What is a Business Continuity Plan?
Your business continuity plan (BCP) is the first line of defense against any challenge that threatens the core functionalities of your organization’s operations. If these operations were to go down, your organization may be faced with irreversible damages to its reputation. Developing a BCP means taking the necessary steps to ensure that your business can continue to operate uninterrupted despite disaster. The plan should also be designed to reduce the time it takes to get things up and running as usual again. As a best practice, your BCP should be re-evaluated annually at a minimum, as well as whenever something in your business changes (e.g. a process, product, service, etc.) or there is an external factor impacting your business (e.g. environmental changes, new regulations, an acquisition, etc.).
A solid BCP is central to staying prepared for potential disruptions and solidifying trust with external parties such as vendors, clients or potential shareholders. Your organization has multiple business units, functions, teams and products to keep track of and having insight into which aspects are critical for internal operations and which provide critical services to your downstream dependencies is key for proper resource allocation, preventing negligence and avoiding unnecessary delays in the case of an event.
Business Continuity Risks
It’s important to actively invest time and energy into preparing for any potential risk before it manifests so that if or when it does, your BCP directs you to the necessary resources to return to business as usual.
Risks that pose a direct threat to business continuity include:
- The sudden unavailability of a key vendor-provided service
- A regional power outage
- Abandonment in leadership
- Data protection issues
- Supply chain issues
- Getting sued
- An industry strike
- Pest infestation
Without the ability to react quickly to these types of events can result in physical harm, monetary loss, fines, reputational damage, data integrity loss, litigation and more.