Risk Management is a very concerning factor for any organization willing to gain market share,
customers, revenue and reputation. Any organization doesn’t want to serve products or services
containing any kind of risks such as credit risk, market risk, regulatory risk, product risk etc. Here arises the concept of Business continuity plan. A business continuity plan (BCP) is a system/ tool used to mitigate the risk that can harm/impact an organization and ensure the smooth execution of business processes by eliminating disruptions/disasters with the recovery plan.
Risk management is related to solve or assess the risk and BCP is centralized to
know the worst case of risk when any kind of disaster, disruption, or hindrance happens. To
handle the risks found in an organization the most commonly used tool is Business continuity
What is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?
Business continuity plan definition;
A Business continuity plan is the procedure utilized to build a system for the avoidance,
rehabilitation, and betterment from the set of threats to a company. These threats can be
any natural disaster, cyber threats, or many more.
• Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is developed to defend the manpower, human resources, and
indispensable assets of the company along with the undisturbed functioning of business
whenever any disaster hits the organization.
• Any BCPs shall undergo a verification and validation process to ensure their scope, purpose, and effectiveness according to ISO 22301.
• Business continuity plan template is the tool frequently used by IT and other industries to develop recovery strategies to be used during a crisis or disaster, assess the potential risk to the business, and work on prevention measures.
Example of the business continuity plan
This is one of the examples of the Business continuity plan, it shows how the plan is developed and implemented during a disruption in an organization. This figure explains that it is the structured flow of the diagram which will be executed the way it is specified.
How to build a business continuity plan?
It’s good to hear that your organization hasn’t faced any crisis, attacks, or disaster but as we know precaution is better than cure.
a. Begin with establishing a team
It is the most important BCP step to create a team as this team will be responsible to develop a business continuity plan for an organization.
This team should contain the manager, assistant managers, administrative assistants from each department / functional team. It can vary in numbers but at least there should be one member from each.
Representatives/stakeholders from the following teams/departments can be considered for forming a cross-functional team.
- Leadership Team
- IT Security Team
- Legal & Regulatory
- Training & Compliance
- Quality (Product / Software Quality / QMS)
- Sales and marketing
- Customer Support
- Engineering & R&D
- Intellectual Property and Technology Development
- Occupational health and safety
- Security (non-IT)
- Logistics & Supply Chain
- Admin – Facility & Maintenance
To know more about team formation and team management, please read our blog post by clicking the word (link) Team Management.
b. Organize a business impact analysis
After managing a team, the next step is to do an impact analysis on your business which means the phase to understand the types of risks a business can have such as financial risk, operational risk, and physical risk. It is the initial stage of risk identification and BCP management.
- Customer loss & dissatisfaction
- Declined sales and market share
- Loss of product/service brand
- Impact on statutory and regulatory requirement, licensing, permission
- Impact on facility, building and infrastructure
- Impact on supply chain and logistics
- Impact on budget, finance and share price
- Impact on Goods and sales tax
- Impact on employee training, hiring and employment regulation
- Impact on IT security and data protection
- Impact on occupational health & safety
c. Recognize resources/infrastructure required for gap closure
This BCP step occurs after impact analysis of the threats that may disturb the organization flow.
Gap analysis refers to an identification of the resources/infrastructure the company has and is still required for recovery. This helps the business continuity planning team to get more aware of the loopholes an organization may have.
- Additional CCTV at premises for better security and real-time monitoring
- Additional fire extinguishers (Co2 or ABC) at premises
- Biometric/face recognition enabled access control for employees
- Improvement in the employee hiring process with a drug test and background check
- Improvement in server room access control process and safety with biometric access, CCTV monitoring
d. Implementing strategies for recovery
After going through all the above steps means knowing the risk and resources available, now it’s time to define strategies that will be finally executed if an organization faces any unexpected event/threats
These points must be involved in recovery strategy are-
• How will the organization continue production of the equipment or machinery that will be affected during an attack/disaster?
• How will a company recover its personnel and assets after a disruption or disaster so, the revenue can be still generated?
e. Implement BCP after verification and validation
As the organization grows, its business risks increase too. Hence, The BCP designed today may not be useful/applicable or effective tomorrow. So always test the recovery strategies designed by the team to cross-check them and get more chances to stay away from risks.
Why is a business continuity plan important?
The business continuity plan importance is discussed in the following points:
• BCP helps to react smoothly during an unexpected situation or to handle the crisis effectively.
• BCP is different from insurance as many of the companies claim that they have insurance BCP is not needed. Insurance is not responsible for managing your customer, loss in market share, loss in revenue or many more.
• BCP enables an organization to perform its operations or production with risk mitigation and prevention measures while facing any threats, disruptions, and disasters. It allows the businesses to have continuous earning and generating revenues.
• Applying BCP increases the ability of the company to get quick recovery from the critical situation that ultimately builds a good impact on the customer and to gain trust in the market.
Scope of the Business continuity plan
• The most important step is the identification of the areas of the business that need more and quick maintenance. This can be done by applying Business Impact Analysis that helps to recognize the affecting areas.
• It is necessary to focus on the required system as well as data that are frequently used in an organization.
• Always be attentive while recognizing the risk that can be more impactful such risks can be server interruption, loss of data, ransomware, etc.
• Decide the BCP team members gently, the members should possess qualities like leadership, management skill, patience, understanding, etc as it will help them to execute an uninterrupted flow of operations while recovering from the disaster.
• Along with maintaining the documentation of the BCP plan, the testing phase is also an essential step to ensure the proper functioning of the designed plan. It will reduce the chance of plan failure at the time of execution. It also needs to be updated on a regular basis with some additional technology and personnel.
Business continuity plan Vs. Disaster recovery plan
|Business continuity plan (BCP)||Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)|
|BCP is an organizational responsibility to recover its data or assets when a disruption occurs.||DR Plan is designed to continuously shift the data or assets to the exact or root location.|
|BCP is necessary for an organization as it permits it to perform at the stage of disruption or disaster.||DR Plan is an essential factor as it sustains the business after the disaster.|
|BCP is responsible to undertake the business and make it accessible which is disturbed due to several causes.||DR Plan is responsible to evaluate the recovery strategies or methods on how to restart the business after any disruptions.|
|BCP mainly focuses on the maintenance and recovery related to the IT and other industry.||DRP mainly focuses on the continuity of the business operations after any hardship.|
ISO 22301 & Business Continuity
ISO 22301 is an international standard to enable an organization to apply a business continuity plan for protecting and recovering from attacks or disasters. It is designed to prepare the strategic plan that will be implemented during an unexpected event to run a business.
ISO 22301 covers security and resilience – Business Continuity Management System (BCMS)
Refer following details about ISO 22301,
1.Business impact analysis and risk assessment
2.Buisness continuity strategies and solution
3.Resource requirements and management
4. Warning and communication
At last, Business continuity plan can be concluded as the strategically and documented approach to mitigate the risks that can probably occur during any disaster or disruption. With the help of BCP, an organization can build a system recovery plan from any potential threats and can solve the critical situation smoothly.