What is Business Continuity?

10 Feb

Business Continuity in essential to ensure that businesses will always have the capabilities to supply vital business functions to “customers, suppliers, regulators and other entities” [1] that need to have access to these functions. The term Business Continuity describes a mentality or methodology of conducting day-to-day business [1], as opposed to Business Continuity planning which is essentially the way by which a firm can conduct and implement such appropriate measures.

Business Continuity is not just an important thing for firms to consider, it is absolutely crucial if a firm wants to survive and indeed thrive in the future – many businesses suffer severe damage as a result of events that they simply hadn’t planned for. Such events can range from anything like IT virus infections or broken supply chains to accidents, illness and crime, as well as natural disasters. These can result in simple unplanned events occurring like late deliveries or poor customer service, to name but a few. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, a firm’s service might break down altogether which, without relevant planning, may lead in the frim struggling to recover, allowing competitors gain a significant advantage. A tiny hit to a customer’s confidence in a business or service can take huge amounts of time and effort to recover and in some cases the effects can be irreversible.

These leads us on to the idea of Business Continuity planning (BCP), in other words, if something were to happen that affects a business’ normal operating procedures, do they have a plan in place? The plan is essentially a group of documents with instructions for employees on what they need to do before during and after any disaster. Business Continuity planning needs to be in line with a firm’s mission statement. “Creating and maintaining a BCP helps ensure that your business has the resources and information needed to deal with an emergency” [2]. Other benefits include:

  • Enhance your business image with employees, shareholders and customers by demonstrating a proactive attitude.
  • Improve efficiency in the overall organization.
  • Identify the relationship of assets both human and financial resources with respect to critical services and deliverables.

Here are a few points which could be considered as a template when creating such a plan [3]:

  • Cooperation of Organization & a Team
  • Review Business functions
  • Conduct business impact analysis
  • Policies, Procedures & Protocols
  • Create a Written Plan
  • Test & Modify

Here is a link to a sample Business Continuity plan template: http://www.inc.com/tools/business-continuity-plan-template.html

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_continuity

[2] http://www.bdc.ca/en/advice_centre/tools/business_continuity/business_continuity/Pages/default.aspx#.URT_gqUvF1Y

[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8-bR1DUwII

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