Years ago when I got involved in what was then called “Business Assurance Planning”, the top threats to sustain business operations were fire, power outage, and natural disasters like floods, bad weather, earthquake. All of the contingency planning centered around finding another location work out of and making sure IT systems were backed up with copies stored off site. Then Y2K brought awareness of the vulnerabilities of all the IT systems we rely upon, even in the absence of a natural disaster, and we started to think about how we would operate if our IT systems stopped functioning.
An effective Business Continuity Plan (BCP) typically includes IT disaster recovery plus contingency/backup plans for critical business operations. Most BCPs focus on restoring key business functions in terms of relocating facilities, machinery, people or equipment so that the operations necessary to keep the business alive can be carried on even if the business is hit with a flood, fire, blizzard, etc.
Small businesses have different needs, and different resources, than large corporations when it comes to Business Continuity Planning. While large corporations may decide to hire BCP consultants to craft a customized detailed business continuity plan for their operations, which can be complex and geographically distributed, small businesses may need a less complex business continuity plan template which is straight forward and easy to implement by internal resources.
BCP stands for Business Continuity Planning. BCP is a process of identifying the potential risks to your business and then evaluating how to prepare for these so that if they do happen, you have a working plan to enable your business to continue to be viable. This means that you are still able to operate at some level needed to meet customer needs and to be able to resume normal operations at a defined point in the future. Lack of adequate BCP means that a disaster could put you out of business permanently.
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a roadmap to enable a business to continue operations under adverse conditions, such as an unforeseen disaster or other unplanned interruption to the business. This includes:
Natural Disasters, such as: bad weather, flooding, earthquake, disease, etc.
In the modern business world, we have lots of quick and easy channels of communication. Remember the old days when we used to actually have to write a memo (on paper) and actually send it to someone? Now we have instant communications with email, IM, text… Things should get done faster and better now right? Well that’s not exactly how things have evolved.
One of the biggest ticket items in being successful in anything you do is making effective decisions. If you want to go somewhere, you need to decide where you want to go and follow a consistent set of directions. Remember, the most efficient way to get there is in a straight line. Same is true for projects, goals, objectives, dreams….anything you want to do. The challenge is to make an effective decision which will accomplish the objective in the least amount of time and effort and this requires the following:
Emergency Preparedness includes planning and training and taking proactive action to be ready to do what needs to be done to ensure survival and safety, in case of an unplanned emergency or disaster. Emergency Preparedness is important for families and communities as well as organizations.
Business Continuity Planning (BCP) focuses on taking proactive steps to ensure the viability of a business during and after a time of unplanned emergency or disaster. This a goes above and beyond IT disaster recovery, as the focus of IT disaster recovery is to restore IT systems and data but does not address other aspects of the business.
As organizations continue to restructure and become more lean than ever, many of us find ourselves today with more and more work to do since there are less and less people left to do it. When my parents were in the work force, if you needed a report written or a presentation put together you could ask your department secretary (later renamed the "admin") or you could go to the graphics department to help you out. Today the expectation is that you will do all of this work yourself. In addition, as people leave organizations the expectation is that business continues on as usual with no interruptions; which means their work gets added onto yours.
A common gripe in every organization I have been associated with is “we need more people” or “we have too much to do and not enough hours in the day”. Have you heard these things? It seems to be a common theme no matter how many people there are because there are always more ideas out there and it is always much faster to think or re-think of things that need to be done much faster than anyone can possibly do them.