By Deb Ladendorf, CBCP
A business continuity plan template is a form or set of forms used to standardize the collection of information necessary to develop a business continuity plan. The template provides a road map for the organization to follow in creating their business continuity plans. Many organizations develop their own templates and others rely on consultants or vendors to supply customized templates. Business continuity plan templates simplify the plan development process, but care should be taken when using templates to ensure effective plans are developed.
Templates have their pros and cons. On the positive side, they can speed the development of a plan, standardize the format and content of the plan, ensure the collection of minimum levels of required information, and guide department and business unit leaders, who may not be familiar with business continuity concepts, through the planning process.
On the con side, business continuity plan templates may not provide enough flexibility for complex departments or business units, may oversimplify the process and resulting plan, may keep department heads and leaders from thinking about situations, scenarios and data that fall outside the parameters of the template, and may create a false sense of security – just because the template is completed, does not mean a viable plan exists.