The Importance of a Business Continuity Plan
Business Continuity Plan
Unexpected business interruptions can occur at any time and have numerous causes: disasters like storms, fire, terrorism (domestic, international, and cyber), local emergencies as well as system and utility outages can all cause critical operational interruptions. This is why business continuity plans are important.
The purpose of the business continuity plan is to establish procedures that enable the organization to continue operations as quickly as possible in the event of these interruptions by improving the organization’s resiliency. The procedures and the foundational items needed to carry them out are available in the business continuity plan, which forms a checklist staff can follow to address an interruption of any size and scale.
Resilience is critical to today’s business. If a business is unable to operate as a result of any size interruption, the losses that occur could be devastating. The importance of business continuity planning requires the organization to look at each type of risk, determine the likelihood it might occur and create a plan that enables the business to operate, even if in a reduced capacity. This level of planning ensures the business’s revenue-producing aspects can remain operational to the largest extent possible.
This is why business continuity plans exist: to ensure the business has taken all steps it can to protect itself by understanding the impact of each specific risk and the mitigation steps that will be taken in the event it comes about.
There are many benefits of business continuity planning, most of which start with the improved stability and confidence which support outside investment, staff retention, all based on the ability of the company to continue to operate regardless of the challenge faced. It’s worth understanding the benefits clearly, as they create the business case that enables the organizations to realize the benefits of business continuity plans.
The business case for business continuity planning needs to include the reasons by business continuity planning is vital to the organization, offering enough of a statement of benefit to justify the investment. This is why business continuity plan benefits are important to understand.
Benefits and Importance of Business Continuity Plan
Businesses need more than a simple statement about the importance of business continuity plans to invest time and resources into creating their plan and its business case.
There are three questions company executives should ask:
“What is the purpose of business continuity planning?”
The purpose of business continuity plans is to identify common risks and mitigation strategies and procedures for these risks associated with disasters, both large and small. The risks include many predictable outcomes of large disasters or maybe smaller issues independent of larger events, including:
- Weather disasters that cause wind, rain and flood damage or prevent building access
- Fire or breakdowns in building infrastructure (on-premises breakdowns)
- Cyber-attacks on key business service and IT functions
- Other critical system outages
- Supply chain disruptions
- Local or national disruptions or breakdown in government stability
- Pandemic conditions that affect sales or staff
Each of these risks will require a different response. This is why business continuity plans are important: they offer the processes and training needed for the wide variety of issues that can impact portions of the business. Clearly, there’s a difference between the reaction to a cyber attack vs supply chain disruptions; even the affected departments show the variety of plans needed across the business. Similarly, there is a variation in response based on the scale: from a single building in an area to a global pandemic, the response will vary.
“What is the goal of a business continuity plan?”
Business continuity planning aims to identify which risks could impact the business and ensure the business has a plan in place to continue operations for each one. This is how business continuity plans deliver organizational resilience: the ability to quickly and effectively, so the business doesn’t suffer from these interruptions.
Not only is the business-wide continuity plan important, each and every key department needs a continuity plan for their operations and a sense of ownership over that plan.
“What is the importance of business continuity planning?”
- Revenue protection and business stability: Business continuity plans are at the top of executive’s lists because they protect the revenue streams for the business to thrive. For government and non-profits, they protect operations so the organization can meet its intended outcomes.
- Asset and staff protection: Business continuity plans protect the assets of the business and its staff from exposure to risk and help assess and ensure their safety when a disaster strikes.
- Investor confidence: Because of the ability to deliver expected revenue and/or outcomes, business continuity plans ensure confidence in the organization’s ability to deliver.
- Staff retention and stability: While planning can be a bit confronting to staff, they recognize the importance of business continuity plans to their own safety and job security.
- Improved competitiveness: The ability of an organization to continue operations no matter what occurs makes it more competitive in its industry, resulting in higher consumer confidence and potentially increasing sales.
- Ability to meet compliance needs: With increased data privacy regulations, a business continuity plan that addresses recovery from cyber-attacks increases its ability to adhere to such regulations.
- Resilience against disruption: another reason why business continuity plans are so critical is that they ensure the ability to respond to changing business conditions, supply chain disruptions, logistical issues and more, simply by having a plan in place or by having distributed business functions to lower the impact of local issues.
- Continued excellence: When an organization is resilient against disruption, it can continue to deliver quality goods and services even in bad situations. This further increases their success in their industry as they rise above less-capable competitors.
- Increased system availability/decreased downtime: As digital operations have become the hub of most business operations, increased availability and reliability contribute to the organization’s bottom line.
- Better prepared for the unexpected: Risks and potential disasters change constantly. One of the reasons why business continuity plans are important is that the exercise of creating them and the resilience that results leaves the business better prepared when new threats occur. Businesses with good plans in place will come through them more quickly and effectively.
- The level of preparation and response in the face of disaster will enhance the reputation of the business.
The Importance of Business Continuity Plans
Business operates in a world filled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, known as VUCA. In a VUCA world, long-term business planning favours a focus on resilience and agility rather than rigid operational plans. One of the reasons why business continuity plans are important is that they provide both resilience and agility: resilience with backup and redundancy capabilities, agility through the ability to change direction and adapt to changing conditions.
The importance of business continuity plans is that they train the organization to think differently and consider how the core business is designed. Older strategies might put everyone in the organization in a large building in a key metropolitan area. A focus on business continuity and VUCA might cause that business to distribute operations for resiliency in the face of a disaster. Even supply chain shortages can be local, so several distributed facilities might be better than a single facility. The likelihood of major system outages can be reduced when systems are distributed or replicated across more than one data centre. These aspects of business continuity plans provide resiliency to the organization: they can bounce back from virtually any type of disaster as they suffer a performance impact versus a total business interruption.
This level of strategic planning is the key importance of business continuity plans. The effort of pulling a business continuity plan together ensures the company identifies the most likely risks to their business. Once this is done, finding cost-effective ways of managing the risk may change how operations are designed, leading to greater resilience and agility, which in our VUCA world increase the business’ ability to thrive.
CG Technologies have helped many with their business continuity plans. They offer a range of services to protect your business data and IT infrastructure should the worst ever occur to you.
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