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Business continuity and crisis management, advantages of business continuity planning.
Unpredictable events happen regularly. From natural disasters to wilful and accidental damage, potential business crises can significantly disrupt your operations. This is especially true if you don't prepare to deal with emergencies.
This is where business continuity planning comes into play. As part of your recovery strategy, it allows you to prepare in advance the processes and procedures to help you cope with the unexpected. Planning can also help you realise many other important benefits.
Key benefits of business continuity planning
Business continuity planning can help you:
- keep your business trading during and after an incident
- recover operations more quickly after interruptions
- reduce costs and duration of any disruption
- mitigate risks and financial exposure
- build customer confidence and trust
- safeguard company reputation
- develop confidence within the business
- comply with regulatory or legal requirements
- insure against otherwise unacceptable risks
- save lives, if dangerous events (such as a fire) occur
If you don't have a business continuity plan in place, start by carrying out a business impact analysis . This assessment will help you to understand your business - including assets, people and processes that are critical to running it. It will also help you to consider the likelihood and the impact of potential business crises .
Why have a business continuity plan?
A carefully thought-out business continuity plan will make coping in a crisis easier. It will also enable you to minimise disruption to your business and customers, often at the expense of competitors. It is a way of proving to customers, insurers and investors that your business is robust enough to cope with anything that might occur.
See how to create a business continuity plan .
Importance of business continuity planning
Failure to plan could be disastrous for any business. At best, you risk losing customers while you're getting your business back on its feet. At worst, your business may never recover and may ultimately cease trading.
A clear, comprehensive business continuity plan will give you the best chances of overcoming a business disaster. Once you create it, remember to test your business continuity plan rigorously - you will want to make sure that it fulfils its purpose.
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Experts Discuss the Importance and Advantages of Business Continuity Plans
By Andy Marker | August 25, 2020 (updated October 14, 2021)
Experts make the case for developing a business continuity plan so that disruptions don’t negatively affect your operations, when they inevitably arise.
Included on this page, you’ll learn the importance and benefits of business continuity planning (BCP) , and how a strong plan helps staff in a crisis . Plus, find a PowerPoint business continuity argument template to help make the case for embracing business continuity in your company.
What Is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan (BCP) is part of a business continuity management system (BCMS), and includes the procedures an organization must follow in an emergency. The document also contains steps for recovery in the days and months after the incident.
One part of a BCP is the disaster recovery plan , which contains plans for IT and technical continuity. An organization can follow specific steps to write its business continuity plan, or hire an outside consultant. For details on writing a BCP, read "How to Write a Business Continuity Plan” ,
Importance of a Business Continuity Plan
A strong business continuity plan can reduce risks during a crisis, and helps ensure that the company can continue to provide goods or services and earn income by detailing how to respond during and after an incident.
An often-quoted statistic claims that 40 percent of businesses never recover from a disaster . Although some experts question the statistic’s sources, it stands to reason that recovering from a major disruption is tough. After all, staying in business can be difficult, even during the best of times.
As business continuity consultant Alex Fullick, General Manager at Stone Road , explains, "I think the global pandemic has proven that everybody and every organization, no matter what size, needs the ability to respond and recover from any sort of eventuality, whether large or small. If anyone still has the mindset that it's going to happen to someone else, they're probably going to go out of business."
As natural disasters and data breaches become more frequent, the question is not if, but when a disruptive event will take place.
Business continuity plans can help an organization address the following issues before disruption occurs:
- People Don't Know What to Do in a Disaster: Proactively creating plans and training employees ensures a safe and timely recovery. When you've identified sensitive and critical functions ahead of time, you can better plan to execute quickly when a crisis occurs.
- Insurance Isn't a Solution: An organization may acquire insurance plans for healthcare, vehicles, or fixtures and equipment replacement. However, insurance can't cover the loss of customers who turn to other companies when you can't fulfill orders or reimburse you for a lost reputation.
- Creating a Plan Is an Investment in Your Company: Although a BCP may carry fixed costs in training, wages, or equipment, the plan will get your company up and running ASAP in a disaster. For more about budgeting for a business continuity plan, read “ Business Continuity Planning: How to Do It Well .”
Business continuity can also provide a competitive edge. As the following examples show, companies that pursue business continuity are first to get back to work after a disaster.
- Fire swept through the facilities of Cantey Technology, a consultancy and server host, destroying cables and hardware. However, a business continuity plan gave the company the foresight to implement a redundant offsite data center with regularly scheduled backups, which ensured seamless, continued service for clients.
- In another instance of a fire, this time at a telecom provider, redundant network infrastructure and solid incident planning enabled the company to restore service within six hours of a fire reaching the switching center.
- Even though they were located on the second floor, Houston-based Gaille Media’s offices were destroyed during Hurricane Harvey. Since they stored their data and critical documents in the cloud, however, they continued to serve customers throughout the disruption, with staff working remotely.
"I find myself a little frustrated with some planners who have said, ‘Oh, they're busy updating their pandemic plan now,’" Fullick adds. "What do you mean you're updating your plan on people's availability? Don't you already have plans in place for, let's say, the winter flu season when you're missing 20 percent of your staff because they're all at home with the flu?"
How Business Continuity Helps Different Departments
Importance of business continuity for the supply chain .
Supply chain disruptions can be crippling, and a BCP can help sustain inventory levels. A business impact analysis (BIA) can reveal risks to key vendors’ ability to make and deliver goods in a crisis, so you can plan ahead.
Toyota plants in North America demonstrate how a broken supply chain shut down production thousands of miles away. After the 2011 Fukushima earthquake in Japan, Japanese parts manufacturers went offline. When Toyota plants in southern Ontario couldn’t get parts for the assembly line, the company had to lay off many employees.
"Companies are starting to realize they can be impacted, [and] not just directly by an upstream supplier that sends them something. That supplier can be impacted, too, and the effect trickles down,” Fullick explains. “[As] you see in the news, companies are starting to think more locally, rather than internationally. Companies have more control over a supplier or a vendor who is local, in the same state or province or country, than [they do] over a supplier in another country."
Ask how your suppliers will respond to a disruption to determine if they have a business continuity plan. Then, work that information into your BCP.
Importance of Business Continuity to Small Business
Small business owners often think they are exempt from crises — but when large-scale events occur, they can be among the first casualties. Almost a quarter of companies that do reopen fail within a year; having a BCP is essential to recovery.
"Unfortunately, some people think it won't happen to us ," says Fullick. "That carefree attitude is no longer tenable, especially after a pandemic that affected everyone."
For Tony Bombacino, business continuity is a daily practice. He is the co-founder and President of Real Food Blends , a private company that makes whole foods for people with feeding tubes. “I'm always thinking to myself, 'What am I not thinking about?'” he says. “I spend a lot of time thinking about what might happen, and how to be ready for it.”
Bombacino also believes that business continuity preparedness starts outside of the business continuity plan. "It starts up front with contract negotiation” he says. “Cash is king in a small business.”
Real Food Blends doesn’t produce or pack their products, so it’s important that his manufacturing partners are large, stable, and have their own well-defined business continuity plans. If his partners aren’t prepared for handling disruption, his business might not be able to survive.
Importance of Business Continuity to IT
Most companies rely on IT to maintain services like the internet and Voice over IP (VoIP). The team also stores documents and runs machines. Without IT, a business is unworkable. Therefore, a business continuity plan for IT is crucial.
Importance of Business Continuity Planning in Crisis Management
Crisis management is part of a business continuity plan. Business continuity provides the overall approach for protecting human and other resources, and ensures that vital processes keep running. Crisis management focuses on communications and decision-making.
The Importance of Governance in Business Continuity Management
Effective governance is key to sustaining business continuity efforts. Governance starts with the business continuity policy, and the support of leadership ensures the plan always covers new risks.
However, not everyone thinks that governance always addresses all the correct questions. "Traditionally, governance tends to focus on how many scenarios your plan covers," explains Fullick. "It covers a flood, it covers fire, it covers an earthquake, a tornado, and a hurricane. You need a different plan for each one. Five plans. Each department has five plans, but do they contain the right detail?”
The Importance of Business Continuity to HR and People
Crises do not only impact tools and buildings — they also affect human well-being. If you understand how disasters change lives, you can better help staff manage their emotional and physical tolls.
"We bring our whole selves to work," says Debbie Rosemont, a productivity consultant and Certified Professional Organizer at Simply Placed , a business consulting firm. "I don't take my emotions, or what happened to me before I came to work, and set that outside. Who I am and how I feel shapes my ability to work and produce. When businesses or companies think about continuity plans, they've got to consider the whole person and how an event or disruption might impact somebody, even if it happens outside of work."
Disruptions can prevent people from coming to work. Illness, like a flu outbreak, may keep them at home. Damaged roads and train systems (that can occur after an earthquake) can hinder their commute. Whether employees commute to the office or work remotely, some of the following concerns may distract them from their duties:
- They fear they will be laid off.
- They've lost loved ones.
- They have a financial burden and are anxious about economic losses.
- They've suffered a disruption to their living arrangements with a loss of personal effects from a natural or human-made disaster.
"When there are job losses, when people don't know when they're going to get their next gig, when some people have lost numerous family members, this is extreme grief," says Michele Barry , Principal Consultant at Fortis Consulting. "You need your cloud system as your recovery system. You need an evacuation plan. You need to get all your files back after a crisis, which could motivate staff and sustain the business. But understanding people and politics is essential, too."
Rosemont suggests that doing business continuity planning in "normal times" is a chance for employers to source support systems. Employees can use these resources daily and during a crisis. Examples of resources include the following:
- An excellent healthcare benefits program
- An employee assistance program (EAP) that provides discounted legal or other advice
- Mental health and medical resources, such as access to doctors or counselors
- Daycare facilities or resources for both children and adults (such as elderly parents)
- Financial planning tools or advisors
- Sources of financial assistance
- Apps for meditation and calming anxiety
A further consideration, especially in natural disasters, is that it may be easier to restore the business than to gather your workforce. “It's easier to recover technology than it is to have the people there to use it,” explains Mike Semel, President and Chief Compliance Officer at Semel Consulting . “With the cloud and online backups, you can just go to somebody else's computer and log into Microsoft and get to your email. Your bigger problem will be people, and you need to focus on making sure your people don't disappear on you.”
In disasters, people may leave town. If you can keep people safe, but local, you may be able to recover your business faster. As an example, he shares how his company guided a credit union to contract with a local hotel chain. The executives would move their families to safety and only then return to work. This same consideration applies to small businesses. “If you're a doctor's office, you know that the doctor needs to be there,” says Semel. “The receptionist needs to be there. The nurse needs to be there.”
How Business Continuity Helps
Business continuity business case template.
Top leadership might wonder why they should invest time and money in business continuity planning. Use this free downloadable business case template to build a convincing argument for business continuity. These customizable slides include suggested argument points that you can adapt to fit your company’s needs.
Download Business Continuity Business Case Template — PowerPoint
For most useful free, downloadable business continuity plan (BCP) templates please read our "Free Business Continuity Plan Templates" article.
Benefits of Having a Business Continuity Plan
The benefit of a business continuity plan is that it prepares a company for a crisis. Trained staff will know what to do and the organization will be able to safely continue delivering key products and services, while meeting its legal and other commitments.
The following are additional advantages of business continuity:
- Review Weaknesses and Risks: Planning for business continuity provides valuable data and insights that have worth beyond emergency preparedness. Business continuity planning means leadership can assess skills, resources, strategies, and personalities, and uncover inefficiencies. Such findings often result from a business impact analysis. To learn more, read “ All about Business Impact Analysis: A Step-by-Step How-To .”
- Understand Your Business Processes: Business continuity planning demands that you put your entire organization under a microscope. As a result, you can find and remedy inefficiencies in everyday operations, which will make your company more resilient.
- Improve Processes: Ideally, your plan will cover all aspects of the company and can reveal new challenges and opportunities. Improving processes at all levels pays for the investment.
- Help Companies Pivot Quickly: Planning helps you quickly recover critical IT systems and other processes after an incident.
- Build Confidence among Customers: With your BCP, customers know they can rely on continued access to your products or services. For example, when experiencing the aftermath of a natural disaster or a pandemic, B2C customers may find comfort in such things as a favorite food that you may provide. Your parts and services may help B2B customers pursue their livelihoods in the face of uncertainty.
- Build Confidence among Employees: A plan and adequate training shows staff what to do when a crisis occurs. They also have some reassurance that their jobs will continue during and after a disruption.
- Mitigate Financial Risk: A 2019 ITIC survey indicates that an hour of downtime can cost anywhere between $1 million and $5 million for large enterprises. Smaller businesses (those with 200 to 500 employees) responded that halting processes for one hour can cost at least $100,000. Can your company afford such losses? Plans reduce losses.
- Keep Your Team Members Safe: Creating and training staff on an accident response and evacuation plan can keep your team safe during accidents and disasters.
- Define Responsibility: When management and the chain of command grow ad hoc, they can fail in a crisis. A strong business continuity system names and trains crisis response leaders, and also provides roles for the rest of the team. "People need to be empowered to actually take action, and not sit there and wait for the CEO to make a decision," insists Fullick.
- Streamline Technology: As part of the process, you will review processes and the digital platforms and infrastructure that the company has pieced together over time. You may find that it’s practical to integrate technology, and one platform may effectively complete the tasks of several disparate apps.
- Allocate Key Financial and Human Resources: Understanding your company’s critical functions means you can focus financial and human resources on those processes, so you can keep the business running during a severe disruption.
- Provide a Way to Continue Working: Planning helps ensure that remote workers have access to the files, applications, and digital resources they need. This step reduces or eliminates downtime, so you can still provide products and services to customers.
- Eliminate Potential Costs: When a business is offline or closed, it inevitably loses revenue. However, slipped supply deadlines can result in additional fees from vendors or, depending on the locale and industry, fines for regulatory non-compliance.
- Make Coping in a Crisis Easier: In an emergency, people are often distracted thinking about their safety, as well as that of their friends and family. Training and a plan to fall back on helps people focus.
What Is Business Continuity Management (BCM)?
Business continuity management is the process a company uses to identify risks and, from there, to avoid or reduce the impact of those risks. Ultimately, this makes a company more resilient in a crisis.
Disruptive events can impact information systems, business processes, or both. For example, a hurricane or an earthquake can cut electricity. Without power to run data centers or laptops, business processes such as supply replenishment and payroll are impossible.
As StoneRoad’s Fullick explains, "Business continuity management is a set of plans and procedures to help you prepare for, respond to, and recover from business interruptions. Beyond that, it empowers people to make decisions when things occur. It's about knowing what resources and skills are available when something happens, whether it’s a small incident or a global pandemic."
With BCM, companies review their needs and capabilities to create contingency plans. From there, they can deliver at least some of their regular output, or the minimum acceptable service, in the event of a crisis. Continuity of service preserves a corporation’s reputation and revenue.
Benefits of Business Continuity Management System (BCMS)
A BCMS keeps staff safe and protects assets from risk. With human, IT, and other resources, a company can continue to provide goods and services. As a result, the company will continue to create revenue and retain a solid reputation.
You can learn about the types of risks and threats to organizations, as well as regulatory requirements for business continuity planning in our article, “ Business Continuity Planning: How to Do It Well .”
"I don't think as many business people consider business continuity like they should,” says Bombacino. “I feel more prepared here, at my company, than I did when I worked at big companies. I think that’s because when big companies get really big or successful, or have lots of money, they think nothing bad can happen to them. One boss used to say there's a difference between being successful because of something and being successful in spite of something. Many companies are successful and don't have a business continuity plan. But what one thing could happen and wipe them out because they're not ready?”
Fullick adds that the value of business continuity will become increasingly clear to companies in the near future. “I think business continuity will grow as a key component for a lot of organizations, and [that] leadership on all levels is going to focus on BCP now.”
Disadvantages of Business Continuity Plans
Business continuity plans are costly and time-consuming to execute. Plans often require outside advice, and poorly written plans (or those that leadership doesn’t support) can be unsafe and cause financial losses.
A plan also risks becoming a ticked box on a requirements list, rather than an actionable, practical document. Management can forget to share the plan with the teams who could benefit from it. "Often when people aren't a part of discussions, the crisis management team is activated, but everyone else, including leadership, is sitting around and thinking, ‘What's going on?’” explains Fullick. “Management and employees are each waiting for the other to act. But people should know what to do and just start doing it."
Plan writers also often worry too much about specific disaster scenarios. "You need to focus on people, places, and things, and not so much on the trigger," Fullick urges. "You could lose your building because of a pandemic, or a flood, a fire, or an earthquake. Those are all different triggers for the same problem: What do we do now that our building is gone? Continuity planning should be about building a skillset, so your employees and leadership — beyond the disaster recovery team — know exactly what to do, and what the resources are, no matter what is happening."
In essence, business continuity planning empowers people and adds value to the company. Real Food Blends’ Bombacino says, “Some entrepreneurs hate meetings and process and structure. They don't want to talk about business continuity planning. But for us, this is our life's work. Other families, our customers, depend on us. So we view business continuity planning not as just a smart thing to do, but as our responsibility to make sure that we avoid the continuity pitfalls out there."
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Business Continuity Planning Advantages and Disadvantages
Business continuity plan advantages and disadvantages.
“Always be prepared.” Business continuity planning ensures the organization is prepared for anything that could interrupt normal operation, but are there disadvantages to business continuity plans? Yes, there are both benefits of business continuity planning and disadvantages of business continuity plans. For example, think about what happens when you have a plan for a particular scenario, and it’s been documented and rehearsed over and over again. The staff can execute it in their sleep. Then something different that was not even on the organization’s radar occurs, and the business is brought to its knees. This is one disadvantage of business continuity planning.
Considering the advantage and disadvantage of business continuity planning is a core requirement to building a sufficient plan. Planners need to understand all the benefits or advantages of business continuity planning and prepare for the disadvantages of having a business continuity plan. These disadvantages are risks in and of themselves, and like other risks to business continuity, they too can be mitigated once identified and understood.
Advantages of Business Continuity Planning
There is a cost of not having a business continuity plan. It generally shows itself when people look at the businesses that are no longer in operation after a wide-scale business interruption. It could be a global pandemic, earthquake or tsunami, or broad-scale power outage. Who is no longer in business when things returned to normal? Generally, it’s the organizations that had no business continuity plan. The cost of not having a plan at all can be:
- Loss of revenue due to inability to provide customer-facing services
- Loss of reputation due to inability to operate
- Complete inability to cover the costs of the losses or obtain further investments due to the lack of confidence in the organization
The benefits of business continuity planning address these areas and include:
- The ability to reestablish operations after an incident or emergency : One of the advantages of business continuity plans is a level of organizational resilience that enables operations to continue in the face of events that could interrupt service or recover quickly, before there is a tremendous impact the business and its reputation.
- Confidence through improved communication : With a plan in place that includes clear communications to customers and investors, confidence in the organization increases even during a short service interruption. Customers will tolerate short disruptions when they understand the situation and know that there is a plan in place to restore service and when they know how long that will take. One of the advantages of business continuity plans is that they enable this clarity of communication.
- Improved compliance : Business continuity plans improve compliance by enabling the organization to secure private data from theft (both physical and cyber data) as well as generally providing controls the organization has in place to protect it from events that threaten its livelihood.
- Lower recovery and insurance costs : There is a cost to last-minute business needs. Advanced planning enables the organization to know what it needs for recovery and obtain or contract for its use in advance. While there might be maintenance fees associated with it, having a plan that includes additional working space or data centre capabilities frees the organization from having to find space or data centre services when they become high-demand items due to a widespread need. Additionally, business insurance costs are lower when the organization can prove lower risk due to better planning.
- Reduced risk to employees : Business continuity planning that includes drills keeps employees safe. Whether it’s post-pandemic office protocols or routine emergency drills, planning increases the likelihood of survival in a disaster.
These are only some of the highest-level advantages of business continuity planning, but even they make it clear that there are significant benefits to business continuity plans. But if that’s the case, why are there disadvantages of business continuity planning, and what are they?
Disadvantages of Business Continuity Planning
While BCP benefits are numerous, the disadvantages of business continuity plans stem from the planning activities themselves and from the traps the organization might encounter.
- The first of the disadvantages of business continuity plans was mentioned earlier: the trap of having a false sense of security . This false sense of security causes an organization to get complacent. They might not go back to the plan and ensure it addresses new risks with a plan in place. Thus, they have a plan, but it doesn’t take newer risks like cyber-terrorism or pandemics into account, even though these are now more commonplace.
- The resources needed for business continuity planning is also one of the disadvantages of business continuity planning. This is a time-consuming exercise, first for developing the risk assessment and then for developing the many plans that are needed. Rehearsals can also be time-consuming. In addition to taking time, executing portions of the plan may require funding with little apparent return on investment. Unless or until disaster strikes.
- Business continuity planning reveals weaknesses, and this can be confronting to the staff responsible. They may become afraid of losing their jobs for not having a backup plan already in place. They may become concerned for their safety or lose confidence in the organization.
By now, it might have become clear that the disadvantages of business continuity plans occur more as business continuity plan challenges. This is a good way to think of them, as identifying the challenges within your own organization makes it easier to begin addressing them. In fact, each of these business continuity plan challenges can be treated as a risk and mitigated.
How to overcome the Business Continuity Challenges
Complacency is easy to address by having a procedure to review all risks and plans annually.
This is also a good time to engage outside services in the program. It’s worth having a business continuity planning consultant review the overall set of risks and plans and having cyber-security experts conduct penetration testing and other security checks. This is one of the benefits of focusing on the disadvantages of business continuity plans; it forces the organization to think about complacency and how to address it.
The Costs and Resources
The costs and resources needed for business continuity planning can be addressed by fully understanding all the advantages of business continuity plans and building a business case for the program. This business case should include financial models for developing the plan, executing steps that must be done ahead of time as well as including financial models for the potential losses caused by each risk.
The Staff Confidence Challenge
The Staff confidence challenge requires a well thought out organizational change management and communications plan. Bringing staff into a business continuity planning effort without developing their understanding of the goals and objectives is a recipe for disaster. If they understand the goal is to protect the organization in the future and not to criticize them for not having a backup generator, for example, they will be more accepting of the program. It may also be worth bringing them together to talk about the fear and doubt that may occur during the planning process. This program is being put in place for their safety, and while it might be confronting to talk about building collapse, knowing where to go and how to help each other makes surviving the collapse more likely for those who are prepared.
To make good use of both the advantages of business continuity planning and the disadvantages, it is worth doing some internal brainstorming to see which challenges the organization will face and building a list of the ways the challenges can be addressed. This increases the likelihood of success for the overall program.
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Business continuity plan advantages and disadvantages for 2021
Do businesses continuity plan advantages and disadvantages exist? The importance of having a business continuity plan cannot be under-estimated. Business continuity strategies ' sometimes referred to as disaster recovery plans ' are an essential element of organizations planning.
You might be surprised, then, to find an article considering not just the benefits of a business continuity plan, but also the disadvantages. Are there really disadvantages to business continuity planning? Here we look ahead to the things that might impact your continuity strategies in 2021 and to some of the business continuity plan advantages and disadvantages.
What Are the Advantages of Business Continuity Planning?
Unexpected events can catch an organization out at any time. Whether the event is a natural disaster or accident, deliberate disruption or attack, the impact on your business can be significant. If you have failed to plan for such an event, the impact is likely to be far more significant. The benefits of developing a business continuity plan are numerous. A BCP can help to:
- Ensure your business can keep trading during and after an incident.
- Restart operations swiftly following disruption.
- Minimize the cost of tackling business interruption.
- Shorten the period of disruption.
- Reduce the risks and effect of risks on your business.
- Assure your customers, stakeholders and employees that your organization is capable of weathering disruption.
- Protect your corporate reputation.
- Increase compliance with regulatory or legal obligations.
- Improve insurance terms and costs.
- Reduce risk and danger to your employees and customers.
2020 has shown, more than most years, the importance of having such a plan in place. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for well-thought-out business continuity strategies, with organizations that had prepared for the worst being best-placed to maintain business continuity through the pandemic . From a coronavirus perspective, indications are that things are likely to remain disrupted at least in the early part of 2021. For businesses looking to maximize operational capability, this reinforces the need for a robust business continuity plan. And of course, coronavirus is far from the only threat businesses will face in 2021. Weather-related events; terrorism; cyber-attacks; fires ' there is a long list of things with the potential to disrupt your business. Whatever the year may throw at us, organizations that have planned for the unexpected will be best able to manage potential disruption. Having a team in place to spring into action as soon as business interruption looks likely speeds your response, increases your ability to cope with a crisis, and minimizes the impact on your business.
What Should You Consider When Assessing Your BCP
- Is your business continuity plan out of date? Your BCP shouldn't be static but needs to be revisited and updated regularly to take account of evolving threats. It also needs to keep pace with your changing business. Has your organization grown, organically or through M&A activity? If you have new subsidiaries since the plan was last reviewed, or have gone through an IPO that subjects you to additional regulatory or legislative requirements, your obligations will have changed.
- Is your plan complete; does it cover all your entities and every risk you face? A comprehensive BCP demands a full 360-degree organizational vision. The mitigating actions you put in place need to reflect the entirety of your business ' data on your legal entities and subsidiaries is therefore an essential foundation to your plan. Without this, the BCP may have dangerous holes that threaten your ability to maintain operations.
- Does it stand up to rigorous testing? Your plan should be tested regularly, either as part of a planned review or via surprise checks.
Are There Any Disadvantages To Having a Business Continuity Plan?
With business continuity plans delivering all the benefits set out above, it may seem counter-intuitive to consider that there may be disadvantages to developing a business continuity strategy. And maybe when we talk about disadvantages, 'limitations' may be a better term. Because while there are many advantages of business continuity planning, if plans are not prepared properly, they may give organizations a false sense of security. One thing that may be considered a disadvantage of business continuity planning is the spotlight it throws onto your contingency plans. If these are lacking ' if your back-up IT, power, communications or remote working plans are substandard ' the fact that a BCP brings this into sharp focus may be seen by some as a disadvantage of the process. In fact, painful as this may be, identifying shortcomings in your emergency plans is a vital step in putting in place the strategies you will need in the event of any crisis. The process of business continuity planning itself may also be considered a disadvantage; it can often be time-consuming, frustrating and seemingly never-ending, as plans evolve to meet the changing threats they must consider. Now that we have looked at the business continuity plan advantages and disadvantages, how can you ensure your company is prepared for crisis while mitigating business continuity planning limitations?
How To Overcome Business Continuity Challenges
Luckily, there are ways to make business continuity strategy planning pain-free. Many organizations have discovered the benefits of technology during the pandemic, in supporting their business processes and ensuring they could continue to operate. And it's not just the hardware itself that can help; the best technology providers are proving their worth as trusted partners, helping their clients to navigate the challenges of operating in unprecedented times. Cloud-based software allows businesses to maintain operations when their own locations are compromised. Highly-secure, off-site servers can host everything from compliance solutions to secure file sharing for board and other organizational documents. Market-leading entity management software gives businesses confidence that their plans are based on 100% accurate data. You can find out how Diligent and our suite of cloud-based solutions can help you to maintain operations in the event of the unexpected by getting in touch with us .
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The benefits of a Business Continuity Plan
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The key to a successful, long-term business is not only to ability to serve your market and retain customers, but also the ability to withstand the unexpected that could knock your success off-course.
While COVID-19 is at the forefront of our minds these days, it is worth considering that this is one of many events that have had impacts on business over the past few months. Cyber attacks, pandemics, flooding, fires and multiple storms highlight the need for planning for the unknown and the requirement to keep business operations active during times of stress.
The use of a business continuity plan or BCP, provides companies with a roadmap and processes that support the company and its strategy in times of the unexpected. An effective plan enables any organisation to react quickly and efficiently in the event of unpredictable events. The goal is to keep essential services up and running and in the event of an incident to provide for recovery in the shortest possible timeframe.
The benefits of a BCP include supporting the organisation’s strategy, creating a strategic advantage compared to your competitors, demonstrating to stakeholders such as investors and customers that you are taking their needs seriously and addressing operational vulnerabilities.
The framework that supports BCP is a Business Continuity Management System or BCMS. The de-facto standard for BCMS is ISO-22301. This lays out the requirements for a standardised management system, and highlights ten clauses to assist in developing a plan. The key considerations when developing a BCMS include:
- Decide which services are essential to keeping the business operational, this will be done through risk assessments/business impact assessment – The scope
- Understand the people element as a key part of this are identifying the correct people to be part of the reaction team, i.e. the first responders to an incident. This is a vital part of the plan as the right people need to be in place to respond and deal with the incident. – The Leadership and Support
- Plan for the testing, refining and updating of the BCMS, as this should keep abreast of how your business and strategy changes. – Planning, Performance evaluation and Improvement
Then there are the practical elements of the plan that should be agreed prior to any incident occurring. You should keep up to date contact details of all key stake holders. You should schedule for plan reviewing, testing and updating. Testing should be done regularly, from walk through, table top exercises and full emergency exercises to see how team members and execs react under stress.
Plans can look great on paper but until they are firstly fully tested in an exercise environment and lessons are learned and applied they may not operate as expected in an incident. There should be easily accessible check-lists in-situ – both in soft and hard-copy –that outline what is to be done, by who, by when, how that will be achieved and where the activity is to take place. As such understand and agree the guidelines for how and when to activate the plan
If an organisation prepares a plan in advance of an incident occurring, be it a pandemic, an act of nature or a cyber attack, then the organisation stands a better chance of emerging from the incident with its operations intact.
How to keep business continuity in a crisis However, if an organisation doesn’t have a BCP, then there’s no need to panic. You can still implement the most important phase of a BCP - this is the response phase, and for many the least effectively planned phase of a BCP.
The response phase comprises of the following 6 key steps:
- Mobilise your incident response team. This should be led by and comprise of senior management and company experts who manage the operations and staff at this time. Critical decisions are agreed on by this taskforce. Meetings should be held at least daily with interim phone calls involving sub-teams occurring more frequently.
- Decide if additional expert support is required at this time. It may be the case that the organisation is ill-equipped to deal with the incident, so now is the time to ask for help. If they don’t ask then the response to the incident may be inadequate and may prevent recovery in the long-term.
- Safeguard your critical assets – during a crisis or incident ensure that your operational assets are monitored for unauthorised access or usage and that you have a full inventory completed.
- Implement a communications plan to keep all stakeholders – internal, external, governmental and customers aware of what you are doing, why you are doing it and when you are doing what you’re doing
- Plan on how the organisation will restore to pre-incident operational effectiveness. This can include a glide-path for bringing systems or staffing on-line in a controlled manner. The big-bang approach can usually lead to more issues as systems become overloaded if done too quickly.
- Complete a lesson’s learnt report and publish this through internal and external communications. Another incident or crisis will occur in the future, so plan on re-using your hard won knowledge.
If an organisation takes these steps into consideration during an incident or crisis it can formulate a recovery plan that will assist it with keeping itself in a viable situation during the incident and also recovering to hopefully pre-incident state after the incident is over.
Authors: Neil Redmond, Senior Manager and Mark Gallagher, Manager, Risk Advisory
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Benefits of Business Continuity Management System
July 22, 2023
In today’s digital world, businesses must be prepared for any type of disruption. A business continuity management system (BCMS) can help minimize the impact and keep operations running smoothly, whether a natural disaster, technical outage, or other unforeseen events.
Organizational leaders realize that business continuity planning is important as pandemics hit businesses across all continents. Business continuity plans provide numerous benefits to a company in a crowded environment, often overlooked by governmental authorities or businesses operating in emergency situations.
Protect the supply chain.
Business continuity plans capture critical operations that need minimizing and recovering. Often business operations are disrupted because of these problems. Implementing business continuity plans helps stakeholders to take the necessary steps to ensure critical operations are planned.
It enables a business to keep up with all processes, provide its products within a specified period, and deliver products to its customers at their best.
Preserve brand reputation
In the long term, the importance of ensuring optimum brand image in the market has always been paramount. Besides improving customer loyalty, it also helps in generating sales revenue. A business continuity program is essential for creating trust, providing stability in crisis situations, and achieving customer expectations.
Continued product excellence
Whenever a firm executes its business continuity plan correctly, it is possible for emergencies to turn hemorrhages into hiccups. It is possible to manage a business operation smoothly while providing value for the customer and the vendor while maintaining the integrity of the business.
Product excellence is possible, however when the company develops and executes the right BCP in the context of the Risk Management program in the future.
In any critical situation, the company must ensure the highest levels of customer satisfaction so as not to lose customer loyalty to its brands. The business continuity plan helps the company preserve quality and replace the resources impacted by an emergency situation using technology and alternative infrastructure.
It focuses on quality products that prioritize customers’ requirements and maintains the brand reputation.
Business continuity plans can help companies manage risks and improve business continuity. Because of the ongoing pandemic, many businesses lost revenue, and operations are interrupted due to the lockout.
Business continuity programs also help to mitigate any risk associated with a pandemic. Risk management and damage control initiatives also provide organizations with the tools to manage situations.
Disaster Recovery is important for businesses if they cannot recover operations from the disaster. Unexpected events can occur in many unusual situations. Businesses with strong business continuity programs have been known for surviving crises with success.
It’s, therefore, essential for businesses to include Disaster Recovery in their operations in emergencies .
Companies must ensure that all business stakeholders are protected when a crisis occurs. Businesses should comfort workers while communicating timely and maintaining a transparent view of the actual situations and the possible options available.
Clear communications are essential for employees coping with stress, which will reduce confusion.
Compliance with industry standards
Developing business continuity strategies helps ensure leadership follows business continuity requirements. The report enables organizations to check their compliance with industry regulations.
It also ensures that company operations are effectively carried out and demonstrates that organization knows about risk management strategies and other duties.
Business continuity programs can be implemented to prevent business downtimes. The BCP helps businesses manage their business operations during emergencies and can help them with technical and human outage issues.
What is Business Continuity Management?
Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a process that helps organizations identify and mitigate risks to keep operations running smoothly. BCM involves identifying potential threats, implementing strategies to reduce or eliminate those threats, and testing the strategies to ensure they are effective.
It also involves developing plans for business processes and responding to and recovering from disruptions caused by those threats. BCM is important because it helps organizations minimize the disruptions caused by disasters, malfunctions, and other unexpected events.
Business continuity management is the process used by companies to identify potential risks and reduce them. It makes businesses stronger when they face an uncertain situation. Disruptions could impact information processing or both. Power is lost in stormy weather.
Benefits of Business Continuity Management System (BCMS)
BCMSs protect workers and their valuable assets from risks. The firm can continue to offer products or services through the use of human resources. The Company will therefore generate income and maintain its strong reputation for success.
Business Continuity Management Systems (BCMS) provide many benefits to organizations, including:
- Improved Disaster Recovery: BCMS helps organizations plan for and recover from disasters by identifying potential risks, preparing for disruptions, and developing resilient systems.
- Risk Mitigation: BCMS effectively identifies and mitigates threats that can cause disruptions or data loss.
- Improved Efficiency: BCMS enables organizations to run more efficiently by allowing them to develop contingency plans that allow operations to continue in the event of a disruption.
- Cost Savings: BCMS saves money by reducing the impact of unexpected events on an organization’s operations and productivity.
- Compliance: BCMS helps organizations meet industry standards and comply with regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA.
What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity relates to the continuity of operations of an organization even after a disruption or disaster. The organization must develop comprehensive plans to maintain normal operations in case of unexpected events like cyber attacks, natural disasters, natural fires, and power outages.
Businesses can quickly resume business operations after an unanticipated event using Business Continuous Planning (BCP). The value of maintaining business continuity plans cannot be underestimated.
What is a business continuity plan?
Business continuity plans can be incorporated into business continuity systems such as BCMs, which provide for procedures an organization must follow when an emergency happens. It also describes recovery steps within the days after the accident.
BCPs include a disaster recovery plan intended to ensure IT and technical continuity. Alternatively, an organization may follow specific steps and prepare the plan by employing an external consultant.
Importance of Business Continuity Plans
Strong business continuity plans will help the company maintain its goods or services while also earning income and can effectively reduce losses during a disaster or in an emergency. A widely used statistic states that nearly 40 percent of businesses fail after a disaster.
Although many people doubt the source of their problems, recovery is obvious for those who experienced massive disruption.
The importance of governance in business continuity management
Managing business continuity effectively is essential. Governance began with Business Continuity policies. The guidance from leadership ensures the plan will address new risk areas depending on the company’s business continuity strategy.
Despite this, many people don’t think the governance approach is always accurate. Traditional governance is focused on determining what your plans cover,” adds Fullick. It includes flooding, fires, earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes.
Importance of Business Continuity to Small Business
Small businesses often believe that they are exempt from crisis situations. In fact, nearly half the reopening businesses fail within 3-5 years. Despite our fears, some people believe they won’t get here.” This calm and sane attitude cannot be defended after the Pandemic. For Tony Bombacino, business continuity is an everyday thing.
Previously, he co-founded Realfood Blends, a private company that creates a wide range of food products that can be taken from food tubes. I think about everything I don’t really think,’ he added, and thus creates a solid business continuity plan.
Importance of Business Continuity for the Supply Chain
A BCP can save inventory levels. A Business Impact Assessment (BIA) may help you understand the risk to the company’s ability to manufacture and deliver products in a crisis. Toyota’s plant in the United States demonstrates that a ruptured supply chain had closed production hundreds of miles away.
Following the 2011 earthquake in Japan, the Japanese automotive industry shut down. When Toyota could no longer produce parts from the plant, many of the company’s employees were forced to retire.
Importance of Business Continuity to IT
Most companies use technology to maintain or operate services such as the Internet and voice over IP (VOIP). The group carries documents and runs computers. Without IT, businesses are impossible. Therefore, IT’s Business Continuity Plans should be essential.
Importance of Business Continuity Planning in Crisis Management
Crisis management forms an important part of any reassurance plan. Business continuity offers holistic approaches to protecting human life and guarantees that crucial processes continue operating. Crisis Management is about communication and decisions.
Business continuity planning helps companies, nonprofits, and others outline steps to take during and after unexpected disruptions in operations
A business continuity plan exists to protect businesses against unexpected catastrophes and disruption. The creation of such a plan is critical for the company’s crisis planning because even the prepared company can suffer sudden threats.
It requires hard work and collaboration among the leaders and the board members. The detailed overview of important software and business continuity principles that can be used for successful implementation.
What should be included in a business continuity plan?
A comprehensive Business continuity plan provides roadmaps for the return to normal operations when disruptive events occur. Important elements of the business continuity Plan include:-
Important elements of a Business Continuity Plan include:
- Risk Assessment: Identifying potential risks that could disrupt operations.
- Strategies and Procedures: Develop strategies and procedures to reduce or eliminate threats.
- Crisis Management Protocols: Creating protocols for how to respond in the event of an incident .
- Testing & Validation: Testing and validating the plan to ensure it is effective.
- Communication Plan: Establishing a plan for communicating with staff, customers, vendors, etc., during disruptions.
Acceptable downtime refers to how long an organization may tolerate critical software services and hardware availability. Providing an effective baseline to measure readiness for disruption is a critical consideration in business continuity plans.
When determining acceptable downtime, take into account factors including potential revenues lost as a result of lower availability, impact on customers and suppliers, operational costs associated with restoring service, public perception of an interruption in the service, legal liabilities related to the privacy law and any other risks that might arise from compliance issues.
Plan to maintain operations
Business continuity plans should contain operations plans in place to ensure success. This plan should describe steps taken by an organization in the event of an emergency. It should include specific steps to restore critical services, such as customer service departments.
IT infrastructure, supply chains, and detailed guidelines on where to continue to work remotely if needed to improve processes increase the company’s competitive advantage.
In addition to a comprehensive strategy, alternate resources and employees should exist for unplanned interruptions.
Business continuity management systems are becoming increasingly important as organizations strive for greater resilience in the face of unexpected disruptions or disasters. With a BCMS in place and disaster recovery plans , you can reduce risk and improve efficiency and brand value.
Business continuity helps increase visibility into all areas of your organization and ensures that your team is prepared for any business disruption. It’s an invaluable tool that should be part of every business’s risk management strategy.
Have you read?
Elements of a business continuity management systems
What is the main purpose of business continuity management
Purpose of a business continuity plan
Why business continuity management system?
Chris Ekai is a Risk Management expert with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a Master’s(MSc) degree in Risk Management from University of Portsmouth and is a CPA and Finance professional. He currently works as a Content Manager at Risk Publishing, writing about Enterprise Risk Management, Business Continuity Management and Project Management.
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Why Your Business Needs a Business Continuity Plan
- by Audrey Quiteves on July 23, 2023
- last update on July 21, 2023
- Reading Time: 7 minutes
Most organizations are no strangers to plans. Whether succession planning, business strategy, or marketing campaigns, planning is vital in ensuring all bases are covered from start to finish.
Among the areas that require planning within an organization, business continuity and disaster recovery stand out as crucial. These aspects are instrumental in maintaining the stability of your business’s skeletal structure and operations, especially during challenging circumstances.
In this article, we will delve into the importance of business continuity planning, its fundamentals, and how it can enhance your company’s resilience.
What is Business Continuity Planning?
Business continuity planning is the development of a strategic management plan to prepare an organization for responding to and recovering from various crises, such as natural disasters, pandemics, or cyberattacks. Inadequate management of a business crisis can lead to significant expenses and reputational damage. Stakeholders are often unforgiving during such times, making it essential to have a well-prepared business continuity plan in place.
What is the importance of a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan (BCP), which is an executive-approved document for managing disruptions, serves as a definitive blueprint outlining the actions to be taken by everyone involved to maintain operations throughout and after a catastrophe. Specifically, the business continuity plan supports critical aspects such as workflow operations, customer service response, workforce communication, information flow, and business security.
What is the goal of a business continuity plan? It is crucial in mitigating the risks associated with losses and the aftermath of a crisis. Such a plan offers peace of mind to both management and employees, creating a secure work environment where clear policies are in place to guide response and recovery efforts during crises.
Business Continuity Planning vs Disaster Recovery
While natural disasters can trigger crises, business continuity extends beyond disaster recovery. Business continuity encompasses the comprehensive implementation plan that ensures the continuous operation of critical business functions. On the other hand, disaster recovery is a specific component of the business continuity plan that primarily focuses on restoring the organization’s IT infrastructure and data after disruptions.
Top Reasons Why Business Continuity Planning is Important
It is important to understand that a business continuity plan is not merely a backup plan to restore revenue. There are numerous compelling reasons why even small businesses should prioritize preparing such a plan. Let’s explore the key motivations behind initiating your business continuity planning.
1. Minimize Downtime and Losses
Whatever your business goals are or wherever industry, your company cannot afford downtime. Understanding and implementing instantly what to do in case of disruptions is one of the main benefits of a business continuity plan. Remember that the longer the downtime, the higher potential for financial loss.
Business continuity planning makes it possible to keep your business running and mitigate financial loss by establishing actions to take, whatever the nature of the disruption. For instance, if the current physical office becomes inaccessible due to natural disasters, can your system support remote work and resources for employees? Or, if the power goes out and the server or network can’t be accessed, is there a backup server or data center?
A strong business continuity plan takes into account the potential losses when downtime occurs in a matter of minutes to days and weeks. It defines the procedures of how the company should function and continue to be stable to communicate to all stakeholders and customers — eventually, ensuring continuous flow of revenue and trust.
2. Anticipate Risks and Threats
Constant discussion and application of the BCP ensures that the business continuity management team is examining the potential risks, threats, and accidents that the company may face. Disasters are not limited to natural causes. In today’s business, organizations are expected to face a myriad of challenges, from power disruptions and global pandemics to targeted cybercrimes and data destruction.
Proper business continuity planning allows the consideration of all the possible disruptions within your industry, location, and even on a global scale. Identifying these risks may prevent losses by establishing response and recovery procedures.
3. Ensure Customer Confidence and Safeguard Reputation
During times of crisis, your customers become more discerning about your actions and responses. They expect your business to effectively navigate through disaster situations. Resuming operations promptly and effectively after a crisis can significantly contribute to building trust with your customers.
Additionally, your customers represent one of the most valuable assets of your company, and it is crucial to safeguard the information they have entrusted to you. Establishing a contingency plan outlines the necessary measures to take in the event of cyberattacks and data breaches.
Having a robust business continuity plan in place signals to customers that they have made the right choice in selecting your product or service, leading them to continue their patronage. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on your brand reputation. Companies that demonstrate preparedness and consistency in effectively managing crises convey their resilience and stability to their consumers and the world at large.
4. Enhance Employee Safety and Well-being
When a company is affected by disasters or crises, it can be challenging to focus on work. However, in such situations, it is crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of your workforce. Safety extends beyond physical health and includes mental well-being as well.
Amidst the global pandemic, businesses have experienced widespread disruption, leading many employers to adopt remote work arrangements and implement mental health programs to support their employees. A well-prepared business continuity plan plays a vital role in swiftly accounting for employee safety and providing necessary support for them to continue working during and after crises.
Furthermore, when employees are confident in the plans and decisions made by management, they become more determined and focused on their work. By establishing a well-communicated business continuity plan, you reassure your employees of their safety. This then can enhance employee productivity, improve operational efficiencies, and foster heightened vigilance against security threats.
5. Gain Competitive Advantage
Another benefit of a business continuity plan is gaining a competitive edge over your rivals. Effectively restoring business operations, recovering networks, updating data access, and reconnecting employees to customers all contribute to enhancing corporate governance and positioning your company as a reliable brand. A robust business continuity plan guarantees that you are prepared to navigate disruptions, delivering uninterrupted services that set you apart from the competition.
The Fundamentals of Business Continuity Planning
The purpose of a business continuity plan is to identify, address, and reduce the risk of potential disruptions while maintaining business functions. Below are the key components of business continuity planning:
1. The emergency response team
To initiate the BCP process, it is crucial to form a dedicated response team comprising managers or leaders who can contribute valuable insights. This team holds the responsibility of actively engaging in the recovery process and overseeing specific tasks like restoring systems and operations. It is essential to select individuals who possess the ability to drive progress and make decisions when required.
2. Risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA)
Before formulating strategies and procedures for your business functions, identify first the potential threats to your business and assess its vulnerable areas. Conducting a business impact analysis enables your company to understand the potential consequences of disruptions and losses on your financial and operational functions. This analysis helps evaluate which resources and assets should be prioritized for recovery and aids in the development of effective recovery procedures.
3. Business continuity strategies and solutions
Based on the risk assessment and analysis conducted, recovery strategies and procedures can be developed to uphold business functions and prioritize resources accordingly. These strategies encompass key components that are crucial for effective recovery:
- Emergency response plan — This entails a comprehensive set of guidelines aimed at minimizing the overall disruption impact on the business and ensuring workforce safety. It should include protocols for emergency response communication, evacuation routes, and emergency contact information.
- Crisis management — This plan outlines the contingency measures for communication, activities of key personnel, incident remediation, and decision-making during a crisis. It ensures that there is a structured approach to managing the crisis effectively.
- Operations restoration — The operational recovery plan focuses on safeguarding human resources and business assets while restoring essential functions following a crisis or emergency. This plan involves determining recovery time objectives, formulating strategies for security measures, work environment restoration, data center recovery, and establishing communication protocols.
4. Business continuity testing
Once the BCP has been formulated and approved, conduct regular tests and updates to ensure its effectiveness. Business continuity planning is not a one-time activity; it is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and improvement. Regular testing improves predictability, minimizes risks, and keeps your plans updated and aligned with the constantly changing business landscape. By consistently reviewing and refining your BCP, you can enhance its reliability and increase the likelihood of successfully navigating through future disruptions.
FAQs About Business Continuity Planning
If you’re seeking to enhance your business continuity plan, explore our FAQs to find answers to your questions.
What is the goal of a business continuity plan?
The main purpose of a business continuity plan is to ensure the organization is prepared to respond to and recover from emergencies and disruptions, such as natural disasters and cyberattacks. This planning is a process of identifying the potential risks and formulating solutions to minimize the negative impact of such risks.
Why is business continuity planning important for preparing for natural disasters?
During natural disasters, business continuity planning proves beneficial to organizations by expediting recovery efforts through implementing mechanisms aimed at mitigating financial risks, minimizing downtime, and ensuring the safety of employees. BCPs encompass comprehensive measures and protocols to address all organizational risks in the event of natural disasters like floods, fires, or earthquakes.
Is business continuity planning only relevant for large organizations?
Of course not! No matter the size — small or enterprise — and wherever industry, every organization must be performing business continuity planning. If an organization does not plan for continuity, the management and workforce are not prepared to react and pick up from the occurrence of disruptions and their negative impacts.
Can business continuity planning help organizations respond to cyberattacks?
Yes! Your business continuity planning must cover every threat to your organization, including cybercrimes. Even with the most advanced security features, you may not be safe from data breaches which may cost you financial and information losses. A solid business continuity plan implements cybersecurity risk assessment to develop strategies for prevention and recovery from cyber threats.
What are the key components of a business continuity plan?
The key components of a BCP are the elements needed from conceptualization to implementation. These key elements include: the crisis management team, risk assessments, business impact analysis, strategies for prevention, response and recovery, and BCP testing.
Download our free actionable guide to business continuity planning to see how these components build your BCP.
How often should a business continuity plan be reviewed and updated?
As a best practice, your BCP must be reviewed and updated annually at a minimum. Business changes, industry changes, and other external factors must also be considered to be promptly reflected when updating the business continuity plan.
Create a Business Continuity Plan with Board Technology
Whether it’s a natural disaster or a cyberattack, unexpected situations can arise. A well-prepared business continuity plan, coupled with the necessary resources, is vital to enable companies to maintain their market positions and swiftly recover from adverse circumstances, ensuring minimal disruption to normal operations.
In the digital era, advanced technologies can play a significant role in developing a comprehensive business continuity plan. This development process should be a collaborative effort, incorporating insights from both management and staff.
To streamline collaboration, consider leveraging Convene, the trusted board management software , equipped with interactive and secure features that facilitate effective planning. Convene empowers meetings with video conferencing capabilities to easily communicate assessments and strategies for business continuity. Moreover, the software allows secure document management to collaborate on risk assessments and reports and store them in a secure, resilient repository.
Explore the many more features of Convene and discover how it can enhance your board meetings, document management, and overall business continuity efforts.
Audrey is a Content Marketing Specialist at Convene, in charge of managing the production of quality content on the company’s website. A communication major keen on marketing, Audrey has been constantly seeking approaches to create tailored content—may it be about governance, digitalization, boards, or meetings—fit for the stakeholders. When not strategizing on the next ebook to produce, Audrey finds solitude in reading make-you-ugly-cry novels and listening to self-improvement podcasts.
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5 Reasons your organization needs a business continuity plan
You never need a business continuity plan until you do. Here are 5 reasons you should start yours today.
Read time: 6 minutes
Organizations often underestimate the importance of a business continuity plan. No one ever notices its absence – until disaster strikes. By then, it’s too late.
Any unplanned interruption of normal business processes can create immense hurdles and costly setbacks. Operations suffer. Revenue may suffer even more.
Unplanned interruptions take many forms. It can be something as simple as a power outage. It could be a major hurricane. Ultimately, a disaster can be anything that disrupts normal business operations. Regardless of the cause, unplanned means unexpected.
With a business continuity plan in place, you position yourself to minimize the impact and damage of an unexpected event. In this article, we will discuss:
What constitutes business continuity planning and the difference between it and disaster recovery.
The top 5 reasons your organization needs a business continuity plan.
The importance of business continuity planning beyond simply restoring operations.
How to get started building a business continuity plan.
What is business continuity planning?
A business continuity plan gives an organization the ability to maintain essential processes before, during, and after a disaster.
Business continuity differs from disaster recovery in its holistic approach to the business. Business continuity reflects a business-wide implementation plan to ensure the continuation of critical business functions should a disruptive event occur. Disaster recovery “recovers” an organization’s hardware, applications, and data after a technology disruption.
Learn more about Business continuity and disaster recovery solutions and services
While it takes time and effort to build and test a business continuity plan, you’ll find it well worth it should a disaster strike.
Here are 5 of the main reasons you need a business continuity plan:
Reason #1: Disaster recovery
As noted in the previous section, disaster recovery plays a significant role in the restoration of business operations.
Disasters happen. Their unexpected nature is what makes them so devastating. Being prepared may not prevent the disaster, but it does mitigate the impact on your business.
Research states that 40 percent of small businesses never recover from a disaster.¹ Larger organizations take major hits.
Often when we think of disasters, we think of major events like earthquakes, floods, and natural disasters. These, however, aren’t the only causes of downtime. Data deletion due to human error, poor security habits of users, and incompetent employees or accidents also rank among the prime reasons for IT downtime.
Reason #2: Data shows backups are not enough
Most companies deploy some form of data backup. Having data backed up does you no good if you cannot access it, such as could occur in a power outage or need to leave an office site even on a temporary basis.
Accessing data in the event of a disaster can prove a problem. After all, having a backup is different from accessing it.
It’s a question business continuity planning asks: How will you access that data in the event of an outage?
For example, the average enterprise backup reaches over a petabyte or more. This pushes conventional storage to its limits. Even several terabytes of data backed up by a small to mid-sized business can strain capacity and bandwidth. And if you don’t have a data center or hardware prepared to handle this volume of data, it does you no good.
By deploying business continuity and disaster recovery solutions leveraging cloud technologies and virtual servers, organizations can run critical business applications from backup instances on virtual servers in the cloud. This approach enables you to effectively “flip a switch” and can keep your downtime to a minimum.
Reason #3: Insurance does not protect your data
Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and successful every year.
A 2018 study of companies that were attacked found that 68% of breaches took months or longer to discover.² And insurance doesn’t restore data due to data center, server, or backup loss, or even lost access to any of these.
Insurance isn’t enough to cover all the damages of a disaster. Yes, it can cover the costs of repairs, but in terms of loss of revenue and business prospects due to downtime, it has little effect.
Reason #4: Competitive edge
You have a big advantage over your competitors if you can restore normal operations while they are still trying to figure it out. Getting your network back up and running fast, restoring access to your business data and documents, and reconnecting your employees to communicate with each other and support your customers allows for your organization to stand-out as a leader and one that can be trusted and relied upon.
Reason #5: Business must go on
Keeping a business going is essential. Taking a very simple view, if you lose the ability to buy and sell, your business – for all practical purposes – ceases to function.
Business continuity makes this possible by establishing actions that must be taken to ensure operations remain active, no matter the nature of the disaster. For example:
If the power goes out without certainty of when it will be restored, can you switch to a server or network located in a functioning data center?
If you experience a server failure, do you have a backup server (or virtual server) ready to go?
If your office location becomes inaccessible for any reason, can your employees work remotely?
When building your business continuity plan, you consider all the possible disruptions you might encounter. Loss of power or an office location is one of the biggest reasons offsite and redundant backup remains one of the most important aspects of IT reliability.
Your business simply cannot afford downtime. A solid business continuity plan can mean the difference between being back up and running in a matter of minutes versus days or even weeks.
The importance of a business continuity plan
A business continuity plan positions your organization to survive serious disruption. It eliminates confusion common to every disaster, providing a clear blueprint for what everyone should do.
More importantly, your business continuity plan supports:
Communication between employees and customers
Workflow operations essential to business activity
Customer service response, especially if you are a service provider
Business security, keeping your data and information secured wherever you and your team find yourself working
The flow of information and documents
Beyond business operations, your business continuity plan helps people. By keeping operations going, you are better positioned to keep your employees working, protecting the jobs that support them and their families. You also continue to meet the needs of your customers, impacting their lives, and if you are in a B2B business, the lives of their customers.
We are here to help
We have helped many businesses develop and implement business continuity plans.
In addition to consulting services like these, our IT services can remove the burden of monitoring and managing your data infrastructure to help give you increased reliability, reduced risk and a comprehensive business continuity plan in the event of a disaster.
Ricoh’s IT services include:
Server & network management
Device & desktop management
Managed cybersecurity services
End user communication services
Managed cloud services
Data center services
Disaster recovery and backup
IT project work
Remote IT support
We know that your business is unique and has its own needs. In every engagement, you can be confident that we’ll work together to create a business continuity plan and if needed, a technology infrastructure built specifically for you.
- 1. http://www.chamber101.com/2programs_committee/natural_disasters/disasterpreparedness/Forty.htm
- 2. https://enterprise.verizon.com/resources/reports/DBIR_2018_Report.pdf
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