Magazine / Emergency & Crisis Management May 29, 2023 9:15:00 AM

Business Continuity Plan: what is it and why do you need one?

Nowadays, Business Continuity is increasingly a necessity for both for large as well as small and medium-sized companies. If business is interrupted, there is a significant loss of time and resources, which will almost certainly affect the company's balance sheet. Adding to the high costs to be incurred are risks to the security of the entire infrastructure and damage to brand reputation, should such business interruptions become more noticeable.

Unfortunately, unforeseen events are the order of the day and cannot always be avoided. However, it is possible to learn how best to manage them by preparing a Business Continuity Plan.

But what exactly is a Business Continuity Plan?

The Business Continuity Plan summarises the strategy adopted by a medium or large organisation to prepare for possible risks and threats and to maintain high productivity. It is a compendium of procedures aimed at always ensuring business continuity, through the adoption of prevention and response systems in the event of theft, cyber-attacks, natural disasters, interruptions and malfunctions.

In other words, the objectives of a Business Continuity Plan are 2:

  1. To help organisations identify threats and anticipate their consequences.

  2. To ensure the organisation's survival in the event of incidents and the protection of company assets.

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Business continuity strategy: how to understand if it is effective

A business continuity strategy, especially within a critical infrastructure, must be measured in terms of effectiveness. To do this best, several indispensable factors must be considered. Firstly, response time, i.e., reducing the time required to detect and restore the operating system after an interruption or critical event. Added to this are the quality and reliability of the procedures introduced.

The strategy, however, is only one step in the journey towards maintaining business continuity. To guarantee Business Continuity, it is important to be able to define the responsibilities of the various actors involved in the organisation and, from the point of view of the technological infrastructure, to identify the priority IT processes that cannot be interrupted.

Developing a Business Continuity Plan in 5 steps

The Business Continuity Plan is an indispensable tool for an organisation; it is obvious that the investment it requires must be made wisely, structured, and well-integrated with the business processes. There are five steps to follow in developing an effective Business Continuity Plan:

  1. Risk Analysis: identify potential threats and vulnerabilities in the organisation to assess how they might affect business processes.

  2. Prioritisation: plan the actions to be taken to protect the most vulnerable areas, the most valuable resources, and the most critical processes.

  3. Implementing the plan: establish strategies and objectives, responsibilities, procedures, and financial resources. Make the Business Continuity Plan operational, provide training and exercises to employees, and ensure that all systems involved are ready.

  4. Crisis management: adopt a collaborative approach involving the organisation's employees at all levels.

  5. Monitoring and updating: constantly monitor changes in the business environment and update the Business Continuity plan accordingly.

The Business Continuity Plan fulfils an essential purpose: to prevent incidents or minimise their damage. Preventive planning therefore makes it possible to react quickly to any event that may interfere with routine operations, restoring business continuity in good time. The results are clear: more efficient and resilient organisations even in an emergency situation.

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