What is a Business Continuity Plan?
Business Continuity Plan is meant to ensure that a business continues to run during the time of disaster or emergency. Many people think a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan are the two different names for the same thing. Both plans help an organization prepare for disruptive events but the two have differences too.
Disaster recovery plan is the process through which a business resumes after a disruptive event. Business continuity plan, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive approach to making sure the business keeps running during the times of unfortunate events. However, both these plans determine how a company/business will carry on its functions after disruptive events until the normal business facilities are restored.
Business Continuity vs. Disaster recovery
Disaster recovery is basically a subset of the business continuity plan. It is a process of saving data so that you can recover it during the disruptive event. The disaster can be large or small. If the entire database is lost, that calls for reconstructing the infrastructure of the company, which is very time taking and expensive. A second copy of the data is kept at a different location and a plan has to be made explaining how will the business recover and access its. Business continuity is the management and planning to ensure that the operations of the business keep running. Some of its necessary elements include location, staff, equipment and the data recovery procedures.
A Broader Picture of Business Continuity
A Business Continuity plan is quite broad. It is not just about locating, staffing and equipment. It deals with maintenance on an extensive scale. Recovery introduces the following questions for business continuity:
- What needs to be recovered first to run the business?
- What do our clients and prospects need for remaining assured of the stability of the business?
- What do our stakeholders need for continuing the order, fulfill it and deliver it?
Steps Involved in Developing a Business Continuity Plan
Step 1: Identify the Threats and Risks
What are the risks that can leave your employees, vendors, customers and business operations vulnerable? Possible threats include system failure, power outage, malicious attacks and natural disaster.
Step 2: Conduct Business Impact Analysis
What people, places, processes, providers and programs are critical to the survival of your business?
Step 3: Preventive Measures
What preventive measures do you need to take to reduce the severity of an event or prevent it in the first place?
Step 4: Test, Revise and Improve the Plan
Even if you have a document prepared, you must know that it’s an evolving strategy and the plan needs to adapt to the changing needs of the business. So, you must test, revise and improve the plan on a routinely basis.
The bottom line is that business continuity is the first line of defense against a disruptive event that can threaten the proper functioning of a business. Disaster recovery is mandatory for any organization that does not function without the essential business data. It is a smaller section of business continuity umbrella.