Free Business Continuity Plan Template
To help organizations build best practices into their Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and to make it easier for smaller companies to prepare for potential disruption, we have designed a free Business Continuity Plan Template that anyone can download and use.
With COVID-19 having so many unpredictable and unprecedented impacts on business it’s understandable that business continuity planning is top of mind for organizations of all sizes and across all geographies.
Because of this increasing concern, we’ve pooled our collective resources to design a Business Continuity Plan Template to help companies maintain focus on their most important asset – their people – while maintaining operations during a disruption.
What is a business continuity plan template?
A business continuity plan template is a document that provides a clear outline to follow for any company of any size in need of creating a business continuity plan.
Using a template is important because, like a pilot’s pre-flight checklist, it ensures that no area of the business is inadvertently overlooked when developing a strategy for remaining operational in the face of potential disruption.
What should a good business continuity template include?
Every organization will have different needs based on its business sector and the types of work it undertakes. However, a comprehensive template will outline the overall aims, objectives and scope of a BCP, which areas of the business are most at risk in the face of a disruption, the action that will need to be taken to minimize any negative impact on these areas of operation, and lastly the roles and responsibilities of those directly involved in executing the BCP.
For example, by completing our free Business Continuity Plan Template, users will identify business-critical processes and what needs to be done to maintain them; how to implement disaster recovery protocols; and to identify alternative physical sites for operations in the case of disruption. What’s more, for organizations with multiple physical locations, the Sitel template provides the breadth and scope to outline different procedures based on geography and site purpose.
How do I complete a Business Continuity Plan Template?
A Business Continuity Plan Template is only useful if your company is already developing a business continuity plan. To create a BCP, start by identifying each process and operation and the supporting resources critical to your organization meeting its obligations as a company.
The next step is to identify each person who will play a direct role and have a material responsibility in relation to executing the plan and keeping critical systems functioning. For example, the Business Continuity Plan Owner – sometimes called the Incident Commander – who will be responsible for all aspects of an emergency response in line with the standards set forward in the plan.
Underneath this position is the business continuity plan custodian or custodians who operate like first responders, reporting to the Business Continuity Plan Owner and undertaking the action required depending on the type of emergency being faced across individual business functions: HR, Operations Management, Facilities Management, Workforce Management and IT.
For each position, we have outlined the capabilities the individual will need to be able to fulfill their duties in the event of a disruption, while, for businesses with multiple physical sites our template also provides a section for listing Site Incident Management teams, who serve as an emergency response team at the local level.
Business Impact Analysis
With the initial list of business parameters and the management framework for executing a plan, it’s time to consider the different types of disruption that would trigger a business continuity plan.
For example, the Sitel Business Continuity Plan Template supports disruptions triggered by IT failure; damage to or lack of access to a physical site due to fire or flood; a severe reduction in workforce capacity because of an infectious disease, weather conditions or other issues; a power supply interruption; and a terrorist bomb threat.
Each could impact business as usual operations but in different ways. Would different actions be required in any of these situations? This exercise is called a Business Impact Analysis and will give you what you need to balance potential risks in the case of a disruption, help you prioritize actions and design a business recovery process for each type of disruption.
Extra BCP scope as standard
For these reasons, the Sitel Business Continuity Plan Template supports actions and highlights best practices in relation to relocating operations to a different physical site, different approaches to addressing work backlogs, the relocation of workforce to virtual or remote working, handling media inquiries and a clear stakeholder communication strategy.
The beginning, not the end
The most important thing to remember when using the template is that however it is populated, it is subject to change. A business continuity plan needs to be rehearsed, tested, interrogated and iterated constantly in order to meet the challenges your organization could face. The current COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point.
Though it falls into traditional disruption categories – loss of premises and loss of workforce – it does so in ways that even the most perspicacious of organizations could not have planned for.
You can download our free Business Continuity Plan Template here and find a full glossary of terms relating to business continuity and disaster recovery here.