Business continuity (BC) -Business Continuity- refers to the maintenance of business functions or their quick resumption in the event of a major disruption, caused by fire, pandemic, flood, earthquake, financial crisis or other causes.
The plan should allow the organization to continue operating at least during a crisis. The plan helps the organization maintain resilience by responding quickly to any disruptions. A good and comprehensive risk analysis is essential for the continuity plan to be efficient and save the company money, time and reputation, in addition to avoiding on one occasion more than the temporary or total exit from the market when there is a prolonged interruption or a precipitate of financial, personal and reputation losses.
What is a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan refers to an organization’s system of procedures to restore critical business functions in the event of an unplanned disaster. These disasters could include natural disasters, security breaches, service outages, or other potential threats. Business continuity planning (BCP) enables organizations to resume business operations with minimal downtime, saving them resources in their response to what can often be a serious business interruption.
An optimized business continuity plan encompasses three main components.
First, a company needs to be resilient. That means key business functions are designed within the context of potential disasters. The business continuity team runs a risk assessment against each function for weaknesses and susceptibilities, then establishes protections against them. This supports ongoing risk management policies.
Second, stakeholders prioritize functions and determine which need to be brought online first. Disaster recovery is a key factor, and the faster functions can return to an operational state, the less likely the organization is to sustain lasting damage. IT stakeholders set disaster recovery time goals and develop an actionable disaster recovery plan. After mission-critical functions return to working order, team members work down the list of priority functions, utilizing third-party support to implement recovery strategies as needed.
Third, organizations require a contingency plan with branching paths that describe chains of command, stakeholder responsibilities and any necessary technical knowledge necessary for emergency management within established disaster scenarios. Finally, an optimized business continuity plan includes a recovery time objective (RTO) to establish the speed at which business operations must be recovered, and a business impact analysis to determine how successful recovery efforts were. Likewise, a disaster report shows stakeholders how the disaster recovery planning process can improve in the future.
With these three elements, an organization can weather crises, assess damage quickly and recover as soon as possible. It’s also important to understand that a business continuity plan is a living document which must be updated regularly as the organization adopts new technologies and processes. As organizations grow to scale, they adopt new solutions and infrastructures; these must be accounted for in the plan, or disaster recovery challenges could become augmented by unexpected bottlenecks.