Seven steps to create a business continuity plan

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By Amanda Daly, EzeCastle Integration - When confronted with unexpected business disruptions, alternative investment firms must react swiftly, methodically and successfully or else risk significant financial loss. This level of response requires extensive business continuity planning to ensure allspects of a firm’s business are evaluated and protected. In this blog, we will help you create a Business Continuity Plan and help you identify which threats pose a risk to your firm. 

1. Regulatory review and landscape

The first step to creating an Business Continuity Plan is to perform a Regulatory Review as all businesses have requirements coming from oversight bodies. There are also self-imposed industry standards and expectations that come from external stakeholders.

2. Perform a detailed risk assessment

The real goal of the risk assessment is for your firm to understand the risks to the operation, the functions, the reputation, and the organizational assets of the individual. It's also a balance of what risks are acceptable, and which you would want to take actions against, whether it be mitigating these, creating contingency plans, or leaving be.

3. Business impact analysis

A BIA is designed to identify any gaps your firm may have such as costs linked to failures, loss of cash flow, replacement of equipment, or salaries paid to catch up with a backlog of work and loss of profits. A BIA report quantifies the importance of business components and suggests appropriate fund allocation for measures to protect them. The BIA will also prioritize the recovery process and recommend the maximum allowable downtime.

4. Strategy and plan development

It is important to complete a Risk Assessment as well as a Business Impact Analysis (BIA), and once these are complete, it’s a good time to start to think about the overall strategy and start to inform the plan development.

5. Create an incident response plan

It’s not if, but it's when an incident will happen. So having a proper, realistic incident response plan in place specifically for your firm is. If an incident does occur and disrupts the day-to-day business, you have the actions that those responsible should take.

6. Plan testing, training and maintenance

Business continuity exercises are an essential, ongoing initiative. Your plan must be regularly tested using predefined strategies, which detail the conditions and frequency for testing applications, business functions and supporting information processing. The testing strategy should include testing objectives and associated measurement metrics, scenario scripts and test schedules.

7. Communication

One of the most critical aspects of a business continuity plan is communication. It is crucial to be able to communicate with key personnel to ensure safety and efficiency. Your firm likely has a wide variety of counterparties to communicate with regularly, and during a disruption, keeping parties abreast of ongoing activity will be crucial.

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