What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A set of processes and procedures (your go-to document) that will give you a good chance of remaining in business when something happens which could put you out of business, such as a natural or man-made disaster, threats or catastrophic failures.
BCP Builder Community Feedback: What is a Business Continuity Plan?
- This document must be a living document which is updated/reviewed minimum every quarter to ensure new process are included and critical staff confirmed. It must also be tested at least twice a year.
- That traditional definition of Business Continuity seems irrelevant for the present age. Business Continuity Planning in my opinion is a ‘culture of resilience’ built into an organization that allows its people to respond effectively to threats.
- A plan is only as good as its execution. Most are never seen or understood by the very people they are intended for. You can validate by asking!
- My experience is that in most organizations these are outdated documents that are locked up in various places and sometimes carried to and from work in the briefcases of executives for years.
- Business Continuity Planning is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats and catastrophic failures to a company/organization, to put as my son did when he was ten, “I plan for the building being gone and the people being dead.”
- Moving to Business as Usual from a state of disruption. The process and documentation is the plan.
- It is a set of processes and procedures that will give you a good chance of remaining in business when something happens which could put you out of business.
The below video “What is Business Continuity” has been prepared by Alastair Lee of The Continuity Advisor.
The importance of Exercising
- I don’t think a Business Continuity Plan should be defined as a document. It is possible to have a document which nobody reads. It is possible to have a document which has words that cannot be turned into real actions. A plan is not the same as a document because a written plan which cannot be executed is not a genuine plan. To know if a plan can be executed then you have to execute it to some extent – so instead of talking about a ‘living’ document it is better to talk about the activities that staff will perform to verify that the plan is executable. In other words, the plan should be routinely tested in practice. If you have a plan which is tested in practice then you know where your document is wrong, and needs to be changed.
- Conduct an exercise to check your ability to survive in a disaster situation. However, the irony is that most organizations only do this to satisfy the auditors and governance.
- Our Business Continuity Planning approach is that it should be tested rather than a stand-alone document, a full blown test would be good, twice a year (based on how critical the area is). The plan should be a short and simple living document.
If one viewed a business as existing because of its customers (as opposed to existing for its shareholders and employees), then I would say that Business Continuity Planning is a state of organizational and operating readiness that ensures the availability of appropriate internal and external resources to service customers at all times.
Business Continuity Planning Analogy
A passenger aircraft never takes off without knowing what the diversion route will be if anything goes wrong. They always land with a reserve payload of fuel. Most car drivers wouldn’t contemplate a long journey without a spare tyre in the boot. If it looks like rain you take an umbrella. A Business Continuity Plan provides the equivalent of a diversion destination for the business, spare capacity to carry on, equipment that will keep you going for a while, and a response when you can see a problem coming at you. In short, its a business version of what we do all the time.
If you want to increase your Organizational Resilience, start with preparing a Business Continuity Plan and check out BCP Builder’s Business Continuity Planning Templates.