic, and your BCP needs to be adaptable to ensure your business survives.
How Often Should You Test? Once you acknowledge the need for testing your BCP, the questions of how and when arise. The unique position of every organization, and the threats to their position, means that there’s no right or wrong time to test your BCP. A larger organization with more at stake – as well as more variables affecting performance – will need to test more often than a smaller organization. What’s key, however, is that your BCP is tested. Without assessing the performance of your BCP in test conditions, you’ll never know if your organization has the resilience it badly needs.
1) Data Loss or Data Breach
No company can operate without its data. Yet data is inherently vulnerable, and often an avenue of attack. Testing your BCP for the eventuality of a data breach will ensure your business has a proactive response to a loss, whether that’s caused by an external attack or internal error.
In the event of a data breach, regaining possession of your data is critical. Your BCP will outline how your data has been backed up. But does your business continuity plan facilitate the restoration of your data, and determine who is responsible for implementing this procedure?
2) Power Loss Power outages happen for a variety of reasons and are more and more common as adverse weather becomes the norm. Utility companies can take several days to restore power in worst case scenarios. An absence of power causes huge knock-on effects on business operations and this is one essential scenario for your BCP to perform against.
Logistical strategy in response to power outage should be outlined in your BCP and a hierarchy of relief should be established to ensure that the departments that need a quick response get the help they need. Make sure you know if your BCP is equipped to respond to this scenario.
3) Network Outage A network outage often follows from a power outage, but the network can drop without power disappearing, with no indication of how long it may last. Any business continuity plan needs to be prepared for the unique elements of this scenario.
Testing your BCP under these conditions will ensure that the network is restored without delay. In 2021 more employees than ever before are working from home and ensuring your BCP hasn’t become outdated can prevent dramatic losses of productivity when the network fails.
4) Physical Events Fire, hurricanes, or tsunamis – we never expect a natural disaster to land on our doorstep, until it does. Whilst all organizations will have regular fire drills in place, ensuring your BCP is ready for any extreme act of nature will build great resilience into your business.
Beyond acts of nature, situations such as bomb threats and civil unrest may need to be taken into account in a BCP. Whilst some scenarios will unfold in unforeseen ways, planning a BCP that’s flexible in the face of disaster is vital to success.
5) Emergency Comms Communication is essential to your ability to operate your business, and whilst comms may fail during natural disaster or power outage, communication is so important it deserves its own place within your BCP testing procedure.
Preparing non-traditional methods of staying in contact with your team such as emergency notification software will allow you to keep in touch no matter what happens. This is likely to be the groundwork for any action plan contained within your BCP and its performance should be tested regularly.
Wrapping Up Business continuity plans are vital to the resilience of your organization in the face of disaster. As challenging circumstances emerge, the corporations that have assembled and tested their responses will be ready to thrive. Make sure you’re on the winning side.
About the Author: Lauren Groff has been Emergency Management Coordinator for 4 years and is the lead tech writer at Essay writing services reviews and Best assignment writing services AU . She’s passionate about protecting organizations from the influx of variables the world throws at them. You can read more of her work at Best essay writing services .
OnSolve Announces New Brand Identity and Critical Event Management Platform Innovation
Improving employee safety during a pandemic: q&a with epidemiologist mark stibich, similar articles.
Breaking the Risk Management Ice – Two Truths and a Lie
Valerie Spillman, director of enterprise risk management for ServiceNow, asks which of these three statements is not like the other: “Unity from the top down is foundational to success;” “Home-based …
The Five Phishing Tactics Used in Ransomware
According to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, more than 50 cities and towns of all sizes have suffered ransomware attacks in the past two years. A small but …
Eight business continuity and operational resilience risks to watch in 2023
Increased geopolitical tensions, cyberattacks, supply-chain issues, and continued pandemic-related fallout prompted a growing number of organizations to take a decidedly more strategic approach to business continuity and operational resilience in …
Leave a Comment Cancel reply
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Group C Media, Inc. The Galleria, 2 Bridge Avenue, Suite 231 Red Bank, NJ 07701
Read the latest news and information for business continuity professionals. Get information on new products and services from manufacturers and service providers to the industry. Learn More.
© 2023 Continuity Insights