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A business continuity policy is a plan that helps ensure the longevity of a business. The plan focuses on identifying the internal or external factors that can disrupt a company’s operations for a significant amount of time. To create a business continuity policy, most companies will go through a series of steps. Steps include analysis, solution design, implementation of solutions, a review for organizational acceptance, and maintenance or follow up. Though similar in application among a variety of businesses, the steps will include tasks specific to a firm.
During the analysis phase of the business continuity policy, a company’s management team will look for any factor that could be a detriment to the business. Internal factors may include equipment failures, lack or quality of trained employees, raw equipment shortages, and insufficient capital raised from the sale of goods or services. External factors include low consumer confidence, unavailable business credit, difficult monetary policies set by a government agency, or heavy competition from other organizations.
The business continuity policy will also include information on the solutions designed to combat the internal or external factors listed in the analysis stage. Solutions are typically meant to combat or reverse the negative aspects of one or several factors. For example, the internal factor of insufficient raw materials may be mitigated by having alternate vendors in place to handle orders from the company. Training programs can help educate employees on how to best complete the tasks and activities within the company.
Implementing solutions in the business continuity policy may require an immediate change in business operations or plans to implement the changes when the internal and external factors make business conditions difficult. During short-term implementation, the company will often enlist the help of its operational managers to oversee the changes necessary for altering current business practices. When changes will occur in the future, the company will often educate individuals who will institute the plan. This ensures the business continues in perpetuity without many difficulties.
The review and/or maintenance stage of business continuity ensures that plans change as necessary. In business, few things will remain unchanged due to the external factors that will affect a company’s operations. For this reason, the company will need to periodically review its continuity plans and policies to ensure they remain up to date and will represent a workable solution for factors that can hamper the company’s operations. After the maintenance review, the company may need to make some adjustments to take corrective actions on the continuity policy.