Business Continuity Management
To operate every small to the large scale of business, Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and its audit is essential. BCP is also called a management process which facilitates organizations to resume or continue operations under adverse or abnormal conditions. Nowadays, a pressing need for Business Continuity Plan has risen to keep businesses and organizations safer from the probable catastrophic. Businesses cannot be sustainable and safe unless they are resilient to disasters. A BCP is a plan to help ensure that the business processes can continue during a time of emergency. In this case, an emergency might include any kind of case where the business is not able to function under normal conditions. Therefore, businesses required to look at all such potential threats and come up with a Business Continuity Plan.
According to ISO 22301 standard, the business continuity plan is asserted as “documented procedures that guide the organization to respond, recover, resume and restore to a pre-defined level of operation following a disruption.” (Clause 3.5).
Basically, BCP focuses on developing plans and procedures for the future business. However, it does not include the analysis that lies on the basis of fixed planning. All the needed planning are required elements of business continuity management and its audit that are necessary for enabling a successful contingency planning.
Purpose of Business Continuity Plan and audit
Business Continuity Plan and its audit for time and again is found to be the optimal structure for smaller and midsized companies. Hence, in order to plan long-term sustainability for the businesses, it is indispensable to take BCP as an ideal;
- Before conducting a BCP it is important to analyze the organizational threats
- Easily accessible to management contact information
- Information on where personnel should go if there is a disastrous event
- Information on data backups and organization site backup
- Inclusion all facets of the organization
- Aware everyone in the organization in regard to BCP
Importance of Business Continuity Plan
BCP revolve solely around could-happened but might never happen. Thus, companies and business houses that have a strong continuity program in place realize several benefits. Its importance is strongly reflecting in the following ways.
- It has the potential to save lives.
- We focus on employees & company lives not only the company. If the company has not established an evacuation plan then it is vital to create emergency and evacuation plan that prepares people in advance.
- BCP builds confidence among employees and customers.
- Also, BCP indicates that the companies are transparent about their ongoing business continuity efforts, and it reflects the fact that companies are showing a high level of commitment to business continuity.
- BCP facilitates valuable business data.
If the companies are in operation since a long period of time, then they also produce a great deal of data. Hence, in order to safeguard those data, BCP is much more significant.
- BCP helps mitigate financial risk.
In order to mitigating financial risk, BCP is important. It mitigates not only the business risk, but also the financial risk. By creating a more resilient network or putting the right backup processes and procedures in place, the risk of a data breach would arise. For example, a substantial power or data loss, or systems failure.
- BCP gives competitive advantage.
Business continuity plan might not be implemented by every company/ business competitor. Consequently, a company can also use it as a competitive advantage.
- It preserves organization’s brand value and culture
There has been a noticeable increment in emphasis on resilience and recovery related to everyday tasks as a result of strengthening of business continuity programs. Employees are applying business continuity concepts automatically, whenever they develop a new product or service.
Business Impacts – How Long Can Business Survive?
To manage the business effectively, top management needs to play a strategic role. Although businesses are operating continuously, some unavoidable circumstances, can occur at any time though on a limited basis. Hence, the effective market strategy will be prudent at the pandemic situation. With this broader perspective in mind, pandemic preparations can be in leverage for greater management awareness and perhaps, more of a competitive edge for the companies. This is true for all types of entities. In addition, one thing needs to be considered that in any situation, the government can be more competitive and forward-thinking which gain leverage with the taxpayers, whether they are individuals or businesses. If the business houses do not have a proper business continuity plan, they will not be able to function smoothly due to the lack of required resources and have the following business impacts;
- Reduction in the workforce which leads to reduction in output capacity.
- Reduction in consumption which leads to decrease in demand.
- Also, Reduction in revenue resulting in less profit which in turn leads to less taxes for paying.
- Lack of consumer demand which leads to the employee’s being laid off; leading to loss of benefits like healthcare insurance, etc.
In addition, once people make investments in business, they feel like a wheel in motion. It means, when business failures increases, it results in more unemployment, decrease in personal disposable income, increased demand for government services (at all levels), government impact, and substantial drop in revenues (tax base drops), and hence, the government will have increased demand for services and it depicts the social unrest ferments – bankruptcy mentality.
Crisis management approach
Since BCP lies in its crisis management approach, which underpins how to enhance its business in case of any crisis scenario. Furthermore, to run business in the pandemic situation as said above, the business needs to make good strategies. Therefore, the organizations might develop various strategies for surviving their business in case of a pandemic situation. Similarly, strategies method might be different and mention below which tries to recognize the social and technical characteristics of business interruptions.
- Top management emphasizes the contribution that business may make to the resolution of interruptions.
- Business owners or top management may build resilience to business interruptions through processes and changes to operating norms and practices.
- Recognize the work alternative, if possible from house or organization itself. (It might be possible only for the service providing organization. For example; online media or E-commerce business)
- Top management need to identify, if managed properly, interruption do not inevitably result in crises.
To summarize, Business Continuity Plan assists the organization to create a different strategy in response to any crisis situation. The strategy use by the business in order to complete its day-to-day activities while ensuring continuous operations. So, each organization needs skills, communication, and responsibilities to ensure its smooth functions. Also, related to business continuity are its systems, network, and industry-specific technology that enables continuous operations and backups for applications and data. Not only that, the business continuity plan also facilitates in providing a disaster recovery site if the primary site is destroyed. Hence, the business continuity plan becomes a source reference at the time of a business continuity event/crisis and strategy to deal with the crisis.