If I had a nickel for every time someone at a tradeshow, or a software prospect asked me to provide a sample business continuity plan they could use as a guideline or template, I would be writing this on a tropical island instead of sequestered in my home office.
The challenge with the request for a sample business continuity plan is not the quality of the plans, it resides in the fact that it was built around one specific company’s expectations, culture, knowledge, style, regulatory requirements, and stakeholder needs. One size fits one, not all. There are also hurdles from legal, as well as the protection of intellectual property to contend with. The last time I was able to provide a plan from a customer in the same industry, it was redacted more than an FBI document, offering no real value.
Having stated this, I thought the best way to address the requests for a sample business continuity plan or templates was to lay out a common construct I see across banking, manufacturing, distribution, retail, education, and general plans.
All plans start with a common foundation, but each vertical market will have variances. Please understand these are examples of what goes into a business continuity plan, or an example of a sample, so to speak. In order to understand a lot of this, you’ll want to brush up on some important business continuity terms. Luckily, I have outlined everything you need to know here, in a guide to creating a business continuity plan from scratch. If you are new to the industry, I recommend reviewing this guide so you can fully comprehend the sample plan that I’ve laid out below.
There are numerous regulations, standards, and best practices that encompass business continuity. While we don’t have enough time to identify each one and map it into a sample plan, I’ve highlighted some of the most common aspects that will appear across industries.
As you read through these examples, and the full guide to creating a business continuity plan, I hope you garner a deeper understanding of why “one size fits one” and what goes into an actionable and resilient plan.