There are many uncertainties in business and the more a business grows, the more the uncertainties. All these uncertainties are risk factors associated with businesses and they could arise due to expansion to a new geographical location, promotion of team members, and production of a new line of product or seeking partnerships to strengthen the market share. The ability of the business owner to ensure the business can continue its operations in spite of the numerous risks at any point in time could determine whether a business would go bankrupt or evolve.
What Is the Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is a document that outlines the actions or measures that should be taken should there be a disruption in the form of an associated risk such as fire outbreak, loss of equipment, death of the business owner, or a collapsed building.
The ability to get back into business despite the disruption is key to business success. As customers will continue to demand for the products and services and the inability to meet these demands would lead to a huge loss in market share and more effort to win them back if it takes a longer time for the business to get back on its feet.
A business continuity plan is significant in the following ways:
- Availability and Accessibility: The plan ensures that a business is sustained and can continue to offer its products and services regardless of any disruption. The use of Information Technology (IT) infrastructures such as cloud computing help to save and backup all documents such as receipts, invoices, purchase orders, bank transactions, log sheets of staff, etc. online and in real-time.
- Uninterrupted operations: The plan ensures that systems that govern the smooth operations of a business can be installed immediately after the disruption so that operations can continue seamlessly.
- Disaster recovery: A secondary source of ensuring a business can sustain itself back into operations is key when it comes to disaster recovery and its management. Disaster recovery could be the ability to get back from where everything stopped. A website that has experienced cyber-attack and is the major source of engaging customers should have a sub-domain hosted separately so that it can get back live quickly and recover swiftly. This way, the company will minimize its losses.
Processes for designing business continuity plan
While planning to have a holistic document for the business continuity plan, the following metrics are important to ensure a robust design is carried out
- Business prioritization: The starting point for planning a business continuity plan is to identify and quantify the risks, threats, and vulnerabilities. This should be done across all platforms and departments.
- Adoption into IT: Take the input from business prioritization and perform an overall business continuity program design. Information Technology gives a competitive advantage when it comes to risk management as it provides the infrastructure to safeguard and ensure easy recovery and accessibility to files saved with the aid of cloud computing. The risks identified from the business prioritization should be adopted into workable IT systems.
- Manage: The ability to utilize what has been designed prior to a gap caused by a breach requires discipline. Hence, it is important to update the files regularly so that you can enhance the capacity of the team to utilize the systems designed effectively.
The key components of business continuity are:
Strategy: Strategy helps to create a secondary system in place while ensuring that the day-to-day operation runs smoothly.
Organization: Organization of the key components of the internal and external resources that keep the system running, most especially the human resources, their responsibilities, and opportunity to communicate output through a regular assessment of all systems ensures organization of the overall plan for business continuity.
Software applications and management: Any Software application that is used regularly for business operations should be backed up.
Processes: Documentation of all processes with specific terms in the form of a flow chart or process map, such that any team member can begin to deploy the knowledge from the files without needing a third party to make explanations.
Technology: Every form of technology that supports the overall existence of the business, such as the infrastructures for production, maintenance, repairs, use of energy, etc. should be documented.
A business continuity plan is important because it becomes a reference point should any form of disaster occur and helps to provide the framework for recovery to deal with different forms of risk and the ability to return to operating again.