If a company's outsourced operations are an integral part of its business, a comprehensive business continuity plan is vital. Companies must elevate these discussions to the board level and recognize outsourcing as one of the key components of risk management planning. Whatever your risk exposure -- large or small -- you must have a business continuity plan, especially if you are dealing with an outsourcing situation. Here are some steps in building a business continuity plan for outsourcing operations: 1. Ask your vendor if it has a contingency plan of its own. 2. Have more than one vendor and split the work between different vendors. 3. Make sure that not all of your intellectual property resides with this third party entity.