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Business Continuity Planning (BCP) for Small to Medium Enterprise

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Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is developing a plan of procedures to implement in the event of a disaster such as a network crash, hardware failure, virus infection or hacker attacks.  Planning for these and other types of disasters reduce the risk of losing a large amount of time and get you back into operation faster.

Companies that did not have a BCP in place eventually went under approximately 18 months after a disaster took place.  Companies that did not have a back up system in place to restore critical data after a disaster collapsed two years after such disasters as 9/11.

Educate your employees what to do in the event of disaster that results in losing data and make sure they know there is a BCP in place.  Delegate a responsibility to each individual in order to recover your business smoothly and effectively.  Be proactive when implementing your BCP. 

Create a list of all organisational devices that place a crucial part in getting up and running.  This includes all software, hardware, desktop computers, laptops, phones, mobile phones, and any wireless devices.  During recovery these devices should be the first to bring back online after the network has been recovered. 

Determine which vendors or suppliers should be notified in the event of disaster. Consider what will need to be outsourced until your business is fully operational.  What part of your building or sections of other buildings will be used after a disaster?

After you have put together an effective BCP, the owner or second in command should evaluate the BCP to ensure all areas have been cover.

This is just the beginning of forming a BCP as far as your business being recovered.  You will also need to analyze what to do about your employees in the event of a disaster that leaves your building in ruins.  How will you notify customers and the community that your business will not be back to normal for an extended period of time?  Will you still be able to meet deadlines set in place by customers during the recover phase?  If possible, how?  And one of the most important factors to consider is what type of backup you have in place to enable quick recovery.

Researching existing BCP's currently in place with your vendors or suppliers may be one option available to providing a thorough BCP solution.  Hire an IT professional or a disaster recovery service to assist you in devising a plan.  Many Merchants and Small Business Associations offer templates that can help with planning the appropriate BCP for your company.  These associations may also offer assistance by someone else in your industry that could work with you to devise a BCP.  Most counties have disaster plans in place that may help you determine the best strategy in planning a BCP.

Remember two of the most crucial steps when developing a good BCP.  One, always use either a back up service with offsite data storage or make sure your removable storage device is stored offsite.  Two, in the event of disaster, after the BCP has been activated, make sure to be a supportive and proactive leader in keeping your employees calm and safe.

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