A business continuity tool can be an essential aid to maintaining your business continuity plans and keeping the proper records required.   Tools range from in-house spreadsheets to sophisticated software packages.  It is critical to remember that a business continuity tool is just a tool and not a replacement for the skilled, experienced business continuity planner.  When looking for software tools, it is recommended to use the following checklist to match your needs.

  1. Determine a priority list of requirements
  2. When purchasing from a vendor – get references and call them
  3. Make sure you see a demo and remember that a demo always works the way it is intended
  4. If minimizing customization is a priority, then compare features to get you to the closest fit as possible
  5. Implement a proof of concept and work with internal team members using the tool(s) for:
    1. Ease of use
    2. Closest match to priority requirements
    3. Know what’s behind the curtain
      1. What type of maintenance does the vendor provide
      2. How Admin heavy is the setup / upkeep
        1. i.      Will this add an FTE?
  6. What type of platform does this run on? Who is responsible for this? IT?
    1. i.      Hosted
    2. ii.      SQL
    3. iii.      Other
      1. Does your organization have these skills?

No one should need to re-create the wheel when it comes to solid tools for planning, creating and maintaining the elements of Business Continuity.  There is a plethora of free and fee business continuity tools of all shapes and sizes available.  The task is for the organization to know what it is lacking and find the best tool to close the gap.

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