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Everyone in the business world seems to be having to do more with fewer human resources on a smaller budget. We no longer have the luxury of hiring additional staff or consultants to implement or improve upon our business continuity/disaster recovery programs. The Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices (GAP) document could be the extra hand you need to get your job done within your time and budget constraints. Picture the team of more than 50 business continuity experts who created this GAP document as the team of professionals on the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) network. Those people are knowledgeable, passionate, and in many cases working within a limited budget. Shows on the DIY network, such as “DIY to the Rescue,” give you tricks of the trade and pointers on how to get the job done yourself.

The show’s description is a great parallel to what GAP hopes to be. It states, “Together with you they will successfully complete unfinished projects, eliminate eyesores, and make safety hazards disappear while offering a few lessons on improvement projects.”

We are hoping you look to the GAP document as a collection of tools, guidelines, and a consolidation of knowledge to enable you to do your job efficiently and effectively without having to recreate the foundation.

The Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices Committee was established by the Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ) Editorial Advisory Board and DRI International (DRII) to address the need for universally accepted business continuity practices. The mission of the DRJ/DRII effort is, “To be recognized as a leading source of ‘sound’ generally accepted practices by providing a depository of knowledge and recommendations offered by skilled business continuity practitioners.”

In a previous column in early 2004, I referred to this effort as Business Continuity Best Practices. Since then we have renamed it Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices. The reason for the name change was the concern that what is a “best practice” for one entity, like a financial institution, would not necessarily be one for a disparate entity, like a manufacturer. We also took into consideration that corporations are all at different stages in their business continuity/disaster recovery programs.

The Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices subject areas align with the 10 DRII Professional Practices:

1. Project initiation and management
2. Risk evaluation and control
3. Business impact analysis
4. Developing business continuity strategies
5. Emergency response and operations
6. Developing and implementing business continuity plans
7. Awareness and training programs
8. Maintaining and exercising business continuity plans
9. Public relations and crisis coordination
10. Coordination with public authorities

The GAP document describes in detail how to implement the DRII Professional Practices.

The Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices Steering Committee includes members from Association of Records Management Administration (ARMA), DRI International (DRII), Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC), Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This steering committee meets monthly and provides guidance to the 10 sub-committee chairs.

The first draft of the GAP was posted on the DRJ Web site in 2005 and discussed at DRJ’s Fall World 2005 conference. The first draft was well-received. A second draft is being finalized and will also be posted on the DRJ Web site.

Once people are able to refer to and apply the Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices, we are certain the business continuity/disaster recovery discipline will become a more cohesive profession.

The GAP document is a living document and will be continually updated, enhanced and improved. The 10 subcommittees addressing the 10 subject areas will be adding tools and templates to the document. The ultimate goal is to create Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices by industry.

The immediate goal of the Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices Committee is to maintain the momentum of this effort and continue to build upon the 117-page document.

Please log on to the DRJ Web site today to print a copy of this comprehensive tool and feel free to share your feedback with the team by e-mailing me at Lori_J_Yelland at comerica.com.


Lori Yelland, CBCP, is an assistant vice president and corporate disaster recovery manager for Comerica. She recently rolled off the DRJ Editorial Advisory Board after five years of service. She will, however, stay on as chairperson of the Generally Accepted Business Continuity Practices Committee.

Printed In Spring 2006