There are many unknown importance of business continuity plan or business continuity management in every business which every business owner or investor must be aware of to prevent unknown disasters.
A business continuity plan enables critical services or products to be continually delivered to clients. Instead of focusing on resuming a business after critical operations have ceased, or recovering after a disaster, a business continuity plan endeavors to ensure that critical operations continue to be available.
A well constructed business continuity plan must include the following:
- Plans, measures and arrangements to ensure the continuous delivery of critical services and products, which permits the organization to recover its facility, data and assets.
- Identification of necessary resources to support business continuity, including personnel, information, equipment, financial allocations, legal counsel, infrastructure protection and accommodations.
Now let us look at the definition of a Business Continuity Plan before going to to discuss it’s importance and how it benefits the company.
What is Business Continuity Planning (BCP)?
Business continuity planning (BCP) is the process involved in creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company.
The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and are able to function quickly in the event of a disaster. The BCP is generally conceived in advance and involves input from key stakeholders and personnel.
BCP involves defining any and all risks that can affect the company’s operations, making it an important part of the organization’s risk management strategy.
Risks may include natural disasters fire, flood, or weather-related events and cyber attacks.
Once the risks are identified, the plan should also include:
- Determining how those risks will affect operations
- Implementing safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks
- Testing procedures to ensure they work
- Reviewing the process to make sure that it is up to date
BCPs are an important part of any business. Threats and disruptions mean a loss of revenue and higher costs, which leads to a drop in profitability. And businesses can’t rely on insurance alone because it doesn’t cover all the costs and the customers who move to the competition.
There are certain misconceptions that business owners or investors make when trying to understand the importance of business continuity plan and they include the following below:
1: Our people will know what to do in an emergency
Even the best employees cannot be expected to know what to do when disaster strikes. Leaving each to respond in his or her own way only adds to the confusion of an event.
Having a well-documented business continuity plan in advance, and training your employees to follow it, gets everyone on the same page helping to ensure an organized, safe and timely recovery.
2: We have insurance to cover our losses
Insurance alone is NOT a business continuity strategy. Proper coverage is a significant and important part of the plan. But it may not fully cover some of the peripheral damages from an event, like loss of customers, loss of market share, or setbacks in development or release of a new product. Consult with your insurance agent to understand what is and is not covered under your policy.
3: We do not have the time to develop a business continuity plan
Time spent developing and maintaining a business continuity plan is an investment in your company. Your fixed costs will continue after an event, whether or not you are open for business.
The faster you can return your operations to normal, the more likely you will recover from the event successfully. With so much at stake, your company cannot afford to NOT have a plan.
4: Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are the same
Business continuity is a proactive plan to avoid and mitigate risks associated with a disruption of operations. It details steps to be taken before, during and after an event to maintain the financial viability of an organization.
Disaster recovery is a reactive plan for responding after an event. It deals with the safety and restoration of critical personnel, locations, and operational procedures after a disaster, and is a part of business continuity planning.
How to Develop a Business Continuity Plan
There are several steps many companies must follow to develop a solid BCP. They include:
- Business Impact Analysis: Here, the business will identify functions and related resources that are time-sensitive. (More on this below.)
- Recovery: In this portion, the business must identify and implement steps to recover critical business functions.
- Organization: A continuity team must be created. This team will devise a plan to manage the disruption.
- Training: The continuity team must be trained and tested. Members of the team should also complete exercises that go over the plan and strategies.
Importance of Business Continuity Plan
Below are the basic importance of business continuity plan. It is widely known that every organization is at risk from potential disasters that include the following:
- Natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, blizzards, earthquakes and fire
- Power and energy disruptions
- Communications, transportation, safety and service sector failure
- Environmental disasters such as pollution and hazardous materials spills
- Cyber attacks and hacker activity.
Creating and maintaining a BCP helps ensure that an institution has the resources and information needed to deal with these emergencies.
Things to do when a disruption occurs
Disruptions are handled in three steps:
- Continuation of critical services
- Recovery and restoration
Incident response involves the deployment of teams, plans, measures and arrangements. The following tasks are accomplished during the response phase:
- Incident management
- Communications management
- Operations management
Incident management includes the following measures:
- notifying management, employees, and other stakeholders;
- assuming control of the situation;
- identifying the range and scope of damage;
- implementing plans;
- identifying infrastructure outages; and
- coordinating support from internal and external sources.
Communications management is essential to control rumors, maintain contact with the media, emergency services and vendors, and assure employees, the public and other affected stakeholders. Communications management requirements may necessitate building redundancies into communications systems and creating a communications plan to adequately address all requirements.
An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) can be used to manage operations in the event of a disruption. Having a centralized EOC where information and resources can be coordinated, managed and documented helps ensure effective and efficient response.
Ensure that all time-sensitive critical services or products are continuously delivered or not disrupted for longer than is permissible.
Recovery and restoration
The goal of recovery and restoration operations is to, recover the facility or operation and maintain critical service or product delivery. Recovery and restoration includes:
- Re-deploying personnel
- Deciding whether to repair the facility, relocate to an alternate site or build a new facility
- Acquiring the additional resources necessary for restoring business operations
- Re-establishing normal operations
- Resuming operations at pre-disruption levels
The importance of business continuity plan is very critical for every business owner who wants to run a sustainable business to understand because Twenty-five percent of businesses do not reopen following a major event. It does not take a major catastrophe to shut down a business.
In fact, seemingly minor disruptions compared to widespread natural disasters can often cause significant damages like power failures, broken water pipes, or loss of computer data.
Planning for a disruption or catastrophic event should happen when business is going well, not when disaster strikes.
Having a pre-defined, well-documented business continuity plan that clearly communicates how your business will respond during an event can help mitigate risk and is one of the best investments your company can make.
Am certain that after going through all these, you will agree with me that indeed there are many importance of business continuity plan, therefore i encourage every business owner, investors and all those involved to take the active measures to protect their businesses.