Why Do You Need to Consider a Business Continuity Programme?
A good business continuity (BC) programme is essential for ensuring the smooth operation of your organisation. It helps minimise downtime and financial losses by implementing measures that allow you to quickly resume operations and reduce revenue loss during disruptive events.
There are three key reasons to consider a business conintuity programme.
Avoid reputational damage
Achieve compliance with relevant regulations
Create a competitive advantage
Avoid Reputational Damage
As we all know, reputation is key, and a BC programme plays a key role in safeguarding it. By effectively managing crises and maintaining operations during adverse events, you can mitigate potential reputational damage. This demonstrates resilience and professionalism to stakeholders, which is critical for protecting your company's reputation in the long term. Moreover, a strong BC programme enhances customer confidence by demonstrating a commitment to consistent service, even in challenging times.
Achieve Regulatory Compliance
Compliance with regulatory requirements is another important benefit of implementing a BC programme. Many industries have specific regulations and compliance standards that necessitate continuity planning, and by having a well-designed programme in place, you can ensure adherence to these requirements and avoid potential penalties, legal issues, or loss of licenses.
Create a Competitive Advantage
Finally, having a robust continuity programme can give you a competitive advantage. By demonstrating your ability to withstand and recover from disruptions, you will enhance your credibility and attractiveness to customers, investors, and partners. This resilience sets you apart from competitors and instils confidence in your stakeholders.
Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery?
Often these terms are used interchangeably, however they have contrasting roles within the BC programme. Nevertheless, the two are not mutually exclusive, and for most businesses both are important.
What is Business Continuity?
BC is exactly what the name suggests; the mechanisms put in place to ensure a business can viably continue its service during a disruption. This may mean you are not operating at 100% capacity, but at a tolerable level as defined by the relevant stakeholders.
What is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery on the other hand is the process employed to return your company back to a state of business as usual. This may be operating the same as before, or a “new normal” that still ensures the same quality of delivery. Often, both operate in tandem to deliver different but complementary effects.
How Do I Implement a Business Continuity Plan?
To implement an effective BC programme, we recommend Bridewell’s four-phase approach.
Firstly, you need to develop an understanding of the “ask.” Defining the scope of the programme helps you set boundaries and identify potential disruptions. Understanding legal and regulatory requirements is also crucial for appreciating the landscape in which you are operating.
Conducting a strategic, or initial, Business Impact Analysis (BIA) helps you to assess the critical services that underpin your business operations. This also identifies initial recovery requirements that are approved by senior management. At this time, a BC policy should also be created, which sets out clearly the scope and intent of the programme.
Conducting an operational or activity BIA allows you to evaluate the critical activities that support the services identified in the “understand” phase. This then enables you to establish recovery requirements for those critical activities. With this information you can prioritise activities to allocate resources effectively during recovery and ensure you meet organisational recovery requirements.
Risk assessment and mitigation are vital components of a robust continuity programme. By conducting a comprehensive risk assessment, organisations can identify vulnerabilities and potential threats. Understanding these risks allows you to take proactive measures to mitigate them, reducing the likelihood and impact of disruptive events. You may already have a mature risk framework that the BC programme can utilise.
After conducting a BIA, the next step is to develop a comprehensive set of BC plans to outline strategies, procedures, and actions to be taken during and after a disruption. Each plan defines the roles, responsibilities, communication channels, and key processes required to meet the recovery objectives of a specific activity/service. These plans establish “how” you meet the recovery requirements identified in the assess phase.
Finally, role training and regular testing of the BC programme ensures its effectiveness and identifies areas for improvement. Testing through simulations and drills helps evaluate response and recovery processes, and employee training ensures everyone knows their roles during a crisis.
In conclusion, investing in a well-designed BC programme offers numerous benefits to organisations. It minimises downtime and financial losses, enhances customer confidence, safeguards reputation, and provides a competitive edge. In today's dynamic business environment, having a robust programme is a wise strategic move to ensure resilience and longevity.