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What Is Business Recovery Planning?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Also known as disaster recovery planning, business recovery planning is a type of strategy designed to aid a company in overcoming events that would otherwise threaten to damage or even shut down the company operation. Planning of this type typically focuses on dealing with emergency situations such as natural disasters, loss of power to key facilities within the company operation, and even losses due to corporate espionage that breaches the security of the company and creates issues for the internal systems of the business.

The idea behind business recovery planning is to equip the business with specific plans of action that can be implemented when and as some sort of disaster strikes. Typically, the plan will include elements such as diverting functions to facilities unaffected by the disaster, or even outsourcing some functions to vendor partners until the affected facilities can be repaired and made operable once more. The scope of the planning will normally seek to allow for a wide range of events, including flooding, wind damage, fires and even situations involving political coups, outbreaks of wars, or the simple loss of electricity or telecommunications capability as the result of a severe storm.

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Choosing the right elements to include in business recovery planning will vary somewhat from one company type to another. Generally, any function that is crucial to the core operation of the company will be evaluated closely and a specific plan will be developed for maintaining that function even during catastrophic situations. As part of that plan, the preparation of what is known as an escalation procedure is common to the recovery planning. That escalation process generally allows for some variables based on the different scenarios that may occur, providing alternative steps based on exactly what happens as part of the disaster situation.

Asking several key questions will often aid in the process of business recovery planning. Identifying key functions and departments that must remain operable, or at least a way to transfer those functions to other facilities without an interruption in services is key. Securing backup equipment that can be pressed into service quickly is also important to the planning process. Even something a simple as determining who will manage which tasks in the event of a disaster will help to make implementation of the plan more efficient, and avoid the waste of value time and resources.

Every business should engage in some type of business recovery planning. Even small businesses can benefit from determining how to deal with local issues such as inclement weather conditions that could shut down the operation and have an adverse effect on the company’s ability to serve its clientele. Depending on the nature of the business and the range of scenarios that must be considered, the task of business recovery planning may be somewhat simplistic, or may require comprehensive solutions that address a wide range of potential disasters.

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