Common Mistakes in Business Continuity Planning

With increasing reliance on electronic markets companies are becoming more and more concerned about business continuity planning (BCP). Yet, simply having a business continuity strategy is not enough.

Common mistakes are:

1. Reliance:

Relying on a BCP can lead to a false sense of security and potential business failure if the plan is not updated regularly and fully tested. In addition, recovery personnel must be trained on plan execution and employees must be aware of the plan’s provisions.

2. Scope:

Companies often limit the scope of their efforts to systems recovery. Business continuity planning requires consideration of both business process and systems recovery.

3. Prioritization:

A formal process prioritizing key business processes is a critical step that often does not get its due attention by senior management. Without prioritization, a plan may recover less-than-critical business processes rather than the ones crucial for survival.

4. Plan Update:

Formal mechanisms are not in place to force a plan update on a regular basis or when significant systems or business process change occurs.

5. Ownership:

Senior management often appoints the wrong person to manage the BCP process; someone with the power to lead, influence, support, prioritize and organize the project should be named.

6. Communications:

Communications issues are often overlooked. Formal plans to contact employees, vendors, business partners and clients often lack specific communications strategies. Strategies to address how these groups obtain recovery status updates is often inadequate.

7. Security:

Information systems security controls are often disregarded during plan development, resulting in a greater risk exposure during recovery operations.

8. Public Relations:

Practitioners often fail to plan for public relations and investor considerations, therefore missing the opportunity to limit perceived impact by the public and investors.

9. Insurance:

Many BCPs fail to adequately plan to support the filing of insurance claims resulting in delayed or reduced settlements.

10. Service Evaluation:

Many companies poorly evaluate recovery products (hot site, cold site and planning software), relying on vendor-supplied information. This often leads to a solution that may not adequately address a company’s needs.

Companies that avoid these ten common BCP pitfalls significantly increase their odds of a successful and timely resumption of business and information technology operations.

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