Transforming Continuity at Preparis with Our Own Software

May 9, 2024
In late 2023, Preparis divested its traditional recovery services side of the business and became a standalone company. This was an opportunity to update our own business continuity plan to ensure we were well-prepared and refocused as a software company.

We leaned on two of our internal, highly experienced business continuity experts to manage the process and lead our overall plan updates. Preparis, the company, accomplished a complete business continuity plan refresh and update within hours by using our own Preparis software.

We routinely hear from organizations that store their BCPs in documents or spreadsheets with limited accessibility. These plans often prove inadequate under stress testing or real-world disaster scenarios and can be difficult to update and maintain. Moreover, numerous industries mandate strong BCPs for compliance. Preparis offers a centralized solution, simplifying plan creation, updates, and execution.

I can tell you it saves me probably a couple hundred hours a year versus the work that I had to do with [a consulting firm]. So that, to me, it makes [Preparis] somewhat invaluable.

Preparis Alerts + Planner Customer

In the case of Preparis, the plan needed a complete overhaul to ensure all protocols and essential personnel were up to date now that we were operating as a standalone software company, and we no longer needed to execute the operations side of physical recovery services. As a SOC2-compliant software organization, having a current and high-functioning BCP is part of our regular auditing process.  Here is how our plan update was executed, along with some tips and best practices from our experts.

Common BCP Challenges, Obstacles, and Solutions

1. Streamlining the information-gathering process

One common issue when updating BCPs is the extensive information-gathering process. This involves communicating with various teams or individuals to ensure questions are properly conveyed, and accurate information is provided. The most time-consuming aspect is scheduling and aligning everyone's calendars for meetings. This is especially true with executive leadership team members whose calendars are often difficult to access.

2. Gaining aligned goals and objectives

Depending on the organization, aligning their goals and objectives with the BCP update can be difficult. Preparis excels in simplifying this process with our software. The questions asked are concise and straightforward, eliminating the need for overthinking when inputting information. This streamlined approach saved us considerable time. Additionally, empowering individuals to input their information with guidance ensured a smooth, streamlined process.

3. Efficiently gathering the department processes and inputs through guided prompts

With Preparis’ software, you’re able to grant access to your team leads, allowing them to fill out their assigned processes at their convenience. If someone is only assigned one process, they only need to fill out that specific one, streamlining the task. This restricted access ensures they focus solely on what they need to do, simplifying the process and keeping it guided. The flow is easy to understand, which enhances efficiency. Having a template already in place is beneficial, and with Plan Builder, you can edit and add to it, further improving the process.

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Dangers of Non-Compliance, Outdated Plans

In many organizations, updating business continuity planning annually is mandatory for safety reasons. Neglecting this could have severe consequences for a corporation. Imagine a crisis hits, and your plan is activated, only to find that your call tree isn't updated, resulting in calls to people who left years ago. Explaining this to executives or regulators on the fly wouldn't suffice. With Preparis, our system not only serves as a repository for information but also prompts updates by sending out emails, ensuring BCPs are properly maintained. Neglecting updates could be catastrophic, not just for the organization but also for people's lives.

In industries like insurance, banking, and finance, non-compliance could lead to business closure, financial losses, and legal liabilities. Being prepared is essential to avoid such scenarios.

Consider this: 90% of small businesses that experience more than five days of downtime fail within a year. Small businesses lose up to $8K per hour of downtime, while mid-sized businesses can lose up to $74K per hour.

Preparis BCP Experts

Time is Money: Time Saved Using Preparis  

Without utilizing software, the process could extend to several days, not only because of data entry but also because of information retrieval. Organizing meetings with individuals becomes necessary, hoping they've updated their information. If not, you must guide them through the updating process and address any questions they have. After the meeting, you rely on them to update the information promptly, often giving them a week due to their other commitments. However, sometimes chasing people down becomes necessary, potentially taking weeks or even months before the plan is fully updated.

Spreadsheets were cumbersome, no one was updating them and they were not centrally located. I would say efficiency and everything being located in one place were probably the main drivers of why we switched from an internal solution to Preparis.

Preparis Planner Customer

Having software significantly reduces this legwork. You only need to meet with the department head once to update the plan directly in the system during the meeting. This not only relieves the burden on those of us creating the whole plan, but also empowers the end-users to update their plans independently, seeing how user-friendly the software is. It streamlines the process, providing immense value to the end customer, and empowering them to recognize the importance of updating their business continuity plan regularly, ideally more than once a year to meet regulatory requirements. With the software, compliance becomes much easier.

Updating without software could consume approximately 25 hours, or closer to 40 for creating a plan based on calculations derived from Hobson & Co. statistics. It's worth noting that in our case, while some processes were simply updated, others required creation from scratch. It took us about 15 hours in total, so that is a roughly 50% reduction in time updating the plan and roughly an 80% reduction in sections created from scratch.

a series of clocks showing time saved using Preparis

Benefits of Preparis BCP Software

The structured flow of the process ensures it remains organized, preventing individuals from deviating outside predefined parameters. The consistent questions maintain clarity throughout, eliminating the need for manual adjustments. Additionally, data was entered once and filtered through to all components of the plan. The ability to do this with Plan Builder, made this way more efficient.

When filling out impact details for each process, considering its effects on finances, customers, employee morale, and branding, Preparis calculates the recovery time objective (RTO) and maximum tolerable downtime. This streamlined approach significantly expedites the process.

Using Preparis, it took us less than a week to update our BCP—specifically, three days.

Preparis Full Suite Customer

We were able to meet with department leaders to gather their inputs, enter them directly into Preparis Planner, and were able to generate a fully updated BCP — all in less than three business days. This pace was significantly faster than a manual approach, which would have required weeks to capture and input all the necessary information gathered in these meetings. With Preparis, we could input the information in real-time during the meetings, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.

Streamlining the process with Preparis wasn't just about using the customizable templates in the software. Before using Preparis, you’d have to manually update the entire plan. Everything had to be created from scratch, managing multiple documents and spreadsheets. Transitioning to Preparis, it quickly became obvious how effortless it was to input information and make changes. For example, adjusting the recovery time objectives (RTOs) to different time ranges was simple within the software, without requiring extensive training. Even adding missing information, such as equipment, was as simple as clicking a button.

Advice, Best Practices, and Lessons Learned

  • When updating or creating a business continuity plan (BCP), it's crucial to start by identifying your processes.
  • Determine which are critical to your department and essential for providing services. Prioritize these processes based on their recovery time objectives (RTOs).
  • Identify critical dates and dependencies, both upstream and downstream.
  • Consider personnel, locations, and necessary technologies or resources—referred to as "people, places, and things" in public sector or government continuity planning.
  • Ensure you include vendors and their contact information, as their role in supporting your functions is vital. They should understand their responsibilities within your plan and have their own contingency plans in place.
  • When creating a BCP, it's not just about making a plan but establishing a program around it. Train your staff, conduct regular testing and exercises, identify and address gaps, and maintain the plan due to personnel turnover and other changes.
  • When updating your BCP, it's crucial to consider software workarounds. Many overlook this, assuming systems won't fail. However, it's essential to have backup plans in place. Whether it's alternative software or manual processes, include these contingencies in your plan to ensure continuity of operations during a crisis.
  • For those using a mass notification system, ensure employees are aware of how to receive notifications. Provide the necessary phone numbers and inform them not to mark notifications as spam or block them. By preemptively informing them, you can ensure they receive critical information during a crisis without any hiccups.


This narrative not only exemplifies the practical application of the Preparis solution but also highlights the broader significance of streamlined continuity planning in today's dynamic business landscape. As organizations navigate evolving threats and regulatory requirements, embracing centralized solutions like Preparis becomes not just a strategic advantage but a fundamental pillar of operational readiness. In sharing our experience, we hope these insights into leveraging technology and expertise to update and maintain business continuity plans can serve as a valuable resource for other organizations navigating similar transitions or seeking to enhance their preparedness strategies.

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