A business continuity plan (BCP) is a management framework that an organization follows to provide the best business environment during any disruptive event. A business disruption is defined as an unplanned business interruption, which can affect your business performance and reputation.
You need to have a BCP in place so that you know how to get back on track after such an event. This framework helps you identify business functions necessary to continue business operations, priority of business functions, people who are important to business continuity, what business function depends on what IT service and so on.
A BCP is composed of two main parts- the business impact analysis (BIA) and business continuity planning (BCP). The business impact analysis determines the business functions which will be affected as a result of an event, while BCP includes business continuity management activities to ensure business productivity.
During the business impact analysis you need to identify people who are important for business continuity including managers, key employees etc. IT services are critical to business operations and business functions your company depends on. Once business functions and business service dependencies are clearly identified, you can plan business continuity activities.
Business continuity activities include business function prioritization, business redundancy planning and so on. You may need to develop alternative procedures for business functions priority in business disruption time or business interruption time. For example, if your company is hosting an event and there is a fire accident, business priority goes to the business function which ensures business continuity. If you have a business continuity plan in place, downtime will be less and your business can recover faster.
If your company does not have a business continuity plan yet, or it is time for a review, here are some benefits that this framework offers:
1) Improved employee responsiveness – business continuity plans define business functions that are needed to recover business operations. Employees will know what they should do when business disruptions occur.
2) Improved business performance – business continuity plan ensures business readiness with appropriate resources in place. It is easier to get back on track when you have employees and business partners who understand the importance of business continuity and business operations.
3) Decreased business disruption time – business continuity plan puts business functions and business service dependencies in place, so when business disruptions occur there will be minimal downtime for business restoration. Business disruption times will be reduced to a greater extent with a business continuity plan in place.
If you take a closer look at all these benefits it is clear a business continuity plan is a business necessity, and business managers should not overlook this framework.