Better business continuity strategies: Top BC planning tips

Read our top five tips on building a better business continuity strategy. Download free business continuity templates, get expert advice, and more.

Studies show even though most organizations are working harder on business continuity planning, there are still many troubling gaps in the process. According to Symantec's "2010 Disaster Recovery Survey," 72% of organizations experience downtime due to system upgrades; and 64% of organizations experience downtime due to configuration change management issues. What does this mean to business continuity planners? Increasingly complex IT environments are making IT business continuity planning more difficult.

To help you devise the best business continuity strategy, we've compiled our top five business continuity tips from 2010. Download our most popular business continuity templates, find out the importance of emergency evacuations plans, learn about how to develop a business impact analysis, and more in this collection of top tips.

TIP #1-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Free emergency communications plan template
A typical emergency communications plan should be extensive in detail and properly planned by a business continuity planner. Internal alerts are sent using either email, overhead building paging systems, voice messages or text messages to cell/smartphones with instructions to evacuate the building and relocate at assembly points, updates on the status of the situation, and notification of when it's safe to return to work. But putting together an emergency communication plan can be tough, especially if you've never done it before. Download our free emergency communications plan to help you get started, and read the accompanying article.

TIP #2-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Emergency evacuation plans and business continuity
One of the key objectives of your business continuity strategy is to protect human life in the aftermath of an incident. A key part of that objective is to ensure that all affected individuals are located in a safe and protected area. This is why a comprehensive business continuity program should include evacuation plans, primary and secondary assembly areas, and a process for "counting heads" to ensure that all employees are safe. Even though emergency evacuation planning is often the primary responsibility of building management, facilities and/or security departments, business continuity plans should include evacuation plans that are synchronized with the building plans. Find out why it's important to have an emergency evacuation planning strategy as part of your business continuity strategy in this tip.

TIP #3-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What you need to know about performing a business impact analysis
A business impact analysis (BIA) is a critical part of a company's business continuity plan. It includes an exploratory component to reveal any vulnerabilities, and a planning component to develop strategies for minimizing risk. The result of the analysis is a business impact analysis report, which describes the potential risks specific to the organization studied. This business impact analysis guide will help demystify the BIA process and provides a link for you to download a BIA template. Click here to read our business impact analysis guide.

TIP #4-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Business continuity template for SMBs
For many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the business continuity planning process can be a formidable challenge, especially from the perspectives of time, money and resources. To make the process easier, small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have several options, such as business continuity planning tools and software, business continuity templates, checklists or consultants. Download our free sample business continuity template for SMBs courtesy of sister site

TIP #5-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maximum tolerable period of disruption in business continuity planning
Maximum tolerable period of disruption (MTPOD) is generally defined as the duration after which an organization's viability will be irrevocably threatened if product and service delivery cannot be resumed. But it's often confused with the terms recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). In this ask the expert response, read about the differences between MTPOD and RTO and RPO, and how MTPOD can impact your business continuity planning efforts.

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