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Business Continuity Planning

What is Business Continuity Planning?

The process of developing a framework for preventing and recovering from potential risks to a corporation is known as business continuity planning (BCP). In the event of a crisis, the plan ensures that workers and assets are protected and that operations can resume rapidly.  

 

What Should Be Included in a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?

BCP entails identifying and defining any and all risks that could have an impact on the company's operations, making it a vital aspect of the risk management strategy. Natural disasters, such as fires, floods, or weather-related occurrences, as well as cyber-attacks, are potential threats. Once the risks have been identified, the plan should incorporate the following:  

  • Determining the impact of certain risks on operations  
  • Putting in place measures and procedures to reduce the risks  
  • Procedures are put to the test to make sure they work.  
  • Reviewing the procedure to ensure that it is current    

Identifying any and all hazards that could impair the company's operations is part of business continuity planning. The strategy should also consider how the risks may affect operations, as well as the safeguards and procedures that will be put in place to reduce the risks. Testing processes should also be in place to confirm that these precautions and procedures are effective. Finally, a review procedure should be in place to ensure that the plan is up to date.

Business Continuity Planning Example:

Consider a financial institution in a major city. It could implement a BCP by backing up its computer and customer files elsewhere, for example. If the company's corporate office were to close, its outlying offices would still have access to vital information.  

It's worth noting that BCP may be less successful if a substantial section of the population is afflicted, such as in the case of a disease outbreak.

How to develop a Business Continuity Plan?

Many businesses must take multiple steps to create a good BCP. They are as follows:  

Business Impact Analysis: This is where the company will identify time-sensitive operations and resources. (See below for more information.)  

Recovery: The firm must identify and implement procedures to regain important business functions in this section.  

Organization: It is necessary to form a continuity team. This group will design a strategy for dealing with the disturbance.  

Training: Training and testing are required for the continuity crew. Team members should also participate in activities that review the plan and strategies.  

Companies may also find it useful to create a checklist that includes crucial facts such as emergency contact information, a list of resources the continuity team may require, the location of backup data and other required information, and other relevant employees.

Note: The company should test both the continuity team and the BCP itself, in addition to the continuity team. It should be tested multiple times to guarantee that it can be used in a variety of risk circumstances. This will assist in identifying any plan flaws, which may then be addressed and corrected.  

What is Business Impact Analysis?

A business continuity impact analysis is an important aspect of building a BCP. It identifies the consequences of company operations and processes being disrupted. It also makes recommendations about recovery goals and tactics based on the data.  

To assist with a business continuity analysis, FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet. The worksheet should be filled out by business function and process managers who are well-versed in the company's operations. The following will be summarised in these worksheets:

  • The financial and operational consequences of the loss of specific corporate services and processes  
  • Identifying when the loss of a function or process would result in the business implications that have been recognised.  

Completing the study or analysis can assist businesses in identifying and prioritising the processes that have the greatest impact on the financial and operational aspects of the company. The "recovery time objective" refers to the point at which they must be retrieved.

What Is the Importance of Business Continuity Planning (BCP)?

BCPs are an essential component of any firm as businesses are vulnerable to a variety of calamities ranging in severity from minor to catastrophic. Threats and disruptions result in a loss of revenue and an increase in expenditures, resulting in a decrease in profitability. BCP is designed to assist a corporation in continuing to operate in the face of risks and disruptions.

Furthermore, businesses cannot rely solely on insurance because it does not cover all costs or clients who defect to the competition. It is usually planned ahead of time and involves key stakeholders and individuals.