2PM Services’ Principal Consultant, Steve Armitage, explains the importance of a business continuity plan and how it can help you prepare for when things go wrong!
As the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. So do you know what to do when things go wrong? Do you have a plan in place? Is your business resilient enough to survive a major disruption?
Resilient businesses can respond quickly and effectively to a sudden disruption: bad weather, cyber-attack, a major power cut, maybe a global pandemic hits… Resilient businesses have specific plans in place, so that if / when things go wrong, you know what to do.
Such plans are called Business Continuity Plans.
What is a business continuity plan?
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is typically a document that outlines how an organisation will continue operating during an unplanned disruption. It contains contingencies for business processes, assets, human resources and business partners – every aspect of the business that might be affected.
BCP’s are a key output of Business Continuity Management, which, according to the Business Continuity Institute is “a key management discipline that builds and improves organisational resilience. An effective business continuity programme is essential for any organisation that seeks to develop and enhance organisational resilience.“.
In other words, business continuity planning ensures the continuation of your business during and following a critical incident that disrupts your normal operations. It is the proactive process of understanding company weaknesses and threats in times of crisis AND, importantly, how to address them.
It means making decisions now (or soon) in a timely and considered manner, rather than on-the-fly during a disruption under the stress and pressure of the event itself.
A typical Business Continuity Plans should contain key contacts, step by step procedures, checklists and policy information. It should answer such questions as who will be affected, what issues must be addressed immediately and how the disruption will be managed. Organisations also need to conduct regular testing to ensure the BCP will actually achieve its objectives.
Why do you need a business continuity plan?
A Business Continuity Plan positions your organisation to survive serious disruption. It eliminates confusion and provides a clear blueprint for what everyone should do.
An effective plan enables businesses to react quickly and efficiently in the face of unpredictable events.
Business continuity includes different levels of response. Not everything is mission-critical, so it’s important to lay out what is most vital to keep running, and what could stand to come back online at later times.
It’s crucial to be honest about recovery time objectives (the period of time following an incident within which a product, service or activity must be resumed, or resources must be recovered) and recovery point objectives (the point to which information used by an activity must be restored to enable the activity to operate on resumption).
Not sure how to do a business continuity plan?
Follow these four steps to improve your organisation’s resilience and be ready and better prepared for the next disruption.