The Start Line: Business Continuity Planning

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan is a collection of guidelines meant to inform staff on how to proceed with offering services or reinstate primary functions of a business or organization after it has been affected or disrupted by an emergency or a disaster. Most often business continuity plans are considered when the facility is directly affected by an emergency or disaster. Business continuity plans are especially important for larger organizations when a large body of staff need to be managed. The plan will inform where and how staff can work to continue offering the primary services of the organization.


Before developing a business continuity plan, it is important to consider the following:

  • Is there another facility unaffected by the emergency/disaster where staff can work?
  • Is it a conducive working environment? (i.e heating, electricity, plumbing, security)
  • Are there computers, desks, chairs and required equipment at the offsite facility?
  • Will the staff have access to internet, the work server, work email accounts, and required databases?
  • Is it safe for staff to continue to work?

Where to start:

  • Refer to the textbook Business Continuity and Risk Management: Essentials of Organizational Resilience by Kurt Engemann and Doug Henderson
  • Contact a local business continuity professional for advice
  • Enroll in certification courses in business continuity are offered nationally by Disaster Recovery Institute Canada

If your archives is municipally governed it is important to seek out if a business continuity plan is already in place and what that means for you, your staff and your site.

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