One often overlooked element of disaster recovery planning is a business impact analysis. While other plans help get your business back up and running as soon as possible, a business impact analysis helps determine your priorities in that effort and the maximum down time that can still be sustainable.
This type of analysis is not to be taken lightly. If conducted properly, it can help your company save time and money while improving other disaster preparations, like a business continuity plan. Here are four tips to help better perform a business impact analysis:
- Treat it like a project. Conducting a business impact analysis can be as important as any other business-related project your company performs. Treat it as such, complete with a project manager, defined scope, objectives and a time frame.
- Research and survey. Understand what makes your business tick. Interview people in various parts of the company to understand their individual needs and how they relate to the overall business. Then prioritize their importance to your operations.
- Specificity. Standardized forms with a scale of importance are useful, but dive deeper. Allow employees to expand on their rankings by giving them the opportunity to comment on each answer. When reviewing their answers, bring them in if there's a surprising result or if you want further explanation.
- Interdependencies. When your ready to begin prioritizing and determining maximum sustainable down times, make sure you understand the possible interdependencies of each department or system. Getting something back up without a critical support function is useless and will only lead to greater delays.
For companies looking to perform an extensive business impact analysis, hiring business continuity consultants can ease the processes and ensure that the quick implementation of a cost-effective strategy.