Why is a Business Continuity Plan Important?

Organisations today face an unprecedented number of exposures. The frequency and severity of cyber-attacks, weather-related incidents and civil disturbances show strong signs of being on the increase. Combined with a growing reliance on an intricate network of technology and supply chains leave businesses susceptible to a wide range of existing and emerging risks. Managing these risks by developing a business continuity strategy is key, not only to the survival of an organization should a crisis emerge, but also to assure its customers it can be trusted to  continue to operate during a major incident .

Why Business Continuity?

Business continuity planning is something many organisations acknowledge as important, but often don’t get around to doing effectively. Misconceptions related to the organisations ability to withstand or recover from an operational disruption abound and include:1. "Our people will know what to do in an emergency."

Even the best employees cannot be expected to know what to do when disaster strikes. Leaving each to respond in his or her own way only adds to the confusion of an event. Having a well-designed and proven business continuity plan in advance and providing employees with the opportunity to works through it ensure that processes and resources are fit for purpose — helping to ensure an organised, effective recovery across different impact scenarios.

  1.  "We have insurance to cover our losses."

Insurance alone is NOT a business continuity strategy. Proper coverage is a significant and important part of the plan. But it may not fully cover some of the peripheral damages from an event, like loss of customers, loss of market share, setbacks in development or release of a new product. Moreover, most insurance carriers will insist that any organisation seeking business interruption insurance has a business continuity plan in place and that the plan is tested regularly.

2. "We do not have the time or resources to develop a business continuity plan."

Development and maintenance of a business continuity plan is an investment in the company. Fixed costs will continue after an event, whether or not the organisation is open for business. The faster the return to normal operations, the more likely the recovery from the incident impact will be successful.

3. "We have IT DR plans – what more do we need?"

Business continuity is a proactive plan to avoid and mitigate risks associated with a disruption of operations. It details steps to be taken before, during and after an event to maintain the financial viability of an organization and maintain customer goodwill.

Disaster recovery is a reactive plan for responding after an event. It deals with the safety and restoration of critical personnel, locations, and operational procedures after a disaster, and forms part the organisations overall business continuity plan.

4.Business Continuity Planning for a Competitive Advantage

Business continuity planning is more than prudent business — it helps your company remain better positioned to recover from the business interruption, property damage, financial impact, and loss of life that a natural disaster or man-made event may cause. If your organisation fits into a global supply chain (which nearly all do) or if you plan to work with government bodies – a business continuity plan will be expected by your customers and the absence of one could exclude an organisation for pitching for business in certain sectors

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