Operational Continuity Assessment

by Scott Owens, PMP, CBCP on November 20th, 2011

Recently a colleague asked about a business continuity plan assessment, wondering what types of questions should be answered as part of this review. The assumption was that the organization had some sort of plan, but that executives didn’t know how to determine whether what they had was comprehensive. So it sounded like a perfect blog post.

So in order to identify the critical needs of your organization and be in a position to protect your assets, here is a list of some questions to consider during the development of a BCP. This is by no means comprehensive, or personalized to a specific company or industry, but can offer some thoughts as to where the process would start.

• Could your business survive being without its key systems, people, or processes for 24 hours? 48 hours? 72 hours? Do you know what your true recovery capabilities are?
• Have you planned for many different types of disaster scenarios?
• Do you know what your most vulnerable assets are?
• What is the financial loss to your company if you were not able to process customer orders?
• Do you have a comprehensive crisis communication strategy that considers the top ten stakeholder groups?
• Do your primary suppliers have solid business continuity plans to avoid a shortage of materials?
• Are you in a regulated industry that mandates certain types of disaster planning components? If so, did you pass your last compliance audit?
• Are your policies and procedures in line with industry standards?
• Do you have a succession plan for company executives that extends below the C-Suite?
• Does your data backup strategy reflect a balance of both recovery times and recovery points?
• Is your plan role based, rather than person based?
• Is the core technology in your data recovery strategy older than 4 years?
• Do you have an alternate working site for office staff identified?
• Do you have an active business continuity program that is led by a director devoting 25% of his or her time to it?
• How frequently do you perform disaster drills?

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