Thanks, I am glad you asked.
If you are like me, you may already know what business continuity is and its purpose in your organization. However, most of the people I run into on a regular basis, still do not know what business continuity in fact is.
In addition, there are many misconceptions about business continuity that I run into all the time, and by people seemingly in the know. So, let’s begin by stating what business continuity is in simple layman’s terms without the overly complicated industry and corporate definitions.
Ready? Here we go:
Business Continuity: is how we keep our business or organization running after a disruption, or disaster impacts and threatens our normal business operations.
To expand a little more on that – anything that impacts your business, be it a power outage, loss of a key supplier, a disruption to your supply chain, a major regional disaster, medical emergency, or even something positive, like a major sudden increase in orders can have an impact on how your normal business operations run.
Business Continuity is the planning, strategizing and implementation of such plans to develop a program to effectively run your business through the crisis.
Some people and organizations might call business continuity by other names. Such as, Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Management, Disaster Preparedness, Crisis Management. While I do not want to get into the rights and wrongs of terminology; I will point out that Disaster Recovery is actually a component of business continuity and is solely focused on an organizations data and information technology areas.
When it comes to Business Continuity it touches on several key areas. These key areas are:
- People (which includes employees, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders)
- Processes (how you complete tasks, projects, produce and deliver goods and services)
- Places (Buildings, locations, etc.)
- Information Technology
- Security (both physical and virtual)
In many cases, I have seen businesses focus on only one or two of these areas. Such as, IT and processes thereby falling far short of a complete and successful business continuity plan. Additionally, consideration needs to be given to business assets, insurance, regulations, contractual agreements, and several other key areas.
Also, it is important to consider the criticality of each business process, business unit, supporting applications, and personnel. Solid programs will also consider cost benefit analysis, the costs of downtime, and in some cases the ROI if the program.
For Business Continuity to be effective it must be a program that is working on continuous improvement, maintenance, and exercising of the plans. It will not work if you look at this as simply something you do once per year and forget about it.
If you could use help or guidance contact us at 877-565-8324.
Best wishes with your business continuity planning.