Contingency Plan

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What Does Contingency Plan Mean?

A contingency plan is an alternative Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) plan that is implemented when normal business operations are interrupted by emergency, failover or disaster. Contingency plans ensure continuous on-site and off-site business operations, customer satisfaction and on-time product and service delivery.


A contingency plan is also known as a disaster recovery plan (DRP).

Techopedia Explains Contingency Plan

In the early days of IT, computer system threats were averted – rather than prevented – via rudimentary methods. For example, a contingency plan used in the case of fire involved powering down the mainframe and other computers prior to restarting the sprinkler system, disassembling components and drying circuit boards- sometimes with a hair dryer in the parking lot.

Modern IT and information systems (IS) are developed and maintained as follows:

  • A policy statement is developed to facilitate interdepartmental cooperation.
  • A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is conducted to analyze business tasks results.
  • Controls are noted and recorded for the preemption of IS disruptions.
  • Recovery methods are developed for implementation, in the event of IS disruption.
  • The contingency plan is tested, and personnel receive plan implementation training.
  • The contingency plan is continuously updated for effectiveness.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.