What kind of planning should you do? It depends entirely on the type of business, the size of the operations, and the industry you are in.
To help determine what to do, look at the most critical aspects of your business and carefully evaluate the financial and overall business impact a disruption would have in those areas. If you have a large investment in your IT department, and the information stored in your data center is critical to your operations, then having a back-up plan in an alternative location is well worth the additional cost. Without it, you run the risk of a major financial and business loss that you may not be able to recover from.
Depending on the severity of the potential loss, your contingency plan should be detailed enough so that all affected areas are adequately covered. At this point in the planning phase, identify the current people who will be responsible for creating, supporting, implementing and evaluating the operational plan.
When creating the initial draft of the plan, have the different departments who are most affected, work together to develop a basic framework. Some of the most commonly impacted departments include information technology (IT), security, human resources (HR), manufacturing, and distribution.
Selected personnel from each area should cohesively create a sound plan that includes topics such as, who decides on initiating the continuity plan, and how are employees to be contacted in case of such an event. The more serious the situation, such as a hurricane, flood, or a tornado, the harder it may be to establish communications. It is also more likely some of those same employees may have more pressing personal or family problems to deal with.
Less serious in some ways, but also as disruptive to a business are data center crashes, power outages, and interruptions or stoppages in key supplies. Have a game plan and develop for each of these types of situations if they apply to your business.
A key part of your planning should include back-up personnel, starting with the senior management. If something happens to any key person in the organization, having a person ready to step in to make critical decisions is essential. Also have well-trained back-up employees to handle any emergency functions that might need to be performed. In some situations, time is of the essence, so be sure you have everything covered by the right people.