Businesses face numerous pressures that can threaten the organization’s viability and sustainability if a disaster occurs. Potential threats include:
- Natural (tornado, earthquake, hurricane, flood, etc.)
- Environmental (fire, network failure, power outage, etc.)
- Business market (legal/regulatory issues, competitive pressures, reputational risks, etc.)
- Social (terrorism, pandemic, social media, network intrusions/attacks, etc.)
- Human (strikes, work stoppages, etc.)
- Financial/operational (cost of capital, inherent process risks, calendar-based risk, etc.)
This list certainly isn’t all-inclusive. Many other threats could interrupt normal business operations. It’s imperative that specific threats to a particular organization be identified and prioritized by developing a Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis (RA/BIA). Upon completion of an RA/BIA, a Business Continuity Plan can be created.
Business recovery doesn’t just happen! An organization must develop a plan that identifies all critical business processes and activities. Over the years, various reports have indicated that 50 percent to 60 percent of businesses that didn’t have a plan in place when a disaster occurred were out of business three years later. I’m not sure what the number is today, but it’s extremely difficult to restore critical business processes without a plan. Even with a plan, recovery may be difficult, but at least you will know the who, what, when, where, why and how of fully restoring critical business processes and activities.
As we work with organizations on business continuity planning, we find the terms “business continuity planning” and “disaster recovery plan” used interchangeably—there’s confusion when distinguishing between the two. They are complementary activities that must occur before a disruption incident occurs (planning) and during and after an incident (response and business resumption).
Business continuity planning is a proactive documented and tested exercise aimed at avoiding or easing the impact of a risk by following a “road map,” which gives the organization the ability to provide critical services and support to maintain its viability before, during and after a business interruption. A disaster recovery plan is a set of procedures designed to restore normal operations and is part of the business continuity plan.
Business continuity planning can have numerous benefits, including:
- Identification of critical business processes
- Process improvement
- Technology improvement
- Fewer/shorter disruptions
- Higher-quality services
- Competitive advantages in the marketplace
- Fulfillment of required industry/government standards & regulations
Business continuity is all about the business’ survival. Disaster recovery is about partial restoration of business processes during a disaster event and eventual re-establishment of normal business operations.
Are you prepared? For more information about business continuity and disaster recovery planning, contact us.