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What is the Difference between business continuity and crisis management

Part of the problem with establishing a solid business continuity plan is that it’s often confused with crisis or emergency preparedness. Whereas crisis preparedness is about dealing with an incident immediately and focussing on responding to threats to the organisations reputation.  Business continuity deals with the recovery aspect, addressing the  question of "How quickly can we get this business back into operation before unacceptable losses or impacts are sustained?"

In a nutshell, business continuity is the practice of maintaining the viability of operations under duress. It covers a wide range of events from natural disasters, pandemics, cyber and technology disruptions, fire, equipment failures, supply chain disruptions, terrorism—anything that will require the temporary adaptation of operational activities to overcome a disruption. “Temporary” may mean hours, days or weeks depending on the nature and the scale of the disruption.
Business continuity involves the strategic and tactical actions and teams that would respond to an incident and initiate required recovery processes

Crisis Management, on the other hand,  focusses on the  protection of the organisations brand and reputation during a major incident which could be due to some kind of operational disruption (in which case the organisations business continuity arrangements will likely be invoked) or it may be non-operational such as a product recall, employee malfeasance or an error which impacts customers.  With these kinds of crises, although there is no damage to assets, systems or people, the organisations reputation is on the line and can be irreparably damaged if steps are not taken to take control of the situation. Crisis management, then, is ensuring that the organisation is prepared to protect and defend public and investor perception of the organisation’s competence, probity, ethics and trustworthiness.

  • Steve Dance Managing Partner
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