Business Continuity Planning Advantages and Disadvantages

Business Continuity Plan Advantages and Disadvantages

“Always be prepared.” Business continuity planning ensures the organization is prepared for anything that could interrupt normal operation, but are there disadvantages to business continuity plans? Yes, there are both benefits of business continuity planning and disadvantages of business continuity plans. For example, think about what happens when you have a plan for a particular scenario, and it’s been documented and rehearsed over and over again. The staff can execute it in their sleep. Then something different that was not even on the organization’s radar occurs, and the business is brought to its knees. This is one disadvantage of business continuity planning.

Considering the advantage and disadvantage of business continuity planning is a core requirement to building a sufficient plan. Planners need to understand all the benefits or advantages of business continuity planning and prepare for the disadvantages of having a business continuity plan. These disadvantages are risks in and of themselves, and like other risks to business continuity, they too can be mitigated once identified and understood.

Advantages of Business Continuity Planning

There is a cost of not having a business continuity plan. It generally shows itself when people look at the businesses that are no longer in operation after a wide-scale business interruption. It could be a global pandemic, earthquake or tsunami in wide regions, terrorist attack, or broad-scale power outage. Who was no longer in business when things return to normal? Generally, it’s the organizations that had no business continuity plan. The cost of not having a plan at all can be:

  • Loss of revenue due to inability to provide customer-facing services
  • Loss of reputation due to inability to operate
  • Complete inability to cover the costs of the losses or obtain further investments due to the lack of confidence in the organization

The benefits of business continuity planning address these areas and include:

  • The ability to reestablish operations after an incident or emergency: One of the advantages of business continuity plans is a level of organizational resilience that enables operations to continue in the face of events that could interrupt service or recover quickly, before there is a tremendous impact the business and its reputation.
  • Confidence through improved communication: With a plan in place that includes clear communications to customers and investors, confidence in the organization increases even during a short service interruption. Customers will tolerate short disruptions when they understand the situation and know that there is a plan in place to restore service and when they know how long that will take. One of the advantages of business continuity plans is that they enable this clarity of communication.
  • Improved compliance: Business continuity plans improve compliance by enabling the organization to secure private data from theft (both physical and cyber data) as well as generally providing controls the organization has in place to protect it from events that threaten its livelihood.
  • Lower recovery and insurance costs: There is a cost to last-minute business needs. Advanced planning enables the organization to know what it needs for recovery and obtain or contract for its use in advance. While there might be maintenance fees associated with it, having a plan that includes additional working space or data centre capabilities frees the organization from having to find space or data centre services when they become high-demand items due to a widespread need. Additionally, business insurance costs are lower when the organization can prove lower risk due to better planning.
  • Reduced risk to employees: Business continuity planning that includes drills keeps employees safe. Whether it’s post-pandemic office protocols or routine emergency drills, planning increases the likelihood of survival in a disaster.

These are only some of the highest-level advantages of business continuity planning, but even they make it clear that there are significant benefits to business continuity plans. But if that’s the case, why are there disadvantages of business continuity planning, and what are they?

Disadvantages of Business Continuity Planning

The disadvantages of business continuity plans stem from the planning activities themselves and from the traps the organization might encounter.

  • The first of the disadvantages of business continuity plans was mentioned earlier: the trap of having a false sense of security. This false sense of security causes an organization to get complacent. They might not go back to the plan and ensure it addresses new risks with a plan in place. Thus, they have a plan, but it doesn’t take newer risks like cyber-terrorism or pandemics into account, even though these are now more commonplace.
  • The resources needed for business continuity planning is also one of the disadvantages of business continuity planning. This is a time-consuming exercise, first for developing the risk assessment and then for developing the many plans that are needed. Rehearsals can also be time-consuming. In addition to taking time, executing portions of the plan may require funding with little apparent return on investment. Unless or until disaster strikes.
  • Business continuity planning reveals weaknesses, and this can be confronting to the staff responsible. They may become afraid of losing their jobs for not having a backup plan already in place. They may become concerned for their safety or lose confidence in the organization.

By now, it might have become clear that the disadvantages of business continuity plans occur more as business continuity plan challenges. This is a good way to think of them, as identifying the challenges within your own organization makes it easier to begin addressing them. In fact, each of these business continuity plan challenges can be treated as a risk and mitigated.

How to overcome the Business Continuity Challenges

Looking at overcoming business continuity planning challenges as another part of the risk management aspect of business continuity planning makes it easy to address these challenges. It’s worth considering how:

Complacency is Easy to Address by Having a Procedure to Review all Risks and Plans Annually

This is also a good time to engage outside services in the program. It’s worth having a business continuity planning consultant review the overall set of risks and plans and having cyber-security experts conduct penetration testing and other security checks. This is one of the benefits of focusing on the disadvantages of business continuity plans; it forces the organization to think about complacency and how to address it.

The Costs and Resources

The costs and resources needed for business continuity planning can be addressed by fully understanding all the advantages of business continuity plans and building a business case for the program. This business case should include financial models for developing the plan, executing steps that must be done ahead of time as well as including financial models for the potential losses caused by each risk.

The Staff Confidence Challenge

The Staff confidence challenge requires a well thought out organizational change management and communications plan. Bringing staff into a business continuity planning effort without developing their understanding of the goals and objectives is a recipe for disaster. If they understand the goal is to protect the organization in the future and not to criticize them for not having a backup generator, for example, they will be more accepting of the program. It may also be worth bringing them together to talk about the fear and doubt that may occur during the planning process. This program is being put in place for their safety, and while it might be confronting to talk about building collapse, knowing where to go and how to help each other makes surviving the collapse more likely for those who are prepared.

To make good use of both the advantages of business continuity planning and the disadvantages, it is worth doing some internal brainstorming to see which challenges the organization will face and building a list of the ways the challenges can be addressed. This increases the likelihood of success for the overall program.

Contact us about creating a business continuity plan for your business or to find out how CG Technologies can help you with any business continuity challenges you may have.

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