The Five Critical Steps for Developing a Business Continuity Plan

Last Updated: 23 Mar 2023
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The Federal Emergency Management Agency states that 50% of businesses do not reopen after experiencing a disaster. This paper covers critical steps for developing a business continuity plan for resiliency in case of a hurricane. A business that plans for a disaster has a good chance to survive and this starts with business impact analysis. In most large sized businesses, there are risk managers. However, this is not the case for small businesses.

Small business owners have their own risk managers who work with their insurance professionals to come up with a right type and amount of insurance that can enable a business to recover from a disaster. It is vital creating and/or updating a business continuity plan and work with employers. This helps them to be well prepared for potential impacts arising from a disaster. By doing so, this saves money and time later.

There are five critical steps necessary for developing a business continuity plan. These same steps can be followed to develop a business continuity plan for a hurricane. The steps include; business impact analysis, recovery strategies, plan development, testing and exercises.

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Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

The BIA serves as the foundation of a viable recovery planning effort. For a hurricane, this involves a business evaluating potential effects that the hurricane can bring and how this can affect a business. All the possible effects brought by a hurricane and listed down and an overall business impact of these effects is determined. Under the BIA, the following activities can also be done; identifying recovery time objectives, identifying recovery point objectives and identifying recovery communication objectives. These activities are identified for each hurricane effect. In this step, regulatory requirements and best practices that a business needs to follow are identified. The time required to implement the business continuity plan is also determined during this step.

These are strategies aimed at restoring the affected area and bringing things back to normal. Some of recovery efforts include rebuilding, re-employing and repairing of essential infrastructure. xxx, 2009 points that recovery efforts that minimize or remove future risks are also mitigation efforts. In most cases, people are more receptive to these strategies since the disaster could be still fresh in their minds. For businesses that have been struck by a hurricane, the recovery efforts may involve rebuilding the damaged businesses, reopening the businesses and transportation routes that lead to those businesses. For recovery teams, it could be vital for these teams to work with weather experts who could provide ongoing weather forecast support.

A good example of a mitigating recovery is seen through the lessons people of Toronto learned after experiencing a catastrophic hurricane Hazel in 1954. This hurricane left 80 people dead because of intense rainfall and flooding that occurred. The recovery efforts included passing laws governing land-use. The laws prevented designation of areas prone by floods as residential. Majority of these areas were later made parks. The recovery strategies of Hurricane Hazel provide a good example of what can be done after a hurricane.

This step involving creating a business continuity plan. Some of the things that may be included in the business continuity plan are department level DR plans and the external supplier response plans. The business continuity is then updated on a regular basis. The key components of a business continuity plan are, though not limited to:

  • Communication/Coordination Plan- Not only a hurricane, communication is vital in any disaster. After a hurricane, the role of a communication and coordination plan is to establish the communication channels that will be used during implementation of the business continuity plan. A chain of command may be developed that will coordinate the business continuity effort and a way of notifying parties associated with a business developed.
  • Emergency Response Plan-For a hurricane, the role of this plan will be to specify response actions to a hurricane disaster. Hurricanes is a life threating disaster and can cause great destruction to property and the environment. It is therefore important to develop a response plan in case this disaster materializes. Some of important notification tools that can be used in case of a hurricane hazard include email, phone, SMS and FAX.

Suppose one has developed a business continuity plan for a hurricane, how can the person know that this plan is viable and usable? Testing involves conducting an in-depth functional testing to ascertain that the plan is required as required. Testing of the business continuity plan is a regulatory requirement. The plan testing defines the methods used during testing of a business continuity plan and how this can be done. The plan test covers how much a business continuity plan is tested when judgement can be weather as weather the plan has succeeded or failed. Once the test method is decided, a business continuity plan is tested and this normally is done as an iterative task, at least two times in a year.

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The Five Critical Steps for Developing a Business Continuity Plan. (2023, Mar 23). Retrieved from

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