I received a comment on my blog post, “Is a Disaster Recovery Plan Really Necessary?,” that asked an important question. How about a Business Impact Analysis? In order to write a successful disaster recovery plan, you need to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA).
What is a BIA? A BIA is a thorough investigation of your entire company, including business processes and the resources (e.g. computer systems, personnel, etc.), to fully understand the impact on on your business if there were some sort of outage. It allows a company to know which business processes and resources are essential to continue to run with minimal impact.
How do I figure this information out? Extensive interviews of stakeholders have to be conducted in order to comprehend what is vital for the company to continue to run during an outage. The best way to start is to conduct a survey that asks them questions on how they run their business. Here are some areas to ask questions on:
- Their current business process
- Current workarounds
- Recovery times
These surveys will be the start point to understand who to interview and the types of documentation that will assist you in the BIA. Note: Remember to always have the support of management throughout the entire BIA.
During the interview process, you should also be researching and collecting as much documentation as you can. You should be gathering organizational charts, current flowcharts, reports, metrics, etc. These documents will help you better grasp the current business processes.
So how do I write this thing? Here is a format that you can use to tailor to fit your needs:
1.4 Document Organization
3 Business Processes
Business Area1: <Business Area Name>
Business Process1 Name and Description
Operational and Financial Impact
Appendix A: Survey
Appendix B: Reports Collected Through the BIA