A business continuity plan is a major component in the risk management process in any type of business organization. It can be easily misunderstood as a business contingency plan due to the similarity in the usage of planning. However, a business continuity plan has a broader perspective for business activities. In simple terms, a business continuity plan focuses on carrying out business activities and functions normally after unplanned events have occurred.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is a plan developed by the management of the business to ensure the ability to maintain essential business functions during and after an unexpected situation has occurred to the business. A business continuity plan aims to prevent any interruptions that may occur to mission-critical services, and it also ensures the reestablishment of full business function to the organization quickly and smoothly as possible. High priority is given to ensure minimum disruptions to the business-customer relationship.
Business continuity is highly important for any business regardless of the size or the type of business. However, it might not be practical for large business organizations to maintain all the business functions active in a critical disaster situation. In situations such, the most basic requirement is to ensure the essential business functions are up and running while recovering the remaining functions with as little downtime as possible.
It is identified that the initial step of business continuity planning is to identify which business functions are essential and should be given the priority to operate even in a critical situation. The budget for business continuity should be allocated accordingly. Once the most important and essential business functions are identified, the business administrators can work on a failover mechanism and put it in place to continue business operations.
When preparing a business continuity plan, the management should consider various possibilities of unpredictable events such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, fires, diseases, theft, burglary, etc.
Importance of Having a Business Continuity Plan
– Ensure recovery from the disaster
As identified above, a disaster recovery plan plays a major role in restoring business operations back to normal. In a situation of an unpredictable disaster, it is natural for people to get panicked. Being prepared to overcome the disaster may not prevent the damage entirely. However, it will be a definite help to mitigate the negative impact on the business and start functioning normally as soon as possible.
– Business operations must continue
No matter how unexpected the disaster situation is, it is important to at least continue the most essential business functions up and running. This helps to minimize the inconvenience to the customers and improve the positive customer perception of the business. A business continuity plan can make it possible for the essential business functions to remain active no matter what the disaster is. It can be done through switching to different data servers or networks, using a backup server to function, using remote access, or temporarily switching to a manufacturing plant based on a different location.
– Competitive edge
If a business can operate in a critical scenario where the competitive business cannot operate, it can provide competitive advantages for the product or service in the market they operate. The positive customer perception can be helpful in attracting more customers as well as creating customer loyalty for the product. Functioning essential operations in a disaster situation and getting back the other business functions up and running fast can allow the business to stand out in the competition.
The above-mentioned factors emphasize the need of developing a properly documented business continuity plan for the business and allocate the necessary budget to ensure the smooth run of business activities in unexpected disaster situations.