Business Continuity Planning: Ensuring the Resilience of Your Organization

Let’s explore the intricacies of business continuity planning, from understanding its importance to implementing a robust strategy that safeguards your enterprise.

Published by Orgvue   November 20, 2023

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In an unpredictable world, the ability to sustain your business’s essential functions and operations, even in the face of disruptions, is paramount.

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

Business continuity planning is the framework that ensures your organization can weather storms, both literal and metaphorical.

What is Business Continuity Planning?

At its core, business continuity planning is the process of developing a proactive strategy to ensure an organization’s critical functions and operations can continue in the face of unforeseen disruptions.

It encompasses a range of activities, from risk assessment to the creation of detailed recovery plans, with the ultimate goal of minimizing downtime and ensuring the organization’s resilience.

The Importance of Business Continuity Planning

The importance of being prepared for various external and internal factors cannot be overstated. While many businesses have a standard business plan, not all of them consider the potential disruptions caused by natural calamities, economic downturns, or other unexpected events. Business continuity planning is the key to ensuring a company’s sustained operation, regardless of the challenges it may face.

Business continuity planning goes beyond the traditional business plan. While a business plan outlines goals and strategies for growth, a continuity plan focuses on how the organization will continue to function in the face of adversity. It involves identifying potential risks and developing strategies to mitigate and recover from them. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a cyberattack or an economic recession, having a well-thought-out strategic plan is essential for business survival.

One of the most significant threats to businesses is an economic downturn, such as a recession. During these challenging times, consumer spending often decreases, and businesses may face financial instability. A recession can have a ripple effect on companies of all sizes, causing decreased revenue, layoffs, and even closures.

For a detailed look at the impact of recessions on businesses, read how to prepare for a recession , which delves into strategies for navigating these challenging economic conditions.

Business strategy planning is not just about surviving during tough times; it’s also crucial for capitalizing on periods of growth. When businesses experience an upturn, they often need to scale rapidly to meet increased demand. Having a continuity plan in place allows for a smoother transition during periods of growth, ensuring that the infrastructure, resources and workforce can adapt effectively.

The financial consequences of not having a business continuity plan can be devastating. Without a plan in place, businesses are more vulnerable to unexpected disruptions, which can result in significant financial losses. These losses may come from increased downtime, lost revenue, legal liabilities, reputational damage and the costs associated with recovery efforts.

Considerations for Business Continuity Planning

Creating a robust business continuity plan is a complex task that involves a multitude of factors. Among these considerations, three key aspects stand out: cultural differences, limited resources and alignment with business objectives. A successful business strategy plan takes these factors into account to ensure that an organization can effectively respond to disruptions while maintaining its core values and strategic direction.

1. Cultural Differences

Cultural diversity is a significant consideration in business strategy planning, especially for multinational companies or organizations with a diverse workforce. Cultural differences can influence how employees perceive and respond to crises. When developing a business continuity plan, it is important to consider the following aspects:

  • Communication Styles : Different cultures have varying communication norms and hierarchies. Understanding how employees from various cultural backgrounds communicate during a crisis can help in crafting effective crisis communication strategies.
  • Decision-Making Processes : Some cultures prioritize consensus-driven decision-making, while others lean towards hierarchical authority. A business continuity plan should acknowledge these differences and provide flexibility in decision-making approaches during disruptions.
  • Crisis Response Expectations : Cultural expectations can shape how employees expect the organization to respond to a crisis. Your business strategy plan should be sensitive to these expectations and ensure that response strategies align with cultural norms.

2. Limited Resources

For many businesses, resource constraints are a reality. When developing a business continuity plan, it’s crucial to consider the organization’s resource limitations, such as budget, personnel and technology. Here are some key considerations:

  • Resource Allocation : Prioritize critical functions and allocate resources accordingly. Not all business processes are equally important, and a business continuity plan should identify and protect the most essential ones first.
  • Efficiency and Scalability : Develop strategies that focus on efficiency and scalability. Efficient resource use is critical, and a business strategy plan should outline how to adapt to changing resource constraints during a crisis.
  • Collaboration : Collaboration with external partners, such as suppliers, can be a resource-saving strategy. Establishing relationships with partners who can provide support during disruptions is a valuable aspect.

3. Business Objectives

A business continuity plan should align with the broader business objectives to ensure that it doesn’t hinder growth or innovation. Consider the following aspects:

  • Market Expansion:  If the organization’s objective is to expand into new markets, the business strategy plan should accommodate this goal. It should address the challenges and opportunities that come with market expansion, including regulatory compliance and logistical considerations.
  • Relocation or Migration : If there are plans to relocate or migrate operations, the business continuity plan should include strategies for a seamless transition. This may involve considerations such as data migration, employee relocation and continuity of customer service.
  • Competitive Landscape : Changes in the competitive landscape, such as the emergence of new competitors, can impact the organization’s continuity. The business strategy plan should be flexible enough to adapt to shifts in the competitive environment.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adapt rapidly, with remote work becoming the norm for many, reshaping entire industries like healthcare and e-commerce.
  • The global recession of 2008 had long-lasting effects on financial institutions and prompted regulatory changes that influenced business operations.
  • The rise of the internet transformed countless businesses, from retail to media, and required adaptation to online platforms.
  • Looking ahead, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence have the potential to disrupt industries in unprecedented ways, with automation and data-driven decision-making reshaping the future of work. These events emphasize the critical importance of adaptable and comprehensive business continuity planning to navigate the unpredictable landscape of our ever-evolving world.

Developing a Strategic Business Plan

A well structured business plan serves as a roadmap for your organization, guiding actions and decisions while enabling effective response to a dynamic business environment.

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the business.
  • Review financial statements, market positioning and operational performance.
  • Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Evaluate the company’s internal resources and capabilities.
  • Analyze micro-environment factors such as competitors, customers, suppliers and regulatory changes.
  • Examine macro-environment factors like economic trends, technological advancements and political factors.
  • Use tools like PESTEL analysis and Porter’s Five Forces to assess the external business environment.
  • Clearly define short-term and long-term business objectives.
  • Make objectives specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).
  • Align objectives with the company’s mission and vision.
  • Identify key operational processes that drive business success.
  • Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of these processes.
  • Prioritize improvements in critical areas to align with strategic objectives.
  • Plan for potential risks and uncertainties that could impact the business.
  • Create contingency and crisis management strategies.
  • Establish a risk management framework to mitigate and respond to unforeseen events.
  • Implement key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress.
  • Regularly review and revise the business plan based on changing market conditions.
  • Adapt to emerging opportunities and challenges.
  • Ensure that the strategic plan is communicated effectively throughout the organization.
  • Secure buy-in and commitment from employees at all levels.
  • Ensure that all team members understand their roles in achieving the plan’s objectives.
  • Allocate resources, including finances and manpower, in alignment with the strategic priorities.
  • Develop a budget that reflects the financial requirements of the plan.
  • Monitor spending and adjust budgets as needed.
  • Develop a timeline and action plan for the execution of the strategic initiatives.
  • Assign responsibilities to specific teams or individuals.
  • Regularly review progress and make adjustments to stay on track.
  • Periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the strategic plan.
  • Solicit feedback from employees, customers and stakeholders.
  • Use feedback to make continuous improvements and refine the plan.
  • Establish a system for measuring and reporting progress.
  • Create dashboards or reports to communicate key metrics to stakeholders.
  • Ensure that performance data aligns with the defined objectives.
  • Incorporate sustainability and responsible growth practices into the plan.
  • Address social and environmental impacts as part of corporate responsibility.
  • Seek opportunities for sustainable growth and innovation.
  • Develop scenarios that explore alternative future situations.
  • Consider various outcomes and their implications on the business.
  • Prepare for different scenarios to enhance adaptability.
  • Leverage technology for data analytics, automation, and efficiency.
  • Stay updated on emerging technologies that can support the strategic plan.
  • Integrate technology solutions to enhance business processes.

Implementing a Business Continuity Plan

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

 Importance of Training and Awareness:

  • Awareness:  Create awareness about the business continuity plan across the organization to foster a culture of preparedness. This includes educating employees on the potential risks and the importance of the plan.

 Consistent Review of the Plan:

  • Conduct post-incident reviews to assess the BCP’s performance after a real event and make necessary adjustments.

 Address Cultural and Technological Issues:

  • Technological Challenges: Recognize and mitigate technological hurdles that can hinder the plan’s execution, such as infrastructure limitations or cybersecurity threats. Ensure that IT systems are resilient and can support the plan.

 Software Integration:

  • Organizational design software like Orgvue can assist in visualizing and optimizing the organizational structure, enabling efficient allocation of resources and responsibilities during a disruption.

Business continuity planning is not merely a precaution but a strategic imperative for any organization. It provides a structured approach to safeguarding business operations in the face of unforeseen disruptions, thereby minimizing downtime and potential financial losses.

By fostering a culture of preparedness, training employees, regularly reviewing and adapting the plan, addressing cultural and technological issues, and leveraging software solutions like Orgvue for organizational design, businesses can ensure their resilience and adaptability in an ever-changing landscape.

For businesses with specific 1-5 year plans, the integration of business strategy planning is paramount. It aligns seamlessly with forward-looking strategies by fortifying the organization’s ability to execute those plans in the face of unexpected events.

By weaving business continuity considerations into your strategic framework, you not only protect your investments but also demonstrate your commitment to long-term success, customer trust and stakeholder confidence. The benefits of such foresight extend far beyond mitigating risk; they empower your business to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable world. Therefore, it is recommended that businesses of all sizes prioritize and integrate business continuity planning as an integral part of their strategic vision and ongoing operations.

Business Continuity Plan FAQs

● where does business continuity planning belong in an organization.

Depending on the organization’s culture, the department your business continuity plan falls under varies. IT is usually one of the most vital components of any business strategy plan, in which case it could belong under the IT department. Or, if financial impacts are your organization’s main concern, the finance department may need to run the plan.

● Who Is Responsible For the Business Continuity Plan?

The business continuity plan usually falls under the responsibility of a dedicated role or department, often led by a Business Continuity Manager, who reports to senior leadership. This individual or team is responsible for creating, implementing, and regularly updating the plan to ensure the organization’s resilience in the face of disruptions.

● Is Business Continuity Planning a Legal Requirement?

It is not always a legal requirement, but certain industries and jurisdictions may have regulations or standards that mandate organizations to have such plans in place to ensure operational resilience and preparedness for emergencies.

● What Role Can Business Continuity Planning Play In Recovering From an Incident?

It plays a crucial role in helping organizations recover from incidents by providing a structured framework to assess, respond to and mitigate the impact of disruptions, minimizing downtime and financial losses. It outlines clear procedures and responsibilities, ensuring that essential operations can resume swiftly and efficiently, thus safeguarding the organization’s reputation and maintaining stakeholder trust.

● When Should a Business Continuity Plan Be Activated?

A business continuity plan should be activated as a preventative measure in the event a disruptive incident occurs. Triggers may include natural disasters, cyberattacks, supply chain disruptions or any event that threatens the continuity of critical business functions.

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The Bottom Line

What is a business continuity plan (bcp), and how does it work.

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

What Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)? 

A business continuity plan (BCP) is 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.

Key Takeaways

  • Business continuity plans (BCPs) are prevention and recovery systems for potential threats, such as natural disasters or cyber-attacks.
  • BCP is designed to protect personnel and assets and make sure they can function quickly when disaster strikes.
  • BCPs should be tested to ensure there are no weaknesses, which can be identified and corrected.

Understanding Business Continuity Plans (BCPs)

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. It is generally conceived in advance and involves input from key stakeholders and personnel.

Business impact analysis, recovery, organization, and training are all steps corporations need to follow when creating a Business Continuity Plan.

Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan

Businesses are prone to a host of disasters that vary in degree from minor to catastrophic. Business continuity planning is typically meant to help a company continue operating in the event of major disasters such as fires. BCPs are different from a disaster recovery plan, which focuses on the recovery of a company's information technology system after a crisis.

Consider a finance company based in a major city. It may put a BCP in place by taking steps including backing up its computer and client files offsite. If something were to happen to the company's corporate office, its satellite offices would still have access to important information.

An important point to note is that BCP may not be as effective if a large portion of the population is affected, as in the case of a disease outbreak. Nonetheless, BCPs can improve risk management—preventing disruptions from spreading. They can also help mitigate downtime of networks or technology, saving the company money.

How To Create 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.

Companies may also find it useful to come up with a checklist that includes key details such as emergency contact information, a list of resources the continuity team may need, where backup data and other required information are housed or stored, and other important personnel.

Along with testing the continuity team, the company should also test the BCP itself. It should be tested several times to ensure it can be applied to many different risk scenarios . This will help identify any weaknesses in the plan which can then be corrected.

In order for a business continuity plan to be successful, all employees—even those who aren't on the continuity team—must be aware of the plan.

Business Continuity Impact Analysis

An important part of developing a BCP is a business continuity impact analysis. It identifies the effects of disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses the information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet to help run a business continuity analysis. The worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers who are well acquainted with the business. These worksheets will summarize the following:

  • The impacts—both financial and operational—that stem from the loss of individual business functions and process
  • Identifying when the loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts

Completing the analysis can help companies identify and prioritize the processes that have the most impact on the business's financial and operational functions. The point at which they must be recovered is generally known as the “recovery time objective.”

Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan

BCPs and disaster recovery plans are similar in nature, the latter focuses on technology and information technology (IT) infrastructure. BCPs are more encompassing—focusing on the entire organization, such as customer service and supply chain. 

BCPs focus on reducing overall costs or losses, while disaster recovery plans look only at technology downtimes and related costs. Disaster recovery plans tend to involve only IT personnel—which create and manage the policy. However, BCPs tend to have more personnel trained on the potential processes. 

Why Is Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Important?

Businesses are prone to a host of disasters that vary in degree from minor to catastrophic and business continuity plans (BCPs) are an important part of any business. BCP is typically meant to help a company continue operating in the event of threats and disruptions. This could result in 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.

What Should a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Include?

Business continuity plans involve identifying any and all risks that can affect the company's operations. The plan should also determine how those risks will affect operations and implement safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks. There should also be testing procedures to ensure these safeguards and procedures work. Finally, there should be a review process to make sure that the plan is up to date.

What Is Business Continuity Impact Analysis?

An important part of developing a BCP is a business continuity impact analysis which identifies the effects of disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses the information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet to help run a business continuity analysis.

These worksheets summarize the impacts—both financial and operational—that stem from the loss of individual business functions and processes. They also identify when the loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts.

Business continuity plans (BCPs) are created to help speed up the recovery of an organization filling a threat or disaster. The plan puts in place mechanisms and functions to allow personnel and assets to minimize company downtime. BCPs cover all organizational risks should a disaster happen, such as flood or fire.  

Federal Emergency Management Agency. " Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis User Guide ." Pages 15 - 17.

Ready. “ IT Disaster Recovery Plan .”

Federal Emergency Management Agency. " Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis User Guide ." Pages 15-17.

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5 reasons why business continuity management is important

You never need a business continuity plan until you do. Here are 5 reasons you should start yours today.

Read time: 6 minutes

...updated 12/12/2023...

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.

planning meeting

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

disaster recovery planning

5 Reasons your organization needs a business continuity plan

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.

data center backup

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.

business man and woman meeting

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.

happy business woman

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.

working remotely

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.

customer support rep

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.

business meeting

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.

Our 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.

Frequently asked questions.

A business continuity plan is crucial for ensuring an organization's resilience during unexpected disruptions, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, or economic downturns. It helps maintain essential functions and minimizes downtime.

A business continuity plan typically includes risk assessments, recovery strategies, communication plans, and testing. These components help businesses prepare for and respond to emergencies effectively, minimizing the impact on operations.

To assess your needs, identify critical functions, potential risks, and the resources required for recovery. A tailored plan should address your organization's unique vulnerabilities and objectives.

While a business continuity plan can significantly improve an organization's chances of survival, it does not guarantee it. Common challenges include resource constraints, resistance to change, and the need for regular updates to stay effective.

A business continuity plan should be reviewed at least annually or after significant changes to business operations, technology, or personnel. External events, such as major industry shifts, emerging threats, or regulatory updates, can also trigger revisions to ensure the plan remains relevant and effective.

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The Backbone of Resilient Organizations: Demystifying Business Continuity

What is business continuity.

No matter what business you’re in, unexpected disruptions can happen. Outages, natural disasters, supply chain failures, cyber incidents, equipment failures, and other physical and technical issues can all disrupt your ability to function and thrive.

To ensure your business is ready for unexpected events, you need to know what to do when things go wrong—and this is where business continuity comes in. Read on to learn more about business continuity, including disaster recovery, and what to include in your business continuity plan. Also, find out about business continuity management and business continuity solutions.

What is business continuity and why is it important?

Business continuity is an organization’s readiness to continue functioning during times of disruption. Business continuity is important because it reduces the potential impact of a disruption on customers, employees, and partners.

Having a business continuity plan (BCP)—which includes the analysis, technology, documentation, training, key team members, and procedures involved in resolving potential crisis situations—is vital for ensuring business continuity. A BCP includes goals focused on minimizing the potential impact of a crisis on a company’s financials and reputation—and maintaining industry, regional, and global compliance standards and regulations.

What’s the difference between business continuity and disaster recovery?

While business continuity and disaster recovery are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing.

Disaster recovery is a key part of a business continuity plan and is focused specifically on systems, data, and IT infrastructures. It includes technology, strategies, and processes for saving, restoring, and recovering data and protecting against cyber threats.

For a BCP to be successful in reducing downtime, mitigating risks, and remediating issues like data loss and corruption, disaster recovery measures are crucial. While both involve processes, people, and technology, business continuity offers a much wider scope to encompass the steps necessary for maintaining operations across every part of a business.

What should be included in a business continuity plan?

There are three components of a business continuity plan to consider:

  • Resilience—developing business functions and infrastructures to be prepared for an unexpected situation.
  • Recovery—setting up backup and recovery solutions for your applications, systems, and networks; determining what systems should be prioritized in the event of a disaster; and choosing a third-party vendor for additional help and resources if necessary.
  • Contingency—creating steps for what to do if a disruption occurs. This includes setting up a chain of command with key people and defining their responsibilities when it comes to communication, technology, third-party contracting, and coordinating temporary spaces. Keep these in mind at every step in the planning process to help ensure your BCP covers the full scope of your business.

With these three key components in mind, take the following steps to start building your business continuity plan:

  • Run a business impact analysis (BIA), which examines your current business functions, processes, and technology. An analysis will uncover potential vulnerabilities, risks, and threats you might encounter. Doing so helps identify areas of improvement and what to prioritize. After an analysis, you may consider making additional technology investments as well.
  • Outline and assign responsibilities for who will delegate, act, and support in the event of a crisis. These individuals will execute any necessary steps, be points of contact, gather resources, and guide efforts to minimize downtime for affected business functions.
  • Determine alternative forms of communication in case your standard means of communication are impacted by an outage or downtime.
  • Prepare backup equipment in case of damage or outages to prevent business-critical functions from stopping.
  • Understand and follow business continuity standards, which are legal and regulatory requirements determined for an industry. These are helpful when determining what steps you need to take in scenarios such as a breach or data loss. Creating a plan isn’t the last step—to make business continuity an important part of your organization, you also need business continuity management.

What is business continuity management?

Business continuity management includes the processes you put in place to set up and maintain your business continuity plan. It should include the following:

  • Creating policies that define the scope, objectives, and principles of business continuity. These should always keep the customer in mind to ensure you’ve documented what business-critical functions may impact customers and who is involved in customer service communication in the event of an outage or disruption.
  • Assembling business continuity teams throughout your organization who can communicate and enforce policies and procedures that are put in place. These employees will take part in ongoing reviews and tests to make sure everything and everyone is properly prepared for an incident.
  • Supporting a culture of business continuity by educating your entire organization about risks, policies, and documentation available. Offering ongoing training is an important way to increase awareness and gather data to see if there are any gaps or areas in need of improvement.
  • Maintaining up-to-date compliance standards and best practices to make sure your processes, workflows, and employees all work within the correct industry standards as they relate to data. If a business doesn’t keep up and an unexpected disruption occurs, there’s the risk of increased financial damages, legal costs, and fines.

Keeping track of all the continuously developing parts of a business continuity plan can be daunting for a growing organization. To reduce the time and effort involved, many businesses invest in business continuity solutions.

What kind of business continuity solutions should I consider?

The business continuity solutions you choose should be based on your organization’s needs. Depending on the industry you’re in, the size of your company, and your business-critical functions, you’ll find a range of software and resources available. These options include:

  • Cloud-based storage solutions, which provide a secure, remote location to back up and run workflows and applications, as well as store data. If there’s a breach or error causing data loss, you can access what you need from the cloud.
  • Backup and recovery tools for making copies of the data, applications, and systems within your IT infrastructure. If anything is deleted, corrupted, or shut down during a disruption, you can restore them and minimize downtime. These solutions offer different options for running backups, including automatically on a schedule, instantly, or as needed.
  • Virtualization tools that replicate environments and workspaces. If there’s an outage or device issues, employees can still access their applications and run processes as normal, reducing downtime that may affect services.
  • Contracts with third-party providers, such as disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) and backup-as-a-service. Based on your agreement, a provider can run data backups, host your IT infrastructure, and offer support in the event of a disaster. These services are typically offered with a subscription or a pay-as-you-use model and include support from IT and cybersecurity experts.
  • Unified communication tools to support collaboration across your entire organization. With one platform for connecting frontline workers, customer service agents, and other key members of your continuity teams, it’s easier to keep everyone up to date on disruptions and manage shifts and schedules to make sure the right people are available.

Business continuity should be a priority for any growing business looking to ensure the safety and security of their employees, technology, and data. To support the planning process, there are several solutions available to make business continuity planning easier. Though you can’t predict or prevent every disruption, with the right tools, a solid plan, and an educated team, business continuity can save you time, money, and resources across your organization.

Learn more • Developing your business continuity plan • Business continuity and disaster recovery

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Business Continuity Simplified

By Andy Marker | December 17, 2018 (updated October 24, 2021)

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Unexpected work interruptions can cripple a business and cause millions of dollars in expenses and lost business. Learn about the importance of business continuity planning and management from experts. 

In this article, you’ll learn the definition of a business continuity plan and the primary goal of business continuity planning . Additionally, you’ll learn the steps involved in business continuity planning and about the business continuity lifecycle .

What Is Business Continuity Management?

In business continuity management (BCM) , a company identifies potential threats to its activities and the threat impact. The company then develops plans to respond to those threats and continue activities through any crisis.

What Is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) describes how a business will continue to run during and after a crisis event. The BCP details guidelines, procedures, and work instructions to aid continuity.

To learn more about writing a plan, see our how-to guide to writing a business continuity plan .

What Is Business Continuity Planning?

Business continuity planning (BCP) refers to the work a company does to create a plan and system to deal with risks. Thorough planning seeks to prevent problems and ensure business processes continue during and after a crisis.

Business continuity planning ensures that the company deals with disruptions quickly, and minimizes the impact on operations. Business continuity planning is also called business resumption planning and continuous service delivery assurance (CSDA) .

What Is the Primary Goal of Business Continuity Planning?

The main goal of business continuity planning is to support key company activities during a crisis. Planning ensures a company can run with limited resources or restricted access to buildings. Continuity planning also aims to minimize revenue or reputation losses.   

A business continuity plan should outline several key things that an organization needs to do to prepare for potential disruptions to its activities, including the following:

  • Recognize potential threats to a company.
  • Assess potential impacts on the company’s daily activities.
  • Provide a way to reduce these potential problems, and establish a structure that allows key company functions to continue throughout and after the event.
  • Identify the resources the organization needs to continue operating, such as staffing, equipment, and alternative locations.

Business Continuity Planning Steps

A business continuity plan includes guidelines and procedures to guide a business through disruption. The efforts to create a plan are the same for large or small organizations. A simple plan is better than no plan. 

The basic steps for writing a business continuity plan are as follows:

  • Create a governance team.
  • Complete your business impact analysis (BIA) and risk assessment documents.
  • Document your plan. Remember to include detailed guidelines and procedures that cover key processes and facilities.
  • Test and update the plan regularly.

The Business Continuity Management Lifecycle

Business continuity management includes preparing for and handling unexpected events. BCM has a six-step lifecycle. This cycle repeats during both in regular business times and crises, as you take the right steps to keep activities always running.

The BCM lifecycle includes the following points:

  • Mitigate Risk: Proactively identify business continuity risks to your company, and plan how your company will respond.
  • Prepare: Train staff on your business continuity plan and ensure they understand what they need to do to help the business respond.
  • Respond: Ensure that your company and all employees respond appropriately to a crisis. Be prepared to adapt in the moment.
  • Resolve: Ensure that the company plans how to communicate effectively with staff and that it does so appropriately during the crisis.
  • Recover: Inform employees, customers, and other important people about the status of the crisis and your company’s response.
  • Resume: Communicate with employees and others after the crisis ends.

What Are Business Continuity Risks or Events?

Also called business continuity events, business continuity risks are the most common events that can disrupt a company’s regular operations — these can be natural and human-made crises. Defining these risks is a vital part of business continuity planning.

Such events might include the following:

  • Severe weather
  • Natural disasters (tornadoes, floods, blizzards, earthquakes, fire, etc.)
  • A physical security threat
  • A recall of a company’s product
  • Supply chain problems
  • Threats to staffing and employee safety
  • Accidents at an organization’s facilities
  • Destruction to a company’s facilities or property
  • Power disruptions
  • Server crashes
  • Failures in public and private services (communications, transportation, safety, etc.)
  • Environmental disasters, including hazardous materials spills
  • Network disruptions
  • Human error/human-made hazards
  • Stock market crashes
  • Cyber attacks and hacker activity

Any of these triggers can result in broader problems for a company, such as danger or injury to staff and others, equipment damages, brand injury, and loss of income and net worth. Business continuity management and planning address and mitigate these contingencies.

What Is a Business Continuity Strategy?

A business continuity strategy is more often called a business continuity plan. The strategy includes the processes and structure a company uses to manage an unexpected event.

Some people consider business continuity strategy to be a step in the planning process. In the strategy phase, business continuity planners describe the overall approach a company should take to prevent, manage, and recover from a crisis.

An Overview of Business Continuity Management and Planning

There are several goals, key elements, and benefits to business continuity management and planning. The primary goals of management and planning are as follows:

  • Build Company Resiliency: Doing so means that your company’s tools, buildings, and operations are resistant to — and not greatly affected by — most disruptions.
  • Create a Plan for Recovery (with Contingencies that Aid in That Recovery): If a major event does cause problems, you should have a plan for how to recover quickly. That plan will include contingencies. For example, you should plan for how key operations will resume if there is a widespread power outage.

Business continuity management and planning generally cover the following areas, with differences depending on the organization and industry:

  • Disaster Recovery: Disaster recovery involves recovering technology after a disruptive event. You can learn more about disaster recovery and download free templates in our comprehensive article .
  • Emergency Management: Emergency management focuses on avoiding and mitigating catastrophic risks to staff and communities.
  • Business Recovery: Considered part of business continuity, business recovery centers on short-term activities after a disruptive incident. The short-term is sometimes defined as less than 60 days.
  • Business Resumption: This describes the longterm phase of recovery (60 or more days after an even), wherein the company returns to near-normal conditions.
  • Crisis Management: Crisis management focuses on communicating with stakeholders during and after a crisis, and controlling damage during the event. To learn more, read our comprehensive guide to crisis management .
  • Incident Management: Incident management is an ITIL (previously known as Information Technology Infrastructure Library) framework for reducing or eliminating downtime after an incident.
  • Contingency Planning: This covers outlier risks that are unlikely to occur but which could have disastrous results.

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

“A well managed business continuity management program will help protect people, assets, and business processes,” says Scott Owens, founder and managing director of BluTinuity , a business continuity firm based in New Berlin, Wisconsin. “It may not be able to prevent all incidents. But it can reduce the likelihood of incidents, decrease response time, and lower the cost and impact of an incident.”

Key Elements of Business Continuity Management

All business continuity management programs should include a number of key elements, which serve to ensure that your plan is positioned for success and that you regularly update and improve it.   

These important elements include the following:

  • Governance: This is the structure and team your business sets up to create and monitor the program.
  • Business Alignment: This section details how your company’s current business continuity management and planning processes compare to expert approaches and industry standards.
  • Continuity Strategy and Recovery Strategies: Include a detailed plan that assesses risks to your organization and how you can recover, should those risks become reality.
  • Plan Documentation: Provide details on the plan that everyone in your company can access. To get started, see our roundup of free business continuity plan templates .
  • Tactical Implementation: This section includes details on the specific ways your company plans to recover from certain types of incidents.
  • Training: In this section, detail how you will train your staff to understand the business continuity plan and their role in it.
  • Testing: Include real-world simulations of a crisis event, and test how your company and its employees respond and the effectiveness of your business continuity plans.
  • Maintenance: Make changes to the plan where necessary to increase its effectiveness.
  • Monitoring: This section details how you will continue to compare industry standards and expert advice to how your plan is working.

To learn about formal requirements for business continuity planning and management, see our comprehensive article on the ISO 22301 standard . 

The Costs of Business Continuity Management

The costs to do an appropriate job of business continuity management can be significant. However, some reports say that the cost of unforeseen downtime may be as much as $2.5 billion a year for Fortune 1000 companies.

Kurt Engemann, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Business Continuity and Risk Management at Iona College in New York, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management and author of Business Continuity and Risk Management: Essentials of Organizational Resilience . In the book, he says that costs for business continuity preparation do not only include the groundwork to assess a company’s risks and plans to manage those risks. Rather, they also cover the needed backup facilities and equipment and company assets for emergency response. In addition, costs must cover resources for training employees and testing the plan.

Some experts have estimated that business continuity management and planning within only the crucial information technology aspects of companies can cost two to four percent of the information technology budget. But the costs are necessary, and worth it in the long run, according to business continuity experts.

“There is an initial outlay of a modest amount of money that will lessen the financial impact of a possible future crisis,” Engemann writes in his book. “Similar to an insurance policy, the financial benefit of BCM must be viewed from a long-term prospective.”

When an organization’s top executives complain about the costs, Owens says, “Ask them what it would cost their organization for an hour of downtime. Or eight hours. Or 24 hours. Chances are the cost — financial, operational, and to brand and reputation — of having key business functions unavailable for an extended period are significant. They will most likely find business continuity management to be worth the investment.” 

Benefits of Business Continuity Management

Like Engemann, Owens points out that there are significant benefits to the investment organizations make in business continuity management, including the following:

  • Mission Critical Processes: If you understand your key processes, you can plan to protect them and prioritize their recovery.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Laws or regulations require companies in some industries to implement a formal business continuity management system.
  • Satisfying Demands from Other Organizations: Some groups and companies may require that your company sets up BCM before they do business with you.
  • Insurance Payments: To get the maximum payments from an insurance policy after an event, a company must have suitable business continuity management policies in place.
  • Reputation Management: Your business’s brand will be greatly helped or hurt, depending on how an unforeseen event affects its operations.
  • Competitive Advantage: A strong business continuity plan can offer your company the advantage over peers who are not as well prepared.
  • Seamless Recovery: Cloud-based technologies make data backup, remote work, and business recovery affordable and accessible. Groups and businesses of all sizes can benefit from such tools. See our article on cloud computing for business continuity to learn more.
  • Time Savings: Planning prevents teams from scrambling at the last minute to cobble together a recovery effort. Strong planning helps you get back online — and back on track — faster.

Michael Herrera, CEO of MHA Consulting , a business continuity and disaster recovery firm, cites two other significant benefits: 

  • Keeping Customers and Avoiding Major Financial Losses: Getting operations back to normal quickly after an event means your company loses less money.

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

“Your customers aren’t as patient as you think they are,” Herrera explains. “They expect you to have a business continuity system and they expect you to be up and running. Their patience does run out.”

  • Improving Day-to-Day Operations: Herrera says his firm’s clients often discover how business continuity planning gives them insights into the day-to-day operations of their company. “It really can help you with process improvement and getting a good understanding of what your business does every day.”

Additionally, strong business continuity planning will enable you to do the following:

  • Officially declare a disaster and alert senior management.
  • Assist in the development of an official public statement regarding a disaster and its effects on a business.
  • Monitor your business’s progress and present the recovery status.
  • Provide ongoing support and guidance to teams with pre-planned operations.
  • Review critical processing, schedules, and backlogs to keep everyone up to date on status.
  • Ensure businesses have both the resources and the information to deal with an unforeseen emergency.
  • Reduce the risk that an emergency might pose to employees, clients, and vendors, etc.
  • Provide a response for both man-made and environmental disasters.
  • Improve overall business communication and response plans.
  • Summarize both the operational and the financial impacts resulting from the loss of critical business functions.
  • Allow businesses to plan for a loss of function that has potentially larger, more severe consequences.

See our article on the importance and benefits of business continuity planning to read more expert examples of how business continuity can bolster your company. 

Key Business Continuity Management and Planning Considerations

Companies don’t have to face business continuity planning alone. There are a variety of tools and services that can help, including the following:

Consultant Services

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of consultants and companies that can provide help with developing your business continuity plan. Below are a few things to think about in choosing one:

  • How experienced are they? How long have they been around?
  • What’s their reputation as a company? What do their clients say about them?
  • Are they focused on a specific industry or area of business continuity, or do they have experience with a range of industries and a broad spectrum of business continuity?
  • How do they think about business continuity (as a somewhat separate practice or something that needs to be ingrained within your organization)?
  • How aligned is their advice with standards in your industry?

Business Continuity Software

There are also hundreds of pieces of business continuity software on the market. Here are some things to consider:

  • Are you looking for software that will automate the development of plan components, or software that offers more in-depth help during the planning phase?
  • What is the history of the software and the company behind it? How long has this particular software been on the market and what is the history and the reputation of the company behind it?
  • Is the software being continually updated and improved?

Below are some specifics to consider as you test drive the software:

  • Does it have an easy-to-use interface?
  • Does it cover all aspects and components of business continuity, including business impact analysis and risk assessment ?
  • Does it include sufficient storage for your company’s supporting documents?
  • Does it provide secure portable access via mobile or other technologies, if a crisis interrupts your information technology systems?
  • Does it provide strong data analytics?
  • Is it secure and private?

Primary Things Your Organization’s Business Continuity Management System Should Accomplish

While your business continuity management system will have various elements and details, there are some primary things it should do for your organization. They correspond to the key elements listed earlier in this article. 

For example, a BCM system should help do the following: 

  • Understand your company’s needs for business continuity and disaster preparedness. A BCM system should be able to assist company leaders in understanding the need for a business continuity management policy.
  • Understand which processes should be recovered and in what order.
  • Establish business continuity metrics to gauge success.
  • Plan for communicating with customers, staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Determine what tools, technology, and staffing are required to restore activities and support customers.
  • Establish remote-work support or relocation plans for staff and activities.
  • Implement ways to continually assess and manage continuity risks.
  • Monitor and review how its business continuity management system is working.
  • Continually improve the system.
  • Respond effectively in a real-world crisis, and allow the business’s critical operations to continue and all operations to resume quickly.

Although nobody wants to think about disasters or the effort needed to prepare to meet and mitigate crises, the alternative is the potential loss of reputation, income, or the entire business. In sum, planning translates to determining your key processes, equipment, and tools, and applying basic recovery strategies. 

The Importance of Senior Organizational Leaders Strongly Supporting Your Business Continuity Management and Planning

Your senior leaders must strongly support your company’s business continuity management plan for it to succeed. Such leadership is key as storms, floods, pandemics, and data breaches increase in force and frequency.

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

“Make sure senior management is committed to the planning, development, execution, and implementation of a business continuity/disaster recovery program,” says Paul Kirvan , a business continuity consultant and a fellow of the Business Continuity Institute with 25 years of experience in business continuity work. “Otherwise, it simply won’t happen. Such programs work best if they have top-down support and funding, as opposed to being developed from the ground up.”

Business Continuity Plan Test Types

Testing verifies the effectiveness of your plan and provides training for participants. To ensure better communication, include suppliers, vendors, and other stakeholders in exercises. If appropriate, also consider including local emergency preparedness officials.  

There are four types of testing, and each requires increasing levels of planning, resources, and focus. You should try to run each type of drill regularly.

  • Plan Review: Plan reviews are often the first test applied to a new plan. In this test, top management and some key BCP personnel review the relevance and completeness of a plan. Such a review can verify risk and BIA results, and help you check for gaps and inconsistencies among continuity documents.
  • Tabletop or Structured Walkthrough: A tabletop test requires more preparation and time. It provides a role-playing exercise for recovery teams.
  • Simulation or Walkthrough Drill: In a walkthrough drill, your continuity team physically completes the type of tasks they'd find in a crisis. They may practice evacuating a building during a fire, restoring a backup, or switching to another communication frequency.
  • Functional or Live Scenario: Functional tests include a complete physical drill of continuity plans. Live tests may focus on one aspect of the plan or include the complete plan. They may include one part of the company or all team members.

Be sure to document what happened in the test so everyone involved in the exercise — and especially those who created the plan — can understand what did and didn’t go well, and can revise as necessary.

Business Continuity Management Policy Statement

A business continuity policy statement is a written document that outlines an organization’s business continuity management program. The policy statement should be communicated to all employees and should be signed and endorsed by the organization’s senior management.

See real-world examples of a business continuity policy statement .

Cultivating Awareness of Business Continuity Plans

The best business continuity system is useless if no one knows about it. Find ways to promote your plans in daily company activities, and discuss business continuity regularly in company and team meetings. Also, be sure to include the business continuity manager in cross-functional planning meetings so they can represent the business continuity perspective. Above all, exercise your plan, test your plan, and then test again.

What Is the Importance of a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan is vital to ensure that your company mitigates downtime during a crisis. Resuming activities quickly after an event also helps ensure your company’s financial health.

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan

It is crucial that your company set up a group of people to help create your business continuity plan. The group should include senior leadership, experts, and staff. A simple, practical plan is the best plan. At a minimum, include continuity team roles and duties, and team member contact information. You should also add guidelines and checklists for dealing with unforeseen events. 

Daily business functions rely on many resources — human, utilities, machines, and even paper, pens, and pencils. Business recovery after a disruptive event is no different. See our in-depth article on writing a business continuity plan for a complete list of resource types you may want to include in a plan.

You can ask certain questions as you form your strategy, and a business continuity plan usually includes common resources and elements. See our article on how to write a business continuity plan to learn more.

Business Continuity Plan Template

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

This template can help you document and track business operations in the event of a disruption/disaster to maintain critical processes. The plan includes space to record business function recovery priorities, recovery plans, and alternate site locations. Plan efficiently for disruption and minimize downtime, so your business maintains optimal efficiency.

Download Business Continuity Plan Template

Word | PowerPoint | PDF

You’ll find other most useful free, downloadable business continuity plan (BCP) templates, in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF formats in this article . 

What Is a Business Impact Analysis and Why Is It an Important Part of a Business Continuity Plan?

A business impact analysis (BIA) is one of the most important parts of business continuity planning. The analysis considers how an unforeseen disruption could affect a company. BIA results also suggest how a business can recover from a crisis.

The business impact analysis will include details on the following:

  • Recovery time objectives that outline the organization’s goals relating to how quickly various services and processes will resume after an event
  • Financial impact of an incident
  • Impact on customers
  • Other possible impacts of an incident
  • How the organization will prioritize recovery steps
  • How the organization will prioritize critical services or products
  • Identification of potential revenue loss
  • Identification of additional expenses the organization will incur because of the event
  • Identification of insurance an organization has or needs to have
  • Identification of an organization’s dependencies on other agencies, companies, and providers

See our business impact analysis toolkit to find guidelines and templates to get started.

Risk Mitigation for Business Continuity

Risk assessment is one of the first steps in preparing your business continuity plan. 

Risk management includes identifying and ranking risks, and risk control includes identifying policies and procedures to avoid and contain risks. 

To learn more about risk management , read our comprehensive guide.

The Importance of Periodically Testing an Organization’s Business Continuity Plan

Even the best business continuity plans are useless if you do not continually test them in real-world mockups. Testing helps you continuously improve procedures, and also keeps plans synched with current business context.

Robert Sollars, a security trainer and consultant from Mesa, Arizona, says, “You must exercise your plan and train your employees in it. This can be costly and unwieldy at times, but it is an absolute must. I liken this to buying a Lamborghini and letting it sit in the garage, never starting it up, never driving it, never doing anything but admiring it. Your plan must be taken out and test driven at least two to three times per year. If you don’t test it, then when the real thing pops you will realize what the books, consultants, and experts have told you is useless for your organization. Testing it allows you to figure out the bugs and tweak the necessary items to make it more efficient and effective.”

Owens adds, “If you haven’t tested your plans, you aren’t ready for a disaster.”

You can do some testing through simpler table top exercises — for example, by talking through hypothetical incidents with your team. But Owens and other business continuity experts say organizations should also periodically do exercises that more closely mimic a real-world event.

“Organizations need to move … to progressively more complex scenarios, involving cross-functional teams and interdependent systems and processes,” he writes in a blog post about business continuity. “This is the only way that a company can get outside its comfort zone to truly understand if what they have designed will really work. My preference is to involve role-playing, actors, and include participation from vendors, business partners, and local law enforcement when appropriate. This will almost always result in lessons learned and opportunities to improve the plan, which is another great outcome.”

The most important result from testing your plan is an understanding of where theoretical solutions won’t work in real events. This understanding will then allow your organization to amend the plan to be more effective.

What Is a Business Continuity Plan Governance Committee?

Many companies set up a business continuity plan governance committee, which consists of staff members and senior leaders (their continuity efforts is vital). Governance tasks include writing the business continuity plan and supervising ongoing plan maintenance.  

The committee is often responsible for the following duties:

  • Approving the governance structure of the committee
  • Clarifying the roles of committee members and others working on the plan
  • Overseeing the creation of working groups to develop and implement the plan
  • Providing overall direction and communicate important information to employees
  • Approving the continuity plan and essential specifics within it
  • Setting priorities within the plan

The committee often includes the following members:

  • A senior leader from the business, often the sponsor
  • A business continuity manager and assistant manager
  • The company employee, or outside consultant, who will serve as overall coordinator of the business continuity plan
  • The company’s security officer
  • The company’s chief information officer, or information technology leader
  • Representatives from the company’s business department, to help with the business impact analysis
  • An administrative representative

How to Cultivate Resilience in Your Organization

A resilient organization has the tools and abilities to survive a disruptive event, and also regularly looks for new threats and adapts to changes in the organizational and industry landscape. Resilience experts recognize two types of resilience: reactive resilience uses a company’s existing processes to meet and overcome a crisis; proactive resilience anticipates disruptions and considers methods to prevent problems.  

Real World Example: Lessons Learned About Business Continuity from the Terrorist Attacks of Sept. 11, 2001

Organizational leaders and business continuity experts learned a lot from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Worst of all, the attacks killed thousands of people. But they also severely disrupted communications, financial transactions, and some commerce in New York City and throughout the world.

The following are among the lessons learned:

  • Business continuity plans must be tested frequently, and updated where needed.
  • The plans must assume a wide range of threats.
  • The plans must take into account how much companies, agencies, and other entities depend on each other.
  • Key people from any organization must be available and reachable when an incident happens.
  • The ability to communicate, especially through landline phones, cell phones, and the internet, is vital.
  • Sites that organizations use for backup of their digital information should be located at a distance from their primary information technology site.
  • Employee support and counseling may be important during and after a crisis.
  • An organization should store copies of its business continuity plan at a location apart from its primary location.
  • Security perimeters around the scene of an incident may be large, which may affect employees’ access to organization facilities for long periods.

Legislation Governing Some Business Continuity Management and Planning

The United Kingdom did approved the Civil Contingencies Act in 2004, which requires businesses to have business continuity plans in place.

Some industries do have regulatory bodies that may impose business continuity requirements within those industries. For instance, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a private self-regulatory organization overseeing the U.S. financial securities industry. FINRA established FINRA Rule 4370. This rule requires securities firms to create and maintain written business continuity plans. Utility bodies, such as North American Electric Reliability Corporation ( NERC ) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ( FERC ), also require continuity plans.

Guidelines, Standards, and Resources Providing Guidance on Business Continuity Management and Planning

Organizational leaders can use a number of standards set by industry and other groups to guide their business continuity planning and management programs. Below are some commonly used standards:

  • ISO 22301 : Developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a standard-setting body, this group of standards sets out appropriate business continuity management practices. Learn more about how this standard can help businesses of all sizes in our guide to ISO 22301 . 
  • NFPA 1600 : Developed by the National Fire Protection Association, the standard is one of the most widely recognized in the U.S. on emergency preparedness and business continuity.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology SP 800-34 : Sets contingency planning standards for federal information systems in the U.S.
  • SPC-2009 — Organizational Resilience : Security, Preparedness and Continuity Management Systems provides critical business and infrastructure security standards developed by the American Society for Industrial Security.
  • ISO 27000 : Standards for security in information technology systems, which include standards for business continuity in information technology. Learn more about ISO 27000 and find free checklists and templates . 
  • DRI International : Professional Practices for Business Continuity Management
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Continuity Guidance Circular: Continuity Guidance for Non-Federal Entities: An 86-page formal document, the circular presents FEMA’s perspective on how businesses can prepare for disasters.
  • Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: Open for Business Continuity Toolkit: This site offers a video, FAQ, and downloadable continuity planning tools.

What Is the Business Continuity Institute?

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI), based in the United Kingdom, is a non-profit professional organization providing education, certification, and leadership on business continuity management. The Institute has more than 8,000 members in more than 100 countries.

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What Is A Business Continuity Plan? [+ Template & Examples]

Swetha Amaresan

Published: December 30, 2022

When a business crisis occurs, the last thing you want to do is panic.

executives discussing business continuity plan

The second-to-last thing you want to do is be unprepared. Crises typically arise without warning. While you shouldn't start every day expecting the worst, you should be relatively prepared for anything to happen.

A business crisis can cost your company a lot of money and ruin your reputation if you don't have a business continuity plan in place. Customers aren't very forgiving, especially when a crisis is influenced by accidents within the company or other preventable mistakes. If you want your company to be able to maintain its business continuity in the face of a crisis, then you'll need to come up with this type of plan to uphold its essential functions.

Free Download: Crisis Management Plan & Communication Templates

In this post, we'll explain what a business continuity plan is, give examples of scenarios that would require a business continuity plan, and provide a template that you can use to create a well-rounded program for your business.

Table of Contents:

What is a business continuity plan?

  • Business Continuity Types
  • Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery

Business Continuity Plan Template

How to write a business continuity plan.

  • Business Continuity Examples

A business continuity plan outlines directions and procedures that your company will follow when faced with a crisis. These plans include business procedures, names of assets and partners, human resource functions, and other helpful information that can help maintain your brand's relationships with relevant stakeholders. The goal of a business continuity plan is to handle anything from minor disruptions to full-blown threats.

For example, one crisis that your business may have to respond to is a severe snowstorm. Your team may be wondering, "If a snowstorm disrupted our supply chain, how would we resume business?" Planning contingencies ahead of time for situations like these can help your business stay afloat when you're faced with an unavoidable crisis.

When you think about business continuity in terms of the essential functions your business requires to operate, you can begin to mitigate and plan for specific risks within those functions.

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

Crisis Communication and Management Kit

Manage, plan for, and communicate during your corporate crises with these crisis management plan templates.

  • Free Crisis Management Plan Template
  • 12 Crisis Communication Templates
  • Post-Crisis Performance Grading Template
  • Additional Crisis Best Management Practices

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Business Continuity Planning

Business continuity planning is the process of creating a plan to address a crisis. When writing out a business continuity plan, it's important to consider the variety of crises that could potentially affect the company and prepare a resolution for each.

Business Continuity Plan

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Understanding the Essentials of a Business Continuity Plan

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In the face of unforeseen disruptions, a robust business continuity plan (BCP) is essential to preserve the trust of stakeholders. If you are able to seamlessly continue operations even in the face of sudden challenges, stakeholders are reassured of the company’s resilience and commitment to their interests.

In this blog post, we offer a comprehensive guide to business continuity planning, how it can benefit organizations and share key insights into Developing and Maintaining an Effective business continuity plan.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is an essential blueprint that outlines how a company will continue operating during an unplanned disruption in service. It’s more than just a reactive strategy; it’s a proactive measure to ensure that critical business functions can continue during and after a crisis. The purpose of a BCP is to provide a systematic approach to mitigate the potential impact of disruptions and maintain business operations at an acceptable predefined level.

The role of a BCP is crucial in maintaining operations during unforeseen events such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or any other incident that could interrupt business processes. By having a well-structured business continuity plan, organizations can:

  • Minimize downtime and ensure that essential functions remain operational
  • Protect the integrity of data and IT infrastructure
  • Maintain customer service and preserve stakeholder trust

Why is a Business Continuity Plan Important

Immediate Response : A BCP ensures that there is a predefined action plan, minimizing downtime and demonstrating control over the situation.

Transparent Communication : Keeping stakeholders informed during a crisis promotes transparency and maintains confidence in the company’s management.

Inclusive Planning : Involve stakeholders in the business continuity plan development process. Their insights can enhance the plan’s effectiveness and ensure their needs are addressed.

Consistency in Service : By prioritizing critical operations, a BCP helps maintain the quality and consistency of services or products, which is important for customer retention.

The absence of a business continuity plan can lead to a domino effect of negative outcomes, including a tarnished reputation and the potential loss of future business. Stakeholders remember how a company responds in a crisis, and a well-executed BCP can be the difference between a temporary setback and a long-term impact on the company’s image and relationships.

Elements of a Business Continuity Plan

When exploring various business continuity plan examples, certain common elements emerge as critical for their effectiveness. These elements serve as the backbone for a robust BCP plan, ensuring that businesses can maintain operations and protect their reputation during unforeseen events. Here are some of the key components found in successful BCP examples:

Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis : Identifying potential threats and assessing their impact on business operations is a foundational step in any BCP plan.

Crisis Communication Plan : A clear communication strategy is essential to manage stakeholder expectations and maintain trust.

Recovery Strategies : Detailed procedures for restoring business functions and services post-disruption are indispensable.

Employee Training and Awareness : Ensuring staff are well-prepared and knowledgeable about the BCP plan is crucial for its successful implementation.

Case studies of successful BCP implementations often highlight how these elements are tailored to fit specific business models and industries. For instance, a financial institution may focus heavily on data security and regulatory compliance within their BCP, while a manufacturing business might prioritize supply chain alternatives and on-site safety protocols. Regular testing and adjustment of these plans are also a common thread, underscoring the importance of adaptability and continuous improvement in business continuity planning.

Business Continuity Plan Toolkit

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Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery

It’s important to distinguish between a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan. While both are vital, a BCP is broader and focuses on the continuity of the entire business, whereas a disaster recovery plan is more technical and concentrates on the recovery of specific operations, such as IT services. Understanding these differences helps organizations allocate resources effectively and ensures comprehensive preparedness for any type of disruption. Understanding when to activate a business continuity plan (BCP) versus a disaster recovery plan is crucial for maintaining operational resilience.

To ensure a comprehensive crisis management strategy, consider the following integration points:

Pre-emptive Planning : Establish clear triggers for when each plan is activated. For instance, a BCP might be initiated in the face of a supply chain disruption, while disaster recovery would come into play during a data breach or server failure.

Unified Communication : Both plans should have a coordinated communication strategy to inform stakeholders and employees about the status and steps being taken.

Regular Testing : Conduct joint drills that test both the BCP and disaster recovery plans to identify any gaps or overlaps in procedures.

Continuous Improvement : Use insights from drills and actual incidents to refine both plans, ensuring they evolve with the changing business landscape and technological advancements.

By integrating both plans, organizations can navigate crises with agility and confidence, minimizing downtime and protecting their reputation. Tools like Creately, with features such as real-time collaboration and visual project management, can help create and maintain these critical plans, ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page and ready to act when necessary.

Crisis Communication Strategies within Business Continuity Planning

A business continuity plan (BCP) is not just about responding to the crisis at hand, but also about how you communicate during the disruptions and the decisions you make. Here are some best practices to ensure your crisis communication and decision-making processes effective:

Clear Communication Channels : Establish predefined channels for internal and external communication. This ensures that messages are consistent and reach all stakeholders promptly.

Designated Spokespersons : Identify individuals who are authorized to speak on behalf of the company during a crisis. This helps maintain a unified voice and message.

Factual Updates : Provide regular, factual updates to keep stakeholders informed. Avoid speculation and commit to transparency.

Decision-Making Protocols : Implement decision-making protocols that are clear and allow for swift action. This includes having a chain of command and predefined criteria for making critical decisions.

Training and Simulations : Regularly train your crisis management team and conduct simulations to prepare for potential scenarios. This ensures that when a crisis does occur, your team is ready to act effectively.

By integrating these best practices into your BCP plan, you can maintain control during a crisis, make informed decisions, and communicate effectively with all parties involved. Remember, the goal is to protect your company’s operations, reputation, and stakeholder relationships during unexpected events.

Utilizing Business Continuity Plan Templates and Tools

When it comes to developing a robust business continuity plan (BCP), leveraging templates can offer a significant head start. These templates serve as a foundational framework that can be customized to align with the specific requirements of your business. Here’s why using BCP templates is advantageous:

Efficiency in Development : BCP templates provide a structured approach, ensuring that all critical elements are considered without starting from scratch. This saves valuable time and resources.

Consistency Across the Organization : Templates help maintain a uniform response strategy, which is crucial for coherent and coordinated action during a crisis.

Ease of Customization : While templates offer a general outline, they are designed to be adaptable. This means you can tailor them to reflect your business’s unique operational processes, risk profile, and recovery objectives.

Incorporating features like crisis response directions into your BCP template is essential. With Creately you can,

  • Visualize these procedures on an infinite canvas, ensuring clarity and accessibility for all team members.
  • Easily modify the plan as your business evolves, with the drag-and-drop functionality, making regular testing and adjustment a seamless process.
  • Create a central repository of information by having docs, links and attachments in the notes panel of any shape in your diagram.

Key Insights for Developing and Maintaining an Effective Business Continuity Plan

A robust business continuity plan (BCP) is not a ‘set it and forget it’ document; it requires ongoing attention and refinement. Here’s why regular testing, updates, and staff training are non-negotiables in business continuity:

Financial Protection : By regularly testing your BCP, you can identify and rectify gaps that could otherwise lead to significant financial losses during a crisis. It’s not just about having a plan, but ensuring it works effectively when you need it most.

Reputational Safeguarding : Your company’s reputation is on the line when disaster strikes. A well-rehearsed BCP means your team can respond swiftly and competently, preserving stakeholder trust and customer loyalty.

Customization for Evolving Threats : The threat landscape is constantly changing. Regular BCP reviews allow you to tailor your plan to new types of risks, ensuring your business remains resilient against the unforeseen.

Empowered Employees : Training staff on the BCP turns theory into practice. When every team member knows their role in a crisis, response times improve, and confusion is minimized.

Remember, a BCP is a living document. It thrives on the feedback loop created by regular drills and updates, ensuring that when a crisis does occur, your business is prepared not just to survive, but to continue operations with minimal disruption.

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Business Continuity Planning: Why It’s Essential for Sustainable Success

What is a business continuity plan (BCP)?

In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations face numerous risks and uncertainties that can disrupt their normal operations. What do you do and how do you respond when a disaster hits that causes a disruption or outage of your services? From natural disasters to cyberattacks , these unforeseen events can have devastating consequences on business operations and financial stability. This is where a business continuity plan (BCP) comes into play.

What Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?

A BCP is a structured and comprehensive strategy outlining how an organization will continue to operate and provide essential services in the midst of unexpected disruptions, such as natural disasters, technological failures, or other emergencies. The plan typically includes measures to ensure the safety of employees, maintain critical operations, and minimize financial and reputational losses during times of crisis, aiming to swiftly recover and resume normal business activities.

An effective business continuity plan helps to maintain normal operations during and after a disaster. This blog is intended to provide you with an overview of what a business continuity plan is, why it is important, the general components every BCP should have, the risks of not implementing a BCP, how to test your BCP, the difference between a BCP and DR plan, and finally, what SOC 2 auditors focus on when auditing an organization’s BCP.

What Is the Purpose of a Business Continuity Plan?

The purpose of a business continuity plan is to continue critical business operations functions during and after a disaster. Often, a business continuity plan is confused with a disaster recovery plan. We will discuss what a disaster recovery plan is later in this blog (since they go hand in hand). A BCP addresses the question – how can the business and its services continue operating if a disaster strikes? A BCP outlines procedures and instructions that a business must follow at the time of disaster so that the business can continue operation. Before outlining the elements of a BCP, below are key points and best practices to consider when establishing and then maintaining a BCP:

  • Senior management needs to approve the plan (in order to obtain buy-in from the entire organization).
  • The plan needs to be reviewed and updated regularly – at least annually.
  • The more detailed and up-to-date the better it is.
  • Update the plan after each test and capture the lessons learned.
  • Update the plan when there is a change in infrastructure, architecture, processes, policies, staff, or anything that would have an impact on the execution of the plan.
  • The most important factor is people and ensuring their safety, as well as having them understand the plan!

Preparing a BCP

What Are the Elements of a Business Continuity Plan & How Do You Write One?

Below is an outline of the general components every business continuity plan should have:

  • Scope and purpose of the BCP.
  • Identifying assets and their location (including critical systems, business functions/processes), and data.
  • Risk Assessmen t: Identify and assess potential risks and threats that can disrupt business operations. This includes evaluating both internal and external factors such as natural disasters, cybersecurity breaches , supply chain disruptions, and more.
  • Business Impact Analysis : Determine the potential impact of each identified risk on critical business functions. This analysis helps prioritize resources and recovery efforts based on the severity of the impact.
  • Emergency Response Procedures : Define step-by-step instructions on how to respond to an emergency situation, ensuring the safety of employees, minimizing damage, and initiating appropriate recovery measures.
  • Business Continuity Strategies : Develop strategies and tactics to maintain critical business functions during a disruption. This includes identifying backup systems, alternate locations, and contingency plans for various scenarios.
  • Communication Plan : Establish a comprehensive communication plan that ensures timely and accurate communication with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders during a crisis. This helps manage expectations and maintain transparency.
  • Training and Awareness : Conduct regular training sessions and awareness programs (such as security awareness training or compliance training ) to educate employees on their roles and responsibilities during a crisis. This ensures that everyone is prepared and knows what actions to take in different scenarios.
  • Testing and Exercises : Regularly test and evaluate the effectiveness of the BCP through simulations and exercises. This helps identify any gaps or weaknesses in the plan, allowing for fine-tuning and continuous improvement.

Additionally, for further assistance, guidelines on how to conduct a BIA in more detail from the National Institute of Standards ( NIST ) can be found here . A BCP template from NIST can be found here .

Who is responsible for the BCP?

Who Is Responsible for Owning the BCP?

In most organizations, the responsibility for owning and overseeing the BCP typically falls to senior management or executive leadership. This might include roles such as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), or another relevant executive-level position. These individuals are accountable for the overall strategic direction of the organization, including its preparedness for disruptions and the implementation of effective BCP strategies. In larger organizations, there might also be dedicated teams or individuals responsible for the ongoing maintenance, testing, and updates of the BCP.

What Are the Risks of Not Having a Business Continuity Plan?

What if there is no BCP?  Failing to have a business continuity plan in place can lead to significant risks and negative consequences. Some of the key risks associated with not having a BCP include:

  • Financial Loss : When a business experiences a disruption, the financial impact can be severe. Without a BCP, the organization may struggle to recover the financial losses caused by the interruption, potentially leading to long-term instability.
  • Operational Disruption : A lack of a BCP can result in a halt in operations, preventing businesses from serving their customers and fulfilling their commitments. This can damage the organization’s reputation and lead to the loss of valuable clients or customers.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance : Many industries have specific legal and regulatory obligations that organizations must adhere to. Failure to meet these obligations due to a lack of a BCP can result in legal repercussions, penalties, and even lawsuits.
  • Damage to Reputation : Disruptions can create a sense of vulnerability and lack of reliability in the eyes of stakeholders, including clients, customers, and business partners. Without a BCP to navigate through these challenges, the organization’s reputation may be irreparably damaged.
  • Competitive Disadvantage : In today’s competitive business landscape, organizations that can demonstrate a strong BCP have a competitive advantage. Without a BCP, an organization may struggle to maintain or regain its competitive edge, potentially losing market share to competitors.

Why is BCP testing important?

Importance of BCP Testing

The continuity plan team must be trained and tested on the BCP. Testing would include members of the team completing exercises that go over the plan and strategies to increase preparedness. Additionally, if the team is trained on the plan, it can be executed quickly and effectively in cases where the documented plan may be inaccessible for reference by the team during a disaster. Conducting tests can help the team understand and help create a mindset on what to do if the office is inaccessible and/or your systems are inaccessible when a disaster strikes (where your plan is stored). The overall objectives of BCP tests are to improve the response process, identify gaps or weaknesses in the plan, and develop team readiness and response as noted above. Again, tests should be conducted annually, at a minimum.

A few of the common types of BCP drills/tests are the following: Tabletop exercises, walkthroughs, and simulated testing. Additional details on each type of these noted tests can be found here from NIST and here .

When Should a BCP Be Activated & How Do You Classify a Disaster?

A BCP should be activated when a significant disruption occurs threatening the organization’s ability to operate normally and deliver essential services. This could include various types of disasters, emergencies, or unexpected events impacting the organization’s operations, resources, and functions. The decision to activate the BCP is typically based on predefined triggers, such as the severity of the event, its potential to disrupt critical operations, and the level of risk it poses to employees, customers, and stakeholders. Types of disasters that could impact critical business operations are (but not limited to) as follows:

  • Material cyber-attack on your systems (where a hacker breaks in and shuts down everything and/or removes everything).
  • Natural disaster (hurricane, flood, fire, snow/ice storm) – damaging an office and/or data center causing critical infrastructure or services to become unavailable or unresponsive.
  • System failures supporting critical business processes.
  • Cloud services outages.
  • Hardware failures.
  • Network and internet disruptions.
  • Supply chain disruptions, such as supplier failures, transportation disruptions, and shortages of essential resources.

Business Continuity Plan vs Disaster Recovery Plan

To reiterate, business continuity is the continuation of the business process during and after a disaster strikes. DRP, on the other hand, is the plan for the recovery of computer operations (and is usually a subset of the BCP). Overall, the purpose of the DRP is to get technical operations back to normal in the shortest time possible. Below is a list of key factors to consider as part of a DRP:

  • The DRP will also ensure that data and critical applications are restored from backup so that the business can continue regular operations.
  •  BCP is a long-term plan to maintain continuity of operations
  • DRP takes into account the specific RTO and RPO which is determined through a BIA.

BCP audit focus

What Do Auditors Focus on When Auditing a BCP?

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery would be focused on in a SOC 2 audit if the “ Availability Criteria ” is included in the scope of the examination. The availability criterion/requirements are listed below (pulled from the AICPA Trust Services Criteria ).

“A1.1: The entity maintains, monitors, and evaluates current processing capacity and use of system components (infrastructure, data, and software) to manage capacity demand and to enable the implementation of additional capacity to help meet its objectives.

 A1.2: The entity authorizes, designs, develops or acquires, implements, operates, approves, maintains, and monitors environmental protections, software, data backup processes, and recovery infrastructure to meet its objectives. 

A1.3: The entity tests recovery plan procedures supporting system recovery to meet its objectives.”

Some of the controls that could be evaluated in a SOC 2 examination to address the above availability criterion are:

  • Does your organization have a documented BCP plan?
  • Does your organization have a documented DR plan?
  • Have you tested your BCP plan within the last year (at a minimum)?
  • Have you tested your DR plan within the last year (at a minimum)?
  • Your critical data backup procedures (configurations including retention of backups).
  • Have you tested the recovery of your backups?
  • Are you maintaining and monitoring your services and supporting infrastructure for performance, availability, and security ?
  • Are you alerted when services and supporting infrastructure meet certain thresholds?
  • Do you have a cybersecurity and business interruption insurance policy?

BCP FAQs

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) FAQs

Here are some additional questions that typically come up when businesses are beginning the process of developing a robust BCP.

How Long Does a BCP Last?

The BCP should be reviewed at least annually, after any significant change in business operating conditions, or after it has been activated to account for any new lessons learned.

What Can Go Wrong with BCPs?

The most common mistake related to the creation and maintenance of BCPs is inadequate planning, leading to gaps in preparedness, and leaving critical aspects of the organization’s operations unaddressed.  Additionally, if a lack of buy-in and support from senior management is a factor, the BCP might not receive the necessary resources, attention, and commitment to ensure its success.

Do All Businesses Need to Have a BCP?

While having a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is highly recommended for all businesses, the extent and complexity of the plan can vary based on factors such as the size of the organization, the nature of its operations, the industry it belongs to, and the potential risks it faces. The larger and more complex the business, the larger and more complex your BCP will most likely be.

A business continuity plan is the backbone of an organization’s resilience and ability to withstand disruptions. It minimizes the risks associated with operating in today’s unpredictable environment, ensures the continuity of critical functions, and builds trust and confidence among stakeholders. By thoroughly assessing risks, implementing robust strategies, and regularly testing and improving their plans, organizations can confidently navigate through disruptive incidents and secure their future success.

Please contact us if you would like more information regarding SOC reports as it relates to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for your organization.

Additionally, our team can assist your organization with your organization’s audit needs for SOC 1 audits , SOC 2 audits , HIPAA audits , FEDRAMP compliance , HITRUST certification , and more.

This article was originally published on 4/13/2022 and was updated on 8/23/2023.

John Pohlmann

John has over 15 years of experience focused on IT security, governance, risk, compliance, and privacy. He started his career in 2006 with Protiviti and later went on to run IT audit and GRC functions for several Fortune 500 companies within the financial services, energy, hospitality, and software industries. John is also a certified information systems auditor (CISA) and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Colorado State University.

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what is the importance of a business continuity plan

Don’t underestimate the importance of a business continuity plan

Here’s how to protect your people, practices, and technology.

Jacob Shepard

Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Enterprise

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When disruption is unacceptable, business continuity is critical. Threats such as cyberattacks and natural phenomena can strike without warning, and business continuity is all about maintaining (or quickly resuming) business functions across all business lines – from HR and IT to marketing and sales – when the unexpected comes to pass. A comprehensive business continuity plan should be embedded as part of your organizational strategy; without it, you run a high risk of negatively impacting your productivity, reputation, revenue, and more. However, it is key to recognize that there’s more nuance to business continuity than you might think – read on for a brief overview and a deeper dive into this critical strategy.

Preparing for a crisis

Based on findings from a recent survey, PWC recommends three ways companies can better prepare for a crisis. – Design a strategic crisis response plan to mobilize swiftly, stabilize business operations and respond effectively to the shockwaves of disruption. – Break down silos – creating an integrated program is key to delivering a successful crisis response and to building resilience during everyday practices. – Prioritize and build organizational resilience into the fabric of your organization.

Business continuity is more than just disaster recovery

When people think of business continuity, they typically think of disaster recovery and traditional IT service outages. While IT infrastructure and operations are important components, you also need to ensure that your business continuity plan encompasses your people and practices. Many incidents outside of your technology can create the need for a business continuity plan, including lack of access to physical workspace, reputational crisis, or loss of key company individuals. To be able to appropriately respond to a wide range of issues, organizations should be set up in a way that enables its people to make impactful decisions without being hindered by bureaucracy – not to mention having strong practices in place.

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

Case in point

We can look to the COVID-19 pandemic as a recent example of the urgent need for a comprehensive business continuity plan. Throughout the pandemic, business continuity planning has been critical – and it had nothing to do with the traditional IT outage. Organizations had to act quickly in order to continue business as usual and deliver the quality service their customers had come to expect. Disruption (in one form or another) was inevitable as teams scrambled to shift their approach to work and maintain the status quo. As teams continue to adapt in these unprecedented times, remote work has risen drastically, requiring businesses to implement new practices, rely more on agile methodologies, and assess their tooling to get work done. Click below to learn IT best practices that Atlassian implemented for a remote workforce

But what about my technology?

Atlassian Cloud Enterprise: What it is & why we made it

Atlassian Cloud Enterprise: What it is & why we made it

While it’s key to recognize and protect your organization from the variety of factors that could lead to disruption and crisis, the topic of technology – outages, downtime, and loss of data – seems to occupy the majority of our mental real estate. Your tools are critical to your success, and failure to access them and the data they store can spell crisis. Choosing software that can safeguard your company is a no-brainer.

Atlassian cloud products remove a large piece of responsibility, and headache, from your business continuity plan. Leveraging Atlassian cloud opens up the time and freedom for your organization to focus on other practices and organizational needs. Atlassian cloud maintains the highest standards of reliability, with a guaranteed 99.95 percent uptime SLA and built-in business continuity and disaster recovery frameworks.

For organizations that need to maintain control via a self-managed environment, Disaster recovery for Data Center products ensures availability in the event that your primary instance becomes unavailable.

Other benefits of Atlassian cloud products and the virtualization of your software help mitigate future possible disruptions. When you don’t have to worry about physical infrastructure, that’s one less treason to panic over the possibility of physical destruction (think fire, flood, or earthquake) or the inability to get to a physical location for service (whether that’s due to damaged infrastructure or a pandemic).

We know that by choosing Atlassian products, you’re counting on us to assist in your business continuity plan holistically. Organizations run mission-critical projects and operations on Atlassian products, and we’re utterly devoted to delivering products, applications, and networks that are stable and secure at scale.

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Why You Need a Reliable Business Continuity Plan

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You’ve likely heard that nearly half of all new businesses fail . According to the Small Business Association (SBA), 50 percent of businesses fail during the first five years. Over a 10-year span, the percentage increases to 66. But what can be done to avoid this? A business continuity plan. While it’s difficult to determine the percentage of businesses that have a continuity plan in place, one thing is certain: it’s better to have one than not.

A business continuity plan is a process by which businesses can prepare themselves to weather the potential threats that are always on the horizon, keeping their project plans, schedules and processes intact. Before we dive into what is a business continuity plan and how to write one, let’s quickly define business continuity planning.

What Is Business Continuity Planning?

Business continuity planning (BCP) is the process by which companies can overcome potential threats that can affect their ability to continue. Business continuity planning consists in creating recovery strategies, improving business processes and defining a recovery time objective.

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What Is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a plan to assist a business when and if there’s an emergency or potential threat to its solvency. These can be any number of risks including natural disasters such as fires and earthquakes to man-made risks such as cyberattacks. All of these are outside of normal business operating conditions.

In other words, business continuity is exactly as it sounds: maintaining business functions or responding quickly to resuming them if there’s a major disruption to that business. A business continuity plan is not the same as a business plan, which contains the executive summary , company info, market research and strategies, etc.

Why Do I Need a Business Continuity Plan?

The importance of a business continuity plan should be clear, but some business owners might be overworked by simply running operations and ensuring solvency. The problem with such thinking is that it’s reactive. You’re never in a position to profit from good business and grow your company as you’re always chasing fires and putting them out.

Remaining competitive is key for business success, and to lose operational capacity due to an act of nature removes you from the marketplace either temporarily or forever. It’s not a risk that can be ignored, which is why there’s a strong need to create a plan of action.

Key Elements of a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan varies from one company to another as they’re tailored to the needs of a particular business. However, there are basic elements that should always be included. Here are the five most commonly used elements of a business continuity plan.

Critical Business Areas & Processes

The first step in business continuity planning (BCP) is to analyze your business operations and identify the business units, business areas and business processes that are important to your company. You’ll need to identify which of those require improvements and which can be cut from your continuity plan.

Business Data

Once you’ve identified the business areas and processes that’ll be part of your BCP, you’ll need to look for all of the business data you can find. Data analysis is the only way to accurately understand what aspects of your business are successful and which aren’t.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a critical element of a business continuity plan. To help your business continue to grow, you need to identify every potential risk that could stop you. It’s suggested that you use a risk register to list the potential risks along with risk mitigation strategies to implement if needed.

Business Continuity Impact Analysis

A business continuity impact analysis is done to determine the consequences of a sudden loss of business operations, units or processes. By conducting a business continuity impact analysis, you can determine the business impact in terms of costs, time frames and affected dependencies.

Recovery Time Objective

A business continuity plan is meant to be an actionable document that helps companies overcome difficulties and natural disasters. The recovery time objective is an estimated point in time by which you believe your business continuity planning strategies will take effect.

How to Create a Reliable Business Continuity Plan in 7 Steps

When working on a business continuity plan, there are several steps that must be taken to ensure that it’s reliable, all of which are outlined below.

1. Analyze Organizational Threats

You can’t prepare for what you don’t know. There will always be aspects of potential risks that are beyond your control so it’s important to do the due diligence. Make a comprehensive list of what threats are the most likely to impact your business. Then, dig deeper into each threat to see how it would impact your operations.

By analyzing your organizational threats, you’ll have an idea of what you need to do in order to respond. Consider using a risk register template to keep track of each risk.

2. List Primary Tasks to Stay Operational

Once you know what might happen, you have to devise a strategy to respond so the business can keep its doors open. That means prioritizing your list to include only top-level items that address the livelihood of the business.

Other points on your list are important, of course, but you can’t do everything, especially in an emergency. Pick what must be done and complete the rest once the dust has settled.

3. Safeguard Contacts

What if your facility is damaged or what if your IT is compromised? What if you lose contact information for executives and managers who are crucial to the smooth operation of the business? This is why it’s important to keep a list of management and their contacts in a safe or in multiple places so they’re easily accessible.

In case of an emergency, you need to reach the important stakeholders in your organization immediately. There’s no time to search for this information; it needs to always be at your fingertips.

4. Direct Personnel

Depending on the situation, there might not be anyone in a position of authority to explain what personnel should do and where they should go. This is a recipe for chaos, which only adds another problem on top of an already problematic situation.

That’s why it’s important to have a plan for where personnel needs to be if and when a disaster happens. You want to keep them out of harm’s way and place them in a position to carry on with operations if that’s a possibility.

5. Backup Data

Although this is second nature for many, it still bears repeating. Information is one of the most important assets for many businesses, and it must be protected from a potential breach or compromise of IT.

That data must be backed up in more than one place and there should be backups both on-site and off-site in case there is a localized catastrophic event. Online project management software offers you cloud storage for your data, creating an additional safeguard.

6. Collaborate Across the Organization

Businesses are collections of many different departments and the coordination of these elements is critical in getting operations up and running or running as normal. This is why a collaboration plan that includes all facets of the business must be in place to ensure these different departments are working together, not against one another.

7. Get Buy-In on Your BCP

For any business continuity plan to work, it must be distributed to everyone in the business so they understand their part in the process is. But even more than that, every person, from the top to the bottom of the business, must buy into the plan.

Anyone who doesn’t buy into your business continuity plan is a weak link that will break the chain you created to protect the business during this challenging period.

Creating a business continuity plan is like creating any plan. You need to have the tools to plan one, share it and then track it to make sure it’s progressing as planned. That requires robust project management software with the scheduling features you need to facilitate the process. ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management tool that lets you manage and control even major changes to keep your business operational. See how it can help your business by taking this free 30-day trial.

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what is the importance of a business continuity plan

What is Business Continuity planning and why it’s important?

what is the importance of a business continuity plan

If we’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that in life, as well as business, it’s important to expect the unexpected. Business continuity planning is talked about now more than ever. We hope this article can provide some insight on what it is, why it’s important, and what it entails.

What is business continuity planning? 

Unexpected events can disrupt day-to-day business operations at any time. Business continuity refers to the idea of having a plan to deal with these events, so your organization can continue operating with minimal disruption. A good business continuity plan identifies potential threats and analyzes how they would impact business function. It also establishes a framework to deal with these threats in an effective manner that minimizes negative impact. 

We break the planning process down into five key steps:

Step 1: Risk-assessment

This step includes:

  • Evaluation of the company’s risks and exposures
  • Assessing the impact of different disruption scenarios 
  • Determining the most likely threats

Step 2: Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

  • Recovery objectives, including both recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO)
  • Critical business processes as well as the supporting applications
  • Internal and external interdependencies 
  • Critical staff, backups, and skill sets

Step 3: Business Continuity Plan Development 

  • Combining Risk Assessment and BIA findings into a thorough and actionable plan
  • Developing departmental, region, and site-level plans 
  • Reviewing plan with key stakeholders to finalize and put into action

Step 4: Strategy and Plan Development

  • Ensure that the recovery times you have stated in your plan are obtainable and meet the BIA objectives 
  • Incorporate different perspectives from staff across the organization to help map the overall feel and company focus 
  • Have management and executive teams review and sign off on plan

Step 5: Plan Testing & Maintenance

  • Conducting various simulation exercises to ensure comfort in executing the plan’s steps 
  • Executing bi-annual plan reviews 
  • Keep up with ever-changing BIA to make sure the plan stays relevant

Why is business continuity important?

In today’s “always-on” world, downtime has become largely unacceptable. Business continuity allows an organization to respond quickly in times of crisis. This is crucial, not only to save money and time, but also to minimize damage to a company’s reputation. Depending on the industry, business continuity might even be required for legal and compliance purposes. It’s important to know the industry-specific rules and regulations that affect your business. 

Business continuity plans should offer clear guidelines for what an organization needs to maintain basic operations. When a business-disruption event occurs, there should be no question how the company should proceed. The customers, company and employees are all at stake. 

How can LINBIT help?

LINBIT’s mission is to keep your mission critical systems running. We know how much damage failure events can cause not only to the bottom line but also a company’s reputation in the marketplace. We imagine a world where tragedies and disruptions to business operations are a worry-free occurance and you never lose a write or access to your data. 

DRBD ® is our answer for keeping your systems up and running 24/7×365. It keeps real-time replicas of your data available so when one system fails, another takes over instantaneously. It can be used for system high-availability, as well as disaster recovery where it will replicate data to a DR location in the event of a full-site failure.

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What Is Business Continuity and Why Is It Important?

Posted by Alfie McDonald on September 6th 2022

Did you know 1 in 5 businesses suffer a disruption each year? Worse, 80% of businesses affected by disasters are forced to close within a month.

If you want to protect your business from damage, implementing policies and procedures for managing and responding to incidents is crucial. So, where do you start? We’ll show you. Get acquainted with business continuity testing and how to implement an effective plan in your company, below.

What is business continuity?

Business continuity planning means implementing procedures so your organisation can continue to operate as close to normal as possible during and after a disaster. These disasters could range from floods or fires to cyber-attacks and network errors.

The purpose of a business continuity plan is to document procedures for responding to incidents. This includes how you’ll manage and contain incidents, and continue operations while services are disrupted. For instance, if a cyber-attack disrupts your network and forces operations offline, you must consider how you’ll continue providing your services.

It’s also important to remember that a business continuity plan shouldn’t be confused with disaster recovery. Although related, disaster recovery is IT-specific and focuses on your systems, unlike business continuity which considers all areas of your company. Regardless, you should plan for both as part of your wider business objectives.

What does business continuity testing include?

A business continuity strategy can be divided into two areas—planning and management.

Business continuity management

You should consider a business continuity plan as a work in progress. Although it’s essential to have a set plan, you must regularly review, test, and update it.

Implementing a business continuity plan is as much about communicating responsibilities, running practice drills, and evaluating procedures, as it is about action plans in crisis. As such, you should arrange for ongoing business continuity management, reviewing and updating policies following a real or practice incident, and when new threats emerge.

What does business continuity testing guard against?

When assessing business continuity risk, you should think about all possible disasters. Doing so ensures you’re prepared, whether a simple network error, data breach, or fire. Some common disasters include:

  • Natural disasters – Incidents like fire and floods can damage your business. In some cases, they may lead to total loss of your premises and contents.
  • Global pandemics – If your business isn’t equipped for remote working, global pandemics can halt operations or even cause you to close completely.
  • Network disruptions – Server downtime or interruptions can force employees offline, unable to access essential data, email inboxes, and other IT software critical for your business.
  • Cyber-attacks – Malicious attacks can disrupt your IT systems and lead to more drastic consequences like data breaches and theft.
  • Human error – Sometimes, disasters are caused by human error, such as downloading malicious software, deleting essential data, or even causing a fire.

Why is business continuity management critical?

Would you know what to do if a hacker accessed your network? What about if your business premises were set on fire? How would you respond? That’s why having a business continuity plan is essential. Should anything go wrong, you’ll already have an action plan for the ‘what if’ incidents, reducing unplanned downtime and subsequent financial and business risks.

Asides from mitigating disruptions business continuity plans have many other benefits:

  • Save money – With plans, less money is spent recovering assets and information. Plus, alternative working arrangements mean you can continue business operations during incidents and avoid further financial risks.
  • Save time – Less time is needed to decide on the action to take during a disaster, since everything is pre-determined. In addition, you can immediately activate your business continuity plans, ensuring incidents are managed quickly and effectively.
  • Identify vulnerabilities – Business continuity plans allow you to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, so you can take action before incidents occur. For instance, organising cloud backup of data, rather than storing it in an unsecured location.
  • Maintain reputation – Preparing your organisation’s continuity plans helps you maintain your reputation in the event of a disaster, ensuring you can continue to provide customers with the service they expect.
  • Enhance security – Planning for disruptions also means preventing them by encouraging businesses to step up their security practices. For instance, using additional cybersecurity measures to prevent data leaks.
  • Increase efficiencies – A well-communicated business continuity plan can increase operational efficiencies throughout your workforce, encouraging employees to practice high security and be vigilant threats.

Start your business continuity planning

At BCN, we can guide your business through continuity planning from start to finish. Our industry-accredited team will work with you to assess potential threats and impacts, with a fully personalised, effective business continuity plan. Our three-step approach includes:

  • Manage and evolve:Our team conducts ongoing success and metric tracking, guiding continuous improvements of your plan. Including day-to-day offsite backup checks, that our team responds to from the NOC as part of BCN Group’s proactive ticket process.

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The Importance of a Business Continuity Plan (Plus a Free Guide)

Creating a business continuity plan isn’t just a smart business strategy; it’s an essential component of ensuring survival during and after a crisis, emergency or disaster event. If your organization is looking to create (or update) its business continuity plan, look no further. This article covers the many benefits of having one. Plus, you’ll even find a downloadable, step-by-step guide for how to create one at the end.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a process that outlines the potential impact of disaster situations to business operations. It creates policies that respond to various situations to ensure a business is able to recover quickly after a crisis. The main goal of a BCP is to protect people, property and assets. It also helps position your organization to recover from unexpected business interruptions, property damage, financial impact and even loss of life following an emergency.

Download 5 Steps to Building a Business Continuity Plan

Business Continuity Planning: Why You Should Care

There’s no denying that the beginning of 2020 has been incredibly difficult for many businesses. While some organizations have had to convert to a 100% remote approach to operations, others have have been forced to  shut their doors until further notice. The COVID-19 crisis was sudden and unexpected for many, and called for drastic measures that many businesses were not prepared for.

Much like in the coronavirus situation, many businesses do not recognize the need for a BCP until it’s too late. Here’s how having a BCP could save your business significant time, money and precious resources in the wake of an emergency or crisis.

5 Benefits of Having a Business Continuity Plan

1. your business will be more prepared to handle the unexpected..

Businesses can’t expect employees to know the best ways to react during a crisis situation. Leaving each person to respond in his or her own way will, at best, only add to the confusion and at worst, lead to loss of life. A BCP will help document procedures well in advance of an emergency. This way, employees can receive training to protect themselves and make smart decisions without panicking.

2. Your business will have safeguards in place (in addition to insurance).

A common misconception is that businesses do not need a business continuity plan if they have insurance. The truth is that a business can’t always rely on insurance alone. Insurance doesn’t always cover peripheral damage of an incident, such as loss of customers, loss of market share and operational setbacks. A BCP only helps bolster safety and security in your organization.

3. Your business will invest in itself and its ability to bounce back.

The time you spend developing and maintaining a business continuity plan is time that you spend investing in your company. It’s important to remember that your fixed costs will continue after an event, whether you’re open or not. The faster your organization can return to business as usual, the more likely you’ll be to fully recover from an unanticipated event.

4. Your business will have a plan to continue providing acceptable service after the disaster.

Threats, disruptions and disasters can lead to a loss in revenue and higher costs, which in turn can affect profitability. Don’t let an unanticipated event set your business back, especially when it comes to production of goods or services. A business continuity plan can help your organization keep operations running, retain customers and continue earning revenue.

5. Your business will better preserve its corporate reputation, image and revenue stream.

Companies that take the time to consider how they’ll respond to emergency situations are genuinely the ones who are able to bounce back and continue operations as usual. A predefined business continuity plan (when combined with proper insurance coverage) will help your organization eliminate the need to make hasty decisions under stressful conditions.

Here’s Your Free Guide to Creating a Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity planning is an expansive topic. With so many resources available on the internet, it can be difficult to know where to start. We made it easy with our step-by-step guide to business continuity planning. Inside, you’ll find resources including a BCP outline, a business impact questionnaire, and other helpful tools.

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Why Your Business Needs a Business Continuity Plan

  • by Audrey Quiteves on July 23, 2023
  • last update on January 25, 2024
  • Reading Time: 7 minutes

Why Your Business Needs a Business Continuity Plan

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

Infographic: 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.

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The Fundamentals of Business Continuity Planning

Infographic: 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

Using Convene to Create a Business Continuity Plan

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 Quiteves

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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A step-by-step guide to writing an effective business continuity plan.

Posted Aug 30, 2022

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan is a written document that describes the emergency procedures that should happen if a business-critical process fails.

Several sources can threaten businesses. Sometimes, disruption can take the form of Force Majeure circumstances, like extreme weather or political unrest. Other circumstances are less obvious, but just as disruptive: supply chain issues, web server downtime or power outages can leave permanent damage to a business’s finances after a certain amount of time.

Businesses must prevent unwanted downtime to ensure critical functions and services aren’t affected. The best way to ensure a consistent and effective response to potential issues is to implement a robust, documented business continuity plan.

Learn more with our in-depth guide to business continuity.

What is the purpose of a business continuity plan?

A strategically structured and rehearsed business continuity plan provides a number of benefits to both employees and the company itself.

With improvements to communication, technology and resilience, here are a number of examples of the positives that you can expect from a business continuity plan:

Helps your business to survive a disruptive event — Ensuring you have a robust plan in place will enable your business to recover in the shortest possible timeframe from an incident.

Protect your organisation’s reputation and brand — Whether it’s in the eyes of the public, suppliers and/or clients you work with, showing that you can respond well to the unexpected will instil confidence in your business and help to mitigate any negative feelings due to disruptions.

Strengthen your relationship with third parties and subsidiaries — With an effective business continuity plan, you’ll demonstrate that your company is being run well from the top down. By showing that you’re a reliable partner that can be depended on, you’ll attract new business and solidify your relationship with current clients and service providers.

Ensure staff safety — The well-being of your employees is a natural factor in a business continuity plan. By ensuring your team is looked after and knows what the procedure is during disruptions, you can establish clear roles and responsibilities to keep everyone under your care safe in an emergency.

Meet regulatory standards — Globally, there are corporate governance regulations that require directors and key stakeholders to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence to mitigate risks facing an organisation. With an effective business continuity plan in place, you can ensure you’re meeting the requirements of a growing body of legislation.

What does a good business continuity plan look like?

The three key elements of a business continuity plan are:

1. Resilience

Businesses can increase their resilience by designing critical functions and infrastructures to protect against specific scenarios. Examples include; data redundancy, staffing rotations and maintaining a surplus of capacity. If implemented efficiently, resilience in business continuity can even keep essential services running on-site or remotely without interruption to daily operations.

2. Recovery

There’s no way an organisation can prepare for every eventuality. But with rapid recovery, you can future-proof your business by ensuring you have strategies in place to restore business functions in an emergency. With recovery time objectives for different systems, you can analyse and prioritise which needs recovering first.

3. Contingency

A contingency plan ensures that an organisation has procedures in place to distribute and delegate responsibilities for a range of external scenarios. These can include replacing hardware, sourcing an emergency workspace and contracting third-party vendors for assistance.

Who is responsible for a business continuity plan?

To ensure your organisation’s readiness, it’s important to designate who will be responsible for implementing and managing your business continuity plan. For small businesses, a single individual could be tasked with writing a business continuity plan. Or for larger organisations, a whole team could be involved with developing a business continuity plan.

In such cases, business unit leaders — such as payroll, corporate travel, human resources and security — will be given the responsibility of creating their respective unit’s business continuity plan with a program manager overseeing the process.

It is essential to make sure each person understanding their responsibilities and that there are clear lines of communication between employees and external stakeholders, in order to keep everything as smooth as possible during an disruptive scenario.

What is the first step in writing a business continuity plan?

The first step you should take when preparing to write a business continuity plan is to conduct a full Business Impact Assessment (BIA).

A BIA predicts the consequences of a significant disruption to your business processes. It clarifies the potential losses that could be incurred in each circumstance.

A BIA should include the following:

Potential losses — What would your lost sales and income look like for each hour of downtime, or each day?

Delayed sales — Could disruption create cash flow issues for you by delaying your sales or income? If so, to what extent? What lines of credit would you have to rely on?

Increased expenses — How much would you have to spend on resources to mitigate the issue? Think about things like overtime, outsourcing, and costs associated with expediting business-critical activities.

Regulatory fines — How much could you be fined by regulators for breaches to things like data privacy or health and safety?

Contractual penalties — Are there any charges you could incur for failing to meet SLAs with your business partners?

Customer satisfaction — How much damage to your public reputation could a disruption have? You can quantify by thinking of the number of additional negative reviews you could receive for each day of delays.

Delay of new business plans — Would you need to push back any planned launches or new business agreements while you deal with disruptions?

Writing your plan: Step-by-step instructions

Identify your business-critical processes — Critical business processes are those necessary for the survival of the company in the case of loss of revenue, customer service interruption or reputation damage. E.g. Manufacturing — what you would need to keep your production line going. Finance — how to recover important documents that contain sensitive information. IT — is home working feasible for your business?

Specify the target recovery time for these processes — How long would it take for the loss of a business-critical process to do irreparable damage to your business? Your target recovery time for each process you identified should be within this window. Determine how long you could tolerate a disruption: this is known as a recovery time objective (RTO). Your business continuity plan should enable you to mitigate disruptions within this time window.

Define the specific resources needed for each process — Once you’ve identified how long you’ll need to restore a process, you’ll need to outline everything you’ll need to do so, and plan within that time frame. You could split this into internal resources (key people in your organisation, passwords, office space, specialist equipment) and external resources (e.g. supplies, transportation). Along with identifying how readily available they can be, and for how long you’ll need them.

Describe the steps needed to restore each process — If your business is disrupted by an IT failure, fire, flood or an extreme weather event, what is your plan to address this? Devise a backup plan for each key operation you have, detailing who to contact, what resources you’ll need, and how much you might need to spend in order to restore each process.

Decide on a schedule to update the information — Once you’ve compiled the above 4 points, you’ll have a strong business continuity plan that you can action. But it won’t be bulletproof forever. As your business evolves, so will the technology it uses and the relationships it has. Therefore, you need to plan ways to keep the information up-to-date. It might be that you decide on a regular date that the whole plan needs to be revisited, whether that’s yearly, quarterly or even monthly. Alternatively, you might decide it’s better to update small elements of the plan as and when they change: e.g. if a password to a critical folder is changed, there’s someone in your organisation who is responsible for updating your business continuity plan accordingly.

What are the four P’s of business continuity planning?

The four P’s of business continuity are:

People — This covers your staff, customers and clients.

Processes — This includes the technology and strategies your business uses to keep everything running.

Premises — Covers the buildings and spaces from which your business operates.

Providers — This includes parties that your business relies on for getting resources, like your suppliers and partners.

You can use the four P’s when reviewing the initial draft of your business continuity plan to ensure you’ve considered the impact on each of them at every stage.

For example, how might your plan to recover important documents out of working hours impact your staff? How hard would it be to access the premises? When should you notify your clients and business partners?

What is the most important part of a business continuity plan?

Every element of your business continuity plan is important, but perhaps the most critical part to get right is how you plan to respond to potential issues. It’s advantageous to have precise calculations about potential losses and the impact of your business relationships, but without a clear and effective way of reacting to disruptions, your business will incur serious — and sometimes irreparable — financial damage.

Business continuity plan template

We’ve prepared an example business continuity plan to get you started.

1. Objective of the plan

Open with a short summary of the ‘why’ behind the how. Explain clearly and succinctly that the aim of your business continuity plan is to protect your business in the event of a disruption to business-critical processes.

2. Business-critical processes checklist

Your plan will need to contain a list of its most important processes. Below are a few examples:

3. Recovery plan

For each critical function you listed in step (2), you’ll need to specify a comprehensive, tailored recovery plan that should be followed in order to get the process back up and running within your RTO.

4. Contact list

Create lists of staff, suppliers and insurers that should be contacted in case of an emergency.

List of key staff: example

Supplier list: example

List of insurers: example

Ensure your business continuity

If you want to protect your business against all eventualities, putting in place reliable business continuity plans is a crucial step.

CMAC specialises in providing emergency assistance to businesses experiencing transport disruptions to keep things running smoothly and minimise potential losses. Learn more about CMAC’s full suite of industry-leading recovery solutions , from ground transport to emergency accommodation.

Other useful guides

What is Business Continuity and why is it important for your business? | CMAC Group

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The importance of having a business continuity plan

Business person stopping dominos from falling, signifying the importance of a business continuity plan.

When the world is chugging along as normal and business operations only have the usual risks to monitor, it can be easy to put aside business continuity planning. But, as we've all discovered in recent weeks, anything can happen at any time, and businesses must be ready to pivot operations quickly, efficiently and safely as and when needed. The quick global spread of COVID-19, colloquially known as coronavirus, has thrown the world into disarray. The markets are in a nosedive, governments are shutting down entire countries and most organizations are having to quickly embrace remote working to keep the lights on and keep clients serviced. Those who do not have the capability to support workers at home ' and that are not essential services such as healthcare or sanitation ' are currently going through a trial by fire, with operations stymied and revenue under threat. Businesses are rushing to set up work-from-home arrangements, or take out subscriptions for online meetings and cloud collaboration technology. Priorities are shifting dramatically as we enter uncharted territory. This lack of preparedness could well see many businesses going under ' but if those organizations had created a robust business continuity plan ahead of time, they would know exactly how to handle such a crisis and weather the storm.

What is a business continuity plan and why do you need one?

A business continuity plan, or BCP, refers to the process a company will take to prevent and recover from potential threats to the organization. It ensures personnel and assets are protected and able to function in the event of a disaster, and is generally part of overall risk management ' that is, best practice dictates that you consider your business continuity plan ahead of time, not when a crisis hits. Your business continuity plan considers what those risks may look like ' both physical threats such as fire or flood, and those threats that are harder to pin down, such as hacks and pandemics ' and then determines:

  • How those risks will impact operations
  • How you'll implement safeguards, procedures and policies to mitigate the risks
  • How you'll test procedures to ensure that they work
  • How you'll review the process to keep it up-to-date

It includes a summary of the most critical business processes and functions ' those aspects that, if they failed, your business would be unable to operate ' as well as internal and external communication strategies, clear instructions for accessing and restoring offsite recovery data, any potential temporary offices or locations, and a change log that summarizes any updates to the plan for version-control purposes. Without a business continuity plan, you risk your company and its people . Not only could the business fail, but you could also suffer financial loss, a tarnished reputation and lost productivity. A physical disaster could also impact your employees, potentially causing injury or death.

Ensure continued — and secure — access to systems

With COVID-19 playing havoc with how companies go about their day-to-day activities, the priority for organizations should be on building business resilience. This means being flexible enough to go with the flow while maintaining operations at as normal a level as possible, all while ensuring your employees can access the systems and processes they need to do their jobs. It also means keeping a close eye on matters of cybersecurity. Those companies that maintain on-premises systems have suddenly found themselves in a pickle, as workers are unable to come into the office with cities on lockdown. The question of how teams will access platforms is an essential part of business continuity planning, and something that smart risk managers had covered long before the pandemic hit. They had thought about how teams would access platforms, assessed what bandwidth they had available for that level of remote access, and had considered whether they needed a temporary increase in network capacity or licenses. The security question, though, doesn't just extend to moving to cloud-based operations; hackers and cyber threats will use any crisis to their advantage. Keep an eye out for phishing scams, DDoS attacks and malware being introduced by employees keen to learn the latest developments in the crisis and not closely examining the links they click on. Security postures should include a review of systems you have in place to stop phishing campaigns and other inbound threat vectors before they hit employees' inboxes, writes Jason Albuquerque for InformationWeek .

Creating a business continuity plan

While every organization's business continuity plan will be different, there are some common steps that companies should follow to develop a solid continuity plan. They include:

  • Undertaking a business impact analysis to identify functions and related resources that are time-sensitive
  • Identifying and implementing steps to recover critical business functions
  • Creating a continuity team that will be tasked with devising a plan to manage the disruption
  • Training and testing the continuity team, and ensuring they regularly go over the plan and strategies to mitigate risk and ensure they are kept up-to-date

By considering these things in advance, organizations can help to ensure business continuity when things get tough, protecting the business, its reputation, its people and its customers.

The importance of technology to business continuity for legal operations

Of course, the march toward cloud-based technology to run essential business systems and processes makes business continuity planning a little easier. Once upon a time, you had to be in the office and on the network to access things like entity management software; today, there is a plethora of cloud-based options for all aspects of legal operations, compliance, governance and risk management work. Best-in-class providers of these systems are supporting their clients through the current COVID-19/coronavirus crisis, helping them to make sense of the craziness by providing online support, guidance and tech triage. More than just a software provider, these organizations become an essential partner in times of crisis. Diligent is one such company, acting as a partner to more than half of the Fortune 1000. Through its cloud-based legal technology platforms, Diligent enables proactive governance to help mitigate the risks of modern business. We believe every business should have the necessary business continuity planning and management strategies, plans and procedures in place, fully tested at regular intervals, to drive the assurance that when disaster strikes, they'll be ready. The cost and impact of not being prepared is usually far greater than that of being proactive. Diligent works to enable business continuity planning by ensuring ongoing access to essential documents, contracts and entity data through:

  • Diligent Entities , which helps organizations to centralize, manage and effectively structure their corporate record to improve entity governance and improve decision-making
  • Diligent Boards , which empowers boards and executives with the tools, insights and analytics to securely access board materials, track company performance and gather real-time information
  • Diligent Assurance , which helps organizations to confidently create, manage and report on the obligations relevant to their business, and always be audit-ready.

Get in touch and request a demo to see how Diligent's suite of cloud-based governance and compliance software can help drive your business continuity planning and ensure your organization can continue to operate, no matter what gets thrown your way.

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Importance of Business Continuity Plan

Published on : 25 Jul 2020

importance of business continuity plan

When a disaster strikes it just strikes hard without giving any prior notice or intimation.  Even with the slightest possible lead time in hand, things can still go wrong drastically. Every incident is unique and can unfold in the most unexpected ways. This is when Business Continuity Plan comes into the picture to help the organization recover from the incidents.  Business Continuity Plan is all about having in place strategies and a test plan that can help cope with the situation with the least or minimum impact. Lack of plan will not just lead to a long time to recover from the incident but may also lead to an organization going out of business. 

Let us today from this article understand the Importance of Business Continuity plan and why is its implementation essential for every business. Our article draws out reasons why the Business Continuity plan is important and ways it can help businesses cope with major unexpected incidents or events.

What is Business Continuity Plan?

Business Continuity Plan is a strategic process designed and implemented to help organizations quickly cope with major incidents like floods, fire, cyberattacks that could disrupt the entire business operation. It draws out a complete set of guidelines for organizations to follow when an incident occurs. Having BCP in place gives businesses the best chance of survival in an event of an incident. However, it is important to note that the BCP is very different from the Disaster Recovery Plan. Disaster Recovery Plan which is just a part of the entire Business Continuity Plan is a strategy that mainly focuses on restoring an IT infrastructure and operations after the incident occurrence. 

Why is Business Continuity Plan important?

A business continuity plan is essential for every business. Lack of a plan for an emergency can lead to huge financial losses, an impact on the brand’s reputation, and even a loss of consumer confidence. Given below are some benefits of having a BCP in place.

Helps maintain Business stability – 

BCP is all about helping business operations run even through crises and assuring stability in the overall business management. It further helps reduce financial loss and ensure the business stays afloat even during the crisis. 

Manage Financial Loss 

Knowing what to do in the face of an event will reduce the impact on business. Having a strategy in place will limit business disruption. The longer time a business takes to recover, there is a much higher potential for financial loss. But, with the right strategy in place, the business can restore its functionality and recover quickly with minimum business loss.

Build customer confidence

Witnessing your ability to quickly recover from a situation of crisis builds great confidence in consumers.  Consumers will feel safe dealing with businesses that seem prepared or ready even during a crisis. Customers always prefer brands that can stand strong and can provide services without any disruption or hassle. 

Helps Maintain brand and reputation

Brands that seem prepared and can arise from a situation of crisis will prove their resiliency to their consumers. This helps in building a strong brand reputation in the market. Consumers will have more confidence in the brand and will be willing to deal with them for their services/products.

Competitive Advantage 

Businesses that take time to recover from disruption may take a longer time to get their business rolling. On the contrary, businesses that are well prepared, have a competitive edge for they can cope with the disaster better, and recover quickly. This will not just help businesses build trust in them but also give them a competitive edge over others showing consumers that your brand is among the best. 

How can we at VISTA InfoSec help organizations build an effective Business Continuity Plan?

When it comes to Business Continuity Plan, we at VISTA InfoSec can help organizations build an effective strategy that can help businesses recover at the time of crisis. Our team of expert Advisors can create plans for addressing complex issues and deal with situations effectively.  We help businesses build resilience against an unforeseen event that reduces the possibility of complete business disruption. We offer holistic business continuity consulting services to assess, implement, exercise, and maintain your Business Continuity plan for your business. 

You can Watch our webinar on :  Business Continuity in COVID 19 era.

Narendra Sahoo

Narendra Sahoo (PCI QPA, PCI QSA, PCI SSF ASSESSOR, CISSP, CISA, CRISC, 27001 LA) is the Founder and Director of VISTA InfoSec, a global Information Security Consulting firm, based in the US, Singapore & India. Mr. Sahoo holds more than 25 years of experience in the IT Industry, with expertise in Information Risk Consulting, Assessment, & Compliance services. VISTA InfoSec specializes in Information Security audit, consulting and certification services which include GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, NESA, MAS-TRM, PCI DSS Compliance & Audit, PCI PIN, SOC2 Compliance & Audit, PDPA, PDPB to name a few. The company has for years (since 2004) worked with organizations across the globe to address the Regulatory and Information Security challenges in their industry. VISTA InfoSec has been instrumental in helping top multinational companies achieve compliance and secure their IT infrastructure.

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Reduce title, real estate and mortgage risk with a cyber response plan

It's time to build a cyber response plan for your business

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In today’s rapidly changing technology landscape, businesses in the title insurance , mortgage and real estate industries must prioritize cybersecurity response planning and business continuity. The second in our “ Reducing Risk ” series, this month’s article provides practical strategies for safeguarding your enterprise to ensure its resilience against cyber threats.

By breaking down complex concepts into bite-sized pieces, we’ll equip you with the information you need to protect your digital assets. Read on to learn how to create a strong shield against risk through the development of an effective cyber response plan and solid business continuity measures. 

Understanding cybersecurity response planning and business continuity

Cybersecurity response planning involves creating a plan that outlines how your business will respond to cyber incidents. It’s like having a superhero team ready to jump into action whenever trouble strikes. 

On the other hand, business continuity planning focuses on preparing for potential disruptions to your business operations. It’s like having a backup generator to ensure the lights stay on even during a power outage.

The importance of response plans and business continuity

Now that we know what response plans and business continuity are and how they differ, let’s talk about why they matter for your business:

  • Minimizing Downtime: By having a response plan in place, you can quickly recover from cyber incidents and get back to business as usual. It’s like having a spare key to your office when you accidentally lock yourself out.
  • Protecting Your Reputation: A well-prepared response plan helps you maintain customer trust and protect your brand. It’s like being known as the go-to real estate agent who consistently delivers results and closes deals on time, ensuring your clients have unwavering faith in your abilities.
  • Reducing Financial Loss: In the realm of cyber resilience, crafting a response strategy and maintaining business continuity measures is like building a financial fortress. This proactive defense serves as a vigilant sentinel, defending against cyber threats and safeguarding your company’s treasury. It’s the difference between just weathering a storm and strengthening your position, ensuring financial security and operational continuity.

Creating your cybersecurity response plan

Now that we understand the benefits of having a response plan, let’s talk about how to create one that’s tailored to your unique business:

  • Identify Potential Risks: Start by identifying the cybersecurity risks that could affect your operations. These could include data breaches, phishing attacks , ransomware threats, and more. In much the same way that a seasoned mariner watches the sky to foresee an impending storm, preparing your cyber defenses requires a perceptive eye to detect the subtle signs of digital tempests. Failing to identify and prepare for cybersecurity risks is like ignoring darkening clouds on the horizon. By keeping a vigilant watch and using sophisticated forecasting tools, just as a meteorologist uses radar, we can navigate safely through the turbulent waters of cyber risk.
  • Establish Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define roles and responsibilities for your team members so they know how and when to respond in the event of a cyber incident . It’s critical to have a game plan in place in which everyone on your team knows their position and play. Like a well-coordinated football team, in which each player has a specific role that is crucial for the team’s defensive and offensive strategies, clearly defining roles and responsibilities enables your team members to execute a seamless response during a cyber incident. 
  • Document Incident Response Procedures: Create step-by-step guidelines for responding to different types of incidents. These procedures may involve isolating affected systems, contacting law enforcement if necessary, and notifying affected parties. It’s like having a well-drawn map guiding you through a labyrinth. With a clear roadmap in place, you can effectively navigate the complexities of incident response, ensuring a swift and effective resolution. 

Building business continuity measures

Creating a response plan is just the first step. Let’s also discuss business continuity measures to ensure your operations stay up and running:

  • Identify Critical Systems: Determine which systems and services are critical for your business operations. Like a bustling metropolis, where data flows like traffic through its streets, your customer database, transactional infrastructure, and communication platforms serve as critical arteries that keep your business traffic flowing smoothly. By identifying these critical systems, you can put safeguards in place to ensure that information flows freely and that your operations remain uninterrupted.
  • Develop Backup Strategies: Implement robust backup solutions to ensure the availability and integrity of your important data. Robust backup strategies are analogous to an impenetrable digital safe protecting your most valuable documents. Crafting a multi-faceted backup plan is crucial, as it ensures that in the event of a digital disaster, your critical data is retrievable and safe. 
  • Test and Conduct Regular Reviews: Regularly test your response plan and business continuity measures to ensure they’re effective and up to date. Like a top-ranking sports team, success hinges on both strategy and practice. Frequently running through your emergency protocols is similar to holding scrimmages before the championship. It enables your team to address weaknesses and enhance performance prior to an actual cyber threat. 

Final Thoughts on Creating Cyber Resilience

Congratulations on reaching the end of our cyber resilience journey! By creating response plans for cyber incidents and implementing business continuity measures, you can reduce risk and protect your title insurance, mortgage or real estate business. Remember to identify potential risks, establish clear roles and responsibilities, and document incident response procedures. And don’t forget to develop backup strategies, test them regularly, and keep everything up to date. With these steps in place, you’re ready to face any cyber challenges that come your way. Stay cyber-resilient, my friends, and protect your digital kingdom!

Bruce Phillips is Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer for MyHome , a Williston Financial Group Company .

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what is the importance of a business continuity plan

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  1. The importance of Business Continuity Planning

    what is the importance of a business continuity plan

  2. Importance of a Business Continuity Plan

    what is the importance of a business continuity plan

  3. The Importance of Business Continuity Planning in a Post-Pandemic World

    what is the importance of a business continuity plan

  4. The Importance Of Business Continuity Plan And How To Make One

    what is the importance of a business continuity plan

  5. The Importance of a Business Continuity Plan in Environmental Contract Testing Labs

    what is the importance of a business continuity plan

  6. Don’t underestimate the importance of a business continuity plan

    what is the importance of a business continuity plan

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  1. BIA Data is like gold

  2. Business Continuity Plan (PhIS) 2024

  3. When Should You Use Your Crisis Management Process

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  5. Business Continuity Planning BCP

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COMMENTS

  1. What is business continuity and why is it important?

    Business continuity planning establishes risk management processes and procedures that aim to prevent interruptions to mission-critical services and reestablish full day-to-day function to the organization as quickly and smoothly as possible.

  2. Business Continuity Planning: Why You Need It and Why It Is So Important

    When developing a business continuity plan, it is important to consider the following aspects: Communication Styles: Different cultures have varying communication norms and hierarchies. Understanding how employees from various cultural backgrounds communicate during a crisis can help in crafting effective crisis communication strategies.

  3. What Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), and How Does It Work?

    Business continuity plans (BCPs) are prevention and recovery systems for potential threats, such as natural disasters or cyber-attacks. BCP is designed to protect personnel and assets and make...

  4. The Importance of a Business Continuity Plan

    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.

  5. Business Continuity Plan Advantages

    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.

  6. What is Business Continuity?

    Business continuity is an organization's readiness to continue functioning during times of disruption. Business continuity is important because it reduces the potential impact of a disruption on customers, employees, and partners. Having a business continuity plan (BCP)—which includes the analysis, technology, documentation, training, key ...

  7. All about Business Continuity Planning

    A business continuity plan includes guidelines and procedures to guide a business through disruption. The efforts to create a plan are the same for large or small organizations. A simple plan is better than no plan. The basic steps for writing a business continuity plan are as follows: Create a governance team.

  8. What Is A Business Continuity Plan? [+ Template & Examples]

    Business Continuity Planning. Business continuity planning is the process of creating a plan to address a crisis. When writing out a business continuity plan, it's important to consider the variety of crises that could potentially affect the company and prepare a resolution for each.

  9. Understanding the Essentials of a Business Continuity Plan

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is an essential blueprint that outlines how a company will continue operating during an unplanned disruption in service. It's more than just a reactive strategy; it's a proactive measure to ensure that critical business functions can continue during and after a crisis.

  10. Business Continuity Plan (BCP): Purpose, Importance, SOC 2

    The plan typically includes measures to ensure the safety of employees, maintain critical operations, and minimize financial and reputational losses during times of crisis, aiming to swiftly recover and resume normal business activities. An effective business continuity plan helps to maintain normal operations during and after a disaster.

  11. Don't underestimate the importance of a business continuity plan

    Business continuity is more than just disaster recovery When people think of business continuity, they typically think of disaster recovery and traditional IT service outages. While IT infrastructure and operations are important components, you also need to ensure that your business continuity plan encompasses your people and practices.

  12. Why You Need a Reliable Business Continuity Plan

    The importance of a business continuity plan should be clear, but some business owners might be overworked by simply running operations and ensuring solvency. The problem with such thinking is that it's reactive. You're never in a position to profit from good business and grow your company as you're always chasing fires and putting them out.

  13. What is Business Continuity planning and why it's important?

    Business continuity refers to the idea of having a plan to deal with these events, so your organization can continue operating with minimal disruption. A good business continuity plan identifies potential threats and analyzes how they would impact business function.

  14. What Is a Business Continuity Plan?

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that sets guidelines for how an organization will continue its operations in the event of a disruption, whether it's a fire, flood, other natural disaster or a cybersecurity incident. A BCP aims to help organizations resume operations without significant downtime.

  15. Why Business Continuity Planning is Important and Effective?

    A business continuity plan comes to the rescue for an organization to provide acceptable service, maintain its reputation, and maintain revenue flow following a crisis, disaster, or emergency. In this article, we explain the importance of business continuity planning to ensure an organization's survival amidst the unexpected.

  16. What Is Business Continuity and Why Is It Important?

    Business continuity planning means implementing procedures so your organisation can continue to operate as close to normal as possible during and after a disaster. These disasters could range from floods or fires to cyber-attacks and network errors. The purpose of a business continuity plan is to document procedures for responding to incidents.

  17. The Importance of a Business Continuity Plan (Plus a Free Guide

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a process that outlines the potential impact of disaster situations to business operations. It creates policies that respond to various situations to ensure a business is able to recover quickly after a crisis. The main goal of a BCP is to protect people, property and assets.

  18. Why Your Business Needs a Business Continuity Plan

    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.

  19. A step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Effective Business Continuity Plan

    A business continuity plan is a written document that describes the emergency procedures that should happen if a business-critical process fails. Several sources can threaten businesses. Sometimes, ... Every element of your business continuity plan is important, but perhaps the most critical part to get right is how you plan to respond to ...

  20. The importance of having a business continuity plan

    A business continuity plan, or BCP, refers to the process a company will take to prevent and recover from potential threats to the organization. ... The importance of technology to business continuity for legal operations. Of course, the march toward cloud-based technology to run essential business systems and processes makes business ...

  21. Importance of Business Continuity Plan

    A business continuity plan is essential for every business. Lack of a plan for an emergency can lead to huge financial losses, an impact on the brand's reputation, and even a loss of consumer confidence. Given below are some benefits of having a BCP in place. Helps maintain Business stability -

  22. Business Continuity Management Lessons From The Pandemic

    In 2017, for instance, the top reasons cited for a business continuity plan were: minimizing downtime, protecting what's important, communicating with confidence, resuming operations and ensuring ...

  23. How To Ensure Business Continuity In The Face Of Internet ...

    Maintaining business continuity requires planning and investment. As business leaders, it's important to recognize that no company is exempt from unexpected disruptions.

  24. Disaster Recovery vs Business Continuity: What You Need to Know

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a broader document that covers not only the IT aspects, but also the operational, financial, legal, and human aspects of your business in the event of a disruption.

  25. Reduce title, real estate and mortgage risk with a cyber response plan

    The importance of response plans and business continuity Now that we know what response plans and business continuity are and how they differ, let's talk about why they matter for your business: