How can you make time to maintain the business continuity plan for your credit union? Here are three tips to keep your contingency scenarios ready for action.
Once we put a plan in place, there is often a tendency to define that as the end point of our obligation. Unfortunately, that’s not how business contunity planning works. Perfectly manicured gardens get overgrown with weeds, fantastic hairstyles become shaggy and difficult to manage, and even clean kitchens fill with crumbs and oil. Business continuity plans are no different. To ensure the continuous success of your credit union through various worst-case scenarios and disasters, you’ll need to maintain your continuity plan to keep it in a first-rate shape.
When you’re not developing your BCP, and when you’re not actively testing it, you should be actively giving yourself time to maintain it. Whether through review, update, or bringing others on board to keep your plan steady across management, you’ll need to carve out time to sustain your plan.
Tip #1: Take 15-30 minutes out of your schedule to review or revise your plan.
Schedule this time as you would any other meeting. You don’t have to schedule a meeting with employees, managers, board members, or anyone. You can take this time for yourself, whenever it’s most convenient for you. If time is tight, or if you afford yourself the occasional leisurely meal, take one small section of your business continuity plan and review or adjust it during your lunch break. There’s no need to worry about anything but your own business unit at this time, so you can accomplish this task quickly.
Tip #2: Make business continuity maintenance part of your staff’s annual performance review.
Making continuity maintenance part of your staff’s performance review will incentivize your employees to pay attention to operations and procedures that safeguard your credit union and its members against unfortunate events. It will also establish clear goals on which your employees may focus; after all, if they know preparedness and continuity is a metric by which they’re measured, they’ll pay closer attention to it. As an added bonus, it will foment clear lines of communication for expectations across levels of staff and management about how all employees can take responsibility when things go south.
Tip #3: Report your continuity plan to the board of directors.
We suggest developing a committee for this specific purpose. It could be named the Business Continuity Planning Steering Committee (BCP Steering Committee), the Information System and Technology Committee (IS&T Committee), the Information System Steering Committee—it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you draw together a committee to oversee and steer basic business continuity planning maintenance and direction to the board so that they can see that you have a plan in place. Doing so may help you keep yourself and your managers accountable for ongoing continuity plan maintenance.
Continual review and reevaluation of your continuity plan will secure your credit union against whatever new monkey wrenches entropy throws your way. It’s your responsibility to maintain your plan, but with these tips, you can protect your credit union and its members from various threats and risks, both inside and out.