Table of contents
What Is Business Continuity?
Business Continuity Solutions
Business Continuity Strategy
What Is A Business Continuity Plan?
Business Continuity Plan Template
Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Plan Example
What Is The Primary Goal Of Business Continuity Planning?
What Is A Business Continuity Planner?
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan
How To Write A Business Continuity Plan?
How Often Should A Business Continuity Plan Be Tested?
Advantages of Business Continuity Planning
Disadvantages of Having a Business Continuity Planning
Importance of Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Certification
Companies That Provide Business Continuity Services
What Is Business Continuity And Resiliency Services?
Business Continuity Management System
Business Continuity Management Software
What Is Business Continuity Management (BCM)?
What is Business Continuity Management Framework?
What is Business Continuity Management Policy?
What is a Business Continuity Management Plan?
What is Business Continuity and Crisis Management?
What is business continuity exactly? If you don’t know, there is no need to worry because we will be covering every aspect of business continuity in this post. Ranging from the definition to management system and continuity plan to processes, we are going to shed a spotlight on everything. But before we do that, let us tell you that access to business continuity plans is beneficial for every organization including the airline industry, manufacturing industry, retail industry, professional services, hospitals, and others., so if you already don’t have business continuity in mind, better start thinking today.
Sure, the efforts and planning depend on the business needs but having a business continuity system is crucial. So, are you ready to take a kick-start (we promise that we won’t overwhelm you)?
Business continuity is defined as advanced preparation and planning to ensure that organizations are operating and focused on the critical business processes during alarming situations. These alarming situations include the pandemic, business crisis, natural disasters, violence, or any other event that disrupts the business operations.
It’s essential to plan and prepare for such situations (the ones that can restrict the business operations) but also for the situations that can adversely influence the business functions and services. Business continuity involves proactive identification, planning, and creation of strategies that streamline business operations. The general aspects included in business continuity involves the following;
- Communication standards with vendors, customers, third parties to ensure optimal support and information transmission
- How to provide the products and services to customers
- Timing and orders for restoring the business functions
- Supporting employees during alarming situations
- Technology for supporting the business functions and features
- Backup processes for when technology is absent
- Relocation of processes and people in business locations
- Organization and teams for managing the alarming situations
- Dependencies of business processes
- Regular practices for validation of plans and actions
- Ensuring adequate staffing for events
- Documentation of every action and step during the situations
The business continuity solutions are designed to improve the business processes but having the right solution is important for that. It is important to choose the right vendors because high-end business continuity solutions help companies achieve more with the right systems and processes in place. While, the conventional solutions included slow response time and physical storage, modern business continuity solutions include improved connections with higher fluidity.
The business continuity solutions should promise zero downtime and disruption. It is better to opt for the solutions that are designed with cloud infrastructures as it promises unlimited storage. That being said, the data access will be quicker and the data will be retrievable, searchable, and properly organized. While you are choosing the business continuity solutions, make sure to get the backup for physical as well as digital equipment.
The business continuity strategy is a crucial step in the business continuity management planning process. This is the concept-oriented summary of different strategies that will be implemented during alarming situations. Business continuity strategy involves different strategies, such as crisis response strategy, mitigation strategy, and recovery strategy.
The mitigation strategy is drawn out from the risk assessment points. Businesses need to review the high-risk factors for mitigating the risks. With a mitigation strategy, you have to consider if the controls are ineffective and the causes of risks. The high-risk threats must not be ignored. With this strategy, the threats are identified and actions are implemented for lowering the risks.
The objective of implementing the risk-lowering steps is to prevent disruption in the business process. The companies need to place the mechanisms for detecting threats. The detection mechanisms can be used in form of monitoring tools that can identify and record errors in the business processes. For the most part, it’s impossible to prevent the errors completely but mitigation strategies can help dampen the effects.
The recovery strategies are about reestablishing and regaining the business profits that were lost during the disastrous situations. With the recovery strategy, the businesses have to outline the lost profits and determine the resources for recovery. In addition, it should include that how quickly the resources are needed and then identify the acquisition of resources.
When it comes down to resources, you need to consider if the resources need to be acquired or built. The recovery strategy can provide assurance and guarantee. In addition, you have to consider the resources that are needed for the critical business processes. Generally, it’s suggested to implement the recovery processes within the RTOs (the RTOs are suggested by the higher authorities).
Crisis Response Strategy
In case the organization doesn’t have a response plan or incident management plan, the business continuity strategy can include the crisis response strategy. With this strategy, the businesses will identify the prioritized activities that must be undertaken by companies in case of disasters. These activities generally include evacuation, communication modes, and situation-related assessment.
The business continuity plan is a basic document that identifies how the business will operate during alarming and abnormal situations. The BCP is a comprehensive plan that offers contingency routes for different business processes, business partners, assets, and the workforce. In simpler words, it identifies backup for every business aspect that can be impacted by potential disasters.
The business continuity plan has a checklist that has data backups, supplies, backup sites, and equipment. It can also determine the contact information of key personnel, emergency responders, administrations, and site providers. In the majority of cases, a business continuity plan offers in-depth strategies for how business processes are maintained during long-term or short-term disruptions.
In fact, a disaster recovery plan is an important part of BCP which identifies the strategies for handling IT-related errors, such as servers, PCs, mobile devices, and networks. It must cover the reestablishment for higher productivity for meeting the business needs. In case there are manual processes, they must be outlined in the BCP to achieve seamless business processes.
The business continuity plans have some primary aspects for application. To name a few, it must be readily available, ensure continuous business operations, and disaster recovery. The high availability means that businesses must provide the processes that help access the applications. As for continuous business operations, BCP will determine the smooth running of business during disrupting situations.
For the most part, the business continuity plan template is a tool that is used by IT teams and continuity managers for outlining the strategies. The tool outlines the strategies that keep the businesses operating, irrespective of the situations. In addition, it can identify the high-impact areas, recovery strategies, and assets.
The BCP template works as an outline of business continuity plans that assess the business impacts. In addition, it ensures that emergency equipment and processes are sufficient. These templates allow the business intelligence consultants and managers to identify the key components and functions. It can help prioritize the recovery and restoration components. The template adds the list of high-risk equipment and processes. It also identifies the most important factors for the responsibilities and roles of key personnel and gathering confirmation.
Business continuity planning is the procedure for creating a prevention and recovery system for dealing with threats to the company. The goal of business continuity planning is to enable current operations during the disaster recovery execution. Business continuity is actually an outcome of proper implementation of disaster recovery and continuity planning.
There are different standards determined by the standard bodies; these standards help in planning the tasks. Business intelligence and analytics is responsible for defining the risks that can adversely impact business operations. The planning should identify the impact of risks on operations, safeguarding processes for risk mitigation, and tests for validating the strategies.
Business continuity planning is essential for every business because disruptions can result in higher costs and revenue loss. It must be endorsed proactively for retrieving promising results. Business continuity planning is meant to help continue the business operations. However, it’s important to outline that business continuity planning might not be suitable for all businesses, we will get to it in some other post.
When it comes down to business continuity planning, there are several aspects that must be considered by the companies. First of all, it includes the business impact analysis for identifying the time-sensitive resources and functions. Secondly, it has a recovery portion where steps are identified and implemented for recovering the business processes.
Thirdly, business continuity has the organizational part which involves the development of a continuity team (the team will be responsible for managing the disruptions). Lastly, it has a training phase that outlines how the continuity team will be tested and trained. Not to forget, you can add the checklist with key information about contact information, resource list, and backup data.
The example of a business continuity plan involves the following points, such as;
- Section 1 – the document control (it is about updating the documents)
- Section 2 – general information (emergency contact information, threat types, business functions, timeframes for recovery, and recovery strategy)
- Section 3 – the activation process for plans (contact information of continuity team, personal and contact information about stakeholders, implementation process for plans, procedures, and policies about information utilization)
- Section 4 – restoration & recovery process (processes for securing the assets, recovery tasks and activities, restoration operations, and relocation of working processes if needed)
- Section 5 – contact lists (it includes the information about every stakeholder involved in continuity plan and processes, along with contact number, physical address, and email address)
- Section 6 – testing the business continuity plan is important and it must be tested as soon as it’s ready. This testing phase will check if the plan is viable or not
- Section 7 – education and training (teach the expected results, different training, and education methods, evaluation of success, and determine who will receive the information)
- Section 8 – additional information in form of the appendix (it includes supplier and partner plans, disaster recovery plans, communication, and expense tracking, and references)
The primary goal of business continuity planning is determining how the business operations will proceed during disastrous situations. It involves business intelligence services that will help companies survive and continue during different disasters, such as man-made disasters, natural disasters, bio-related disasters, ransomware, pandemics, and more. In addition, the goal is to plan for disasters before they happen and have established contingency plans. In simpler words, businesses need to think about the “what if” situations and create contingency plans.
Okay, so business continuity planners or business intelligence developers are actually the person who create the business continuity plans. They are responsible for developing, maintaining, and implement disaster recovery and business continuity strategies. They work on business impact analyses risk assessments, documentation, selection of strategies, and recovery processes.
They are responsible for planning and debriefing the mock exercises for checking the authenticity of the strategies and planning. In addition, business continuity planners update the plans and processes regularly. It is their responsibility to develop the emergency management plans for communications and decision-making, along with ensuring continuity of critical processes.
Business continuity planners analyze the impacts and risks of information and write reports for summarizing the activities. They review the crisis management, disaster recovery, and continuity plans. In particular, they create scenarios for creating the plans in case of probable disruptions.
Business Continuity Plan
It is basically a broader plan that’s designed to keep smooth business operations. These plans focus on an entire business and focus on specific situations that can create operational risks. The primary aim is to keep the operations functional, so the businesses can keep working on the business activities. If the business continuity plan is followed properly, businesses will be able to keep up with the operations and services even during emergency scenarios.
It ensures minimal disruptions during the disaster or post-disaster. In addition, it must address the needs of the vendors and business partners. It lives on as the written document for outlining the critical functions, such as functions, supplies, important records, and contact information. Truth be told, it ensures that businesses are up and running all the time.
The business continuity plans can be tested by paper tests, walkthrough tests, parallel tests, simulation, and cutover tests. For the most part, it acts as multifaced as well as single documents for managing disasters. It tends to identify the preventions, response, improvement areas, communication, risk assessment, impact analysis, and communication.
Disaster Recovery Plan
The disaster recovery plan is extremely focused and is only a specific part of the continuity plan. Generally, the scope is narrowed for focusing on the information and data systems of the business. The disaster recovery plan is designed for saving data with quick recovery in case of disasters. For the most part, these plans focus on IT operations since they affect the entire business.
A disaster recovery plan refers to the protocols outside the IT department as well. For instance, it includes the steps to be taken by recovery personnel to ensure seamless resuming of the operations. In addition, it includes the guidelines for restoring business communication.
At this point, it’s important to say that a disaster recovery plan is about the restoration process for servers, data, software applications, and files. Contrarily, a business continuity plan is the business’s way of maintaining operations during disasters. Lastly, disaster recovery is about the response process for disasters while business continuity is about how the business continues the operations during disasters.
The disaster recovery plan includes the technologies, objectives, and processes for quick recovery. In particular, it includes recovery technologies, recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives, protocols, vendors, third parties, and suppliers. In addition, it includes recovery testing as well. Also, it’s regularly updated.
To begin with, a business continuity plan is basically the series of steps that a company needs to take during abnormal situations. The plan must be written after gathering information about processes, tools, and key stakeholders. Once this information is collected, you need to write the plan according to the resources. However, the general steps for writing a business continuity plan include the following;
You need to write down the objectives of the plans, budget for recovery and disaster preparation, and grants
Setting up the governance:
You need to outline the team along with their roles, titles, contact information. It is suggested to add an organizational diagram
Writing the plan appendices and procedures:
You have to develop the agreements, processes, and resources
You need to develop the curriculum for training as well as the timeline. You need to set the training information for initial training as well as refreshing training
Generally, the experts suggest that the business continuity plans must be tested at least two times a year. This testing will help you find the errors and gaps, update the plan, and reiterate it to the stakeholders. On the other hand, some businesses also test the business continuity plans only once a year, so it depends on your business preferences.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Business Continuity Planning
It’s obvious that unexpected events may arise anytime and anywhere, ranging from accidents to natural disasters. Business continuity planning ensures that businesses are able to keep up with their operations quickly after the disruption. In addition, it can minimize the interruption costs while helping shorten the disruption period by enabling easy management of all vital business functions through a unified business intelligence dashboard.
With business continuity planning, the risks and their effects will be reduced and ensure that stakeholders are able to weather the disruption. It helps protect the reputation and improve compliance with legal and regulatory obligations. Business continuity planning helps improve insurance costs and terms while reducing the risks to customers and employees.
You might have thought that there won’t be any downsides to business continuity planning. While there are no specific downsides of having a business continuity plan but there are some limitations involved. For instance, if the business continuity planning is not up to the mark, it will deliver false security. In addition, it can throw a spotlight on the contingency plans. On top of everything, the planning can be frustrating and time-consuming, which is definitely not a downside, but essentially deter many businesses from implementing it.
First of all, business continuity planning ensures that the business is prepared for handling unexpected situations. That being said, the employees will have the training to protect the organization during disasters. Secondly, business continuity planning will ensure that your business is safeguarded and promise the security of the organization.
With business continuity planning set in place, the businesses will be well-maintained and will bounce back to shape. On top of everything, the businesses will have the roadmap to operate and provide services and products to the customers during alarming situations. Lastly, it will eventually help enhance the revenue stream and help save the business reputation.
This institute is one of the greatest options for attaining the certification. The institute is operating in the Middle East, the UK, Europe, Africa, and Asia. They are offering business continuity certifications to more than nine thousand students. For completing this course, you have to take the exam and it’s best to take it after the training phase. They are offering online as well as in-person examinations.
The course is offered by the certified information security institute which is based in Florida. They have been offering certifications since 1999. In addition to business continuity certification, they offer risk analysis certifications as well. They are offering expert-level certification for which you need the BC experience of five years.
The course is being offered by the DRI International institute and they have been around since 1988. They are offering certification courses with advanced topics, along with risk management and continuity. The best thing about DRI international is that they provide verifiable experience but you need annual recertification.
This is the DR certification provided by Mile2. The course is approved by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies. In addition, this is a certified course and makes a great option for personnel related to the defense industry or government agencies.
Companies That Provide Business Continuity Services
If you want business continuity services, Folio3 is definitely one of the leading tech companies offering comprehensive business continuity services. They have various solutions available that settle with different industries and niches.
The business continuity is pretty explainable now (it’s about ensuring streamlined business operations during and after the disasters). As for the resiliency services, they are known for providing disaster recovery and business continuity services. It ensures that businesses are supported in various environments, such as traditional environments and cloud environments. Be it business continuity or resiliency, it’s suitable for business success.
The business continuity management system is the management system that establishes ad operates the business continuity programs. In addition, it implements, monitors, and maintains the business continuity systems. The business continuity management system is developed and operated based on ISO 27031 and ISO 22301 standards.
It is an integration of interrelated processes, methods, and rules for ensuring streamlined processing of business operations. The BCMS is process-oriented and demands interactions between management and business processes. With BCMS development, the businesses need to consider the impact of affected productivity, tolerance after outages, and regulatory & legal requirements.
The business continuity management software is responsible for helping organizations address the operational disruptions after identification. The software is generally used to ensure continuous operations. It can identify the risks and estimate the potential of disruptions.
Business continuity management is the management process that outlines the potentiality of threats that can impact businesses and operations. It is responsible for building resilience in the organizations.
The business continuity management framework is responsible for driving cross-functional and continual continuity planning. It utilizes holistic management practices.
The business continuity management policy is about identifying the staffing and standard prerequisites. It must outline the responsibilities of liaisons, department heads, and members of the business continuity team.
The business continuity management plan is the document outlining how the business shall operate during unplanned events or disruptive situations. Generally, it’s known to be a comprehensive plan and has contingencies related to business processes and stakeholders. In addition, it must have a checklist of data backup, supplies, backup site locations, and equipment.
The integration of crisis management and business continuity promises seamless responses from various organizational levels. It will empower businesses to resume the services within a short span of time. It can be used for identifying operational errors and ensuring that everything is under control, even if disruptions occur.
The best part of this integration means improved communication channels. It can create interconnectedness that helps organizations achieve their goals. Moreover, it offers real-time and end-to-end reporting which promises better transparency.
The Bottom Line
Well, there you have it, everything you need to know about a business continuity plan and why it’s important. The bottom line is that business continuity is a crucial part of every business since it empowers the businesses to operate with zero gaps and disruptions. With this article, we tried to share information about business continuity, the associated process and plans, recovery plans, and crisis management. So, did you get the right idea? Are you pushed enough to implement business continuity plans? Well, if you are nodding, check our Folio3 for their top-notch services!