Sample Business Contingency Plan

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(Our article, Risk Analysis and Risk Management, covers this process in more detail.) Chances are, you'll end up with a long list of potential threats.

It may be unrealistic to attempt contingency planning for all of them, so you need to prioritize.

Include a brief overview of the strategy that you will follow in response to the event.

This provides a context for the actions that you ask your people to take.

The first step is to identify your business-critical operations.

These are the key processes and functions without which your organization could not operate – for example, your supply chain, your internet connection, or your ability to comply with legal standards.Aim to include a broad range of scenarios – for instance, cyber attacks, prolonged staff absences, IT malfunctions, loss of suppliers, serious power outages, or structural problems with your business premises.Specify what, exactly, will cause you to put your contingency plan into action.Example 1 – A Minor Business Disruption Example 2 – A Significant Business Disruption When you develop your contingency plan, remember that your primary aim is to maintain or restore critical business operations, so look closely at how these might be affected by each scenario. Will your organization be able to function at full capacity when you implement your "Plan B," or will it reduce your productivity? To answer questions like these, it's useful to consult people from across your organization.Managers from different departments can advise you on the impact of disruptive events on services, staff, resources, and business functions.Our article, Communicating in a Crisis, explores how to plan and deliver effective communication in difficult situations.Also, make sure that you are aware of your legal obligations, and that incidents are reported to the relevant authorities where necessary.Define who's responsible for each element of the plan, who will be in charge at each stage, and what you expect them to accomplish.The Responsibility Assignment Matrix are useful tools here.If you have a plan for heavy snow, will it be triggered by a severe weather warning, or only by actual snowfall?One event could also have multiple triggers, each of which initiates a different part of your plan (see Example 2, below).

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