As Business Continuity Professionals, we’ve seen a fair share of internal or external disruptions that have halted or slowed, the organization’s ability to meet its mission and long-term objectives.
Whether there were caused natural disasters, cyber-related attacks or technology failures, business continuity planning is paramount for organizations of any size.
By utilizing an industry-leading Business Continuity Management (BCM) Program framework of processes and guidelines, your organization can meet, measure and monitor its operational goals – from delivering services to its clients to protecting the most valuable asset – the people.
Only 32% of organizations have developed and tested their Business Continuity Plans (BCP)
Many organizations have attempted to justify not having an implemented BCM Program – likely believing the defence that “it won’t happen to us” will hold. Here, we’ve listed some of the reasons and misconceptions about the lack of business continuity planning:
- The time spent developing and implementing a BCM Program would take away our focus on the mission-critical business processes.
- Most of the BCM Program processes just outline common-sense procedures.
- BCM Programs are easy to create in-house and not worth the time.
- BCM Program is only meant for larger businesses. We are too small to implement a formal business continuity or emergency management program.
- Our region is not prone to natural disasters.
- BCM Program is essential but not a top priority at the time.
- Our business has very minimal external risks.
- We have a data backup and an IT disaster recovery solution (outsourced)
While the above excuses may seem somewhat justifiable, they are misconceptions by far. No matter the size of your organization or a budget, a BCM Program is undoubtedly an essential risk management foundation upon which your organization should build to meet its objectives and mission effectively.
What is a Business Continuity Management (BCM) Program?
The Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII) defines a BCM Program as “Ongoing management and governance process supported by top management and appropriately resourced to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to identify the impact of potential losses, maintain viable recovery strategies and plans, and ensure continuity of products and services through training, exercising, maintenance and review.”
The BCM Program provides your organization with the ability to respond to threats, minimize the impacts and protect the viability and business interests of your organization.
When looking to implement the BCM Program, you’ll want to ensure that the following is addressed:
- Key Services and Functions are identified and prioritized – this process identifies the most significant activities within your organization, that must stay operational or restored to keep your business functional – Business Impact Analysis (BIA).
- Business Risks and their Impacts have been identified – the process of identifying risk and impacts within the organization and external to your organization that are most likely to disrupt your business operations – Risk Assessment process.
- Business Continuity Plan and Recovery Strategy is developed – the BCP shall outline processes and procedures and an overarching set of tools that will ensure that you can quickly restore your business services and functions in the event of unforeseen circumstances that threaten to jeopardize your ability to meet organizational objectives.
- IT Disaster Recovery Plan (IT DRP) alignment – the IT DRP alignment with a BIA and Risk Assessment findings will ensure that the IT application recovery order meets the business requirements (Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives).
- BCP and ITDR Plans are tested – all the developed plans have to be tested and exercised to find the potential gaps within the response and recovery procedures.
- Stakeholder training and Awareness – it is imperative to train your organization’s stakeholders on how to respond to emergencies. The training shall be delivered to the senior leadership team (Crisis Management Team – CMT) and to all stakeholders who are responsible for business functions recovery.
BCM Program vs Project Dilemma
As outlined earlier, a BCM Program is a management process, which should be continually reviewed and maintained, and like many projects, it should never end. All organizations will evolve and undergo business transformations, re-organizations or mergers, and keeping up with those changes will ensure its relevance and support business continuity efforts.
The BCM Program stakeholders (people) will change as well over time. Many of them will change their roles, enter or exit the organization, and it is imperative to be on top of those changes.
This continual BCM Program maintenance approach will ensure that your organization matures its business resilience processes and position well to weather unexpected events.
22% of businesses unable to recover within ten days will never reopen or open with significant financial losses
With a BCM Program and Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place, your organization will benefit significantly from an improved operational resiliency while minimizing the loss of revenue and affect the relationship with clients and consumers.
What’s more, having a BCM Program can drastically improve communication within your organization and with your customers, suppliers, vendors, and other key stakeholders.
Not only does a BCM program help during a crisis, but it also thwarts having to “put out” daily operational (and internal) “fires” that would otherwise take place in a chaotic or toxic work environment.
In conclusion, a BCM Program is vital to the survival and success of your organization and its resources. It’s time to join the 32% of thriving and resilient businesses that are prepared for the unexpected with a successfully implemented and tested BCM Program.
Alextec Advisory is a Licensed DRI International Partner. We offer a number of Business Continuity Management Courses and Workshops.