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What is Business Continuity Management?

Published on September 05, 2018

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Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a key business strategy that proactively prepares organisations and their staff to cope in times of disruption.

The worst-case scenario can vary from enterprise to enterprise, but the business continuity lifecycle allows organisations to identify threats, analyse impacts on business operations, and provides a framework for building organisational resilience with the capability for an effective response.

Contrary to popular belief, BCM is not just about having a plan. It is about organisations establishing, maintaining, and improving an effective system that allows them to respond successfully should disruption strike. It helps safeguard the interests of an organisation's key stakeholders, reputation, brand, and value-creating activities.

How is it different from a Business Continuity Management System?

The Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) is a management system that implements, operates, monitors, reviews, maintains, and improves business continuity. ISO 22301 describes an effective Business Continuity Management System as emphasising the importance of the following:

  • Understanding the organisation's needs and the necessity for establishing Business Continuity Management Policy and objectives
  • Implementing and operating controls and measures for managing an organisation's overall capability to manage disruption
  • Monitoring and reviewing the performance and effectiveness of the BCMS
  • Continual improvement based on objective measurement.
woman on her laptop looking at business continuity management system.

What is BCM all about?

If you ask most operational managers, "What is BCM all about?" They will usually reply, "It is about what we do if the building is destroyed."

However, most BCM professionals see this as too narrow a scope.

BCM is much wider; it examines operational, financial, and reputational impacts and physical risks. In addition to those already mentioned, it has now grown to encompass a range of risks, such as:

  • Interruption risks
  • Personnel risks
  • Legal/regulatory/compliance risks
  • Third-party risks
  • Supply chain risks
  • Service provision risks
  • Technical risks
  • Reputational/brand risks
  • Political/societal risks
  • Environmental risks

What is the differences between Business Continuity Management and Disaster Recovery?

Business continuity management and disaster recovery both play essential roles for any business. Many confuse them as being the same, which could be costly as it deprives you of building a robust approach to business continuity planning.

To help protect the critical functions of your business, it's best to start by identifying the key differences between business continuity management and disaster recovery. Here is a closer look at those differences.

Staying Operational vs Restoring Business Functions

Business continuity ensures that the entire organisation can stay operational even during a disaster. On the other hand, disaster recovery is about restoring the critical functions of the business, such as vital software and IT infrastructure, in light of the disruptive incident.

Simply put, business continuity is about remaining operational when circumstances are less than ideal. Meanwhile, disaster recovery is a series of steps to help restore the vital aspects of a company and reduce recovery time.

Disaster Recovery

Unique goals

One of the key differences between business continuity management and disaster recovery is that they serve unique purposes. Business continuity management aims to reduce downtime in business operations, while disaster recovery strategies reduce any inefficiencies in the process or critical functions of the business. With these two, you can prepare for any disruption, big or small.

Disaster recovery plans are often part of an overall business continuity management plan. Disaster recovery is critical to your business resilience because it focuses on the individual aspects or moving parts that help keep businesses running. Without this, your business continuity plan won't be effective.

How can BCM help you meet regulatory requirements?

Business continuity plans are vital for improving your business resiliency, especially when managing potential threats and disaster scenarios. A growing body of legislation also imposes businesses to develop effective continuity management protocols to ensure normal operations are restored in the shortest amount of time following a disruptive incident.

This is not just exclusive to businesses in the UK but applies globally. Corporate governance regulations expect business leaders and organisations to exercise reasonable care and diligence in risk management. Managing and mitigating those risks is vital to the organisation's ability to quickly recover from any threats.

One of the most common risks that could affect organisations today is cyber threats. There are regulatory requirements, like the HIPAA law in the US, to ensure that all businesses have security techniques and measures in place to prevent and protect from cyber attacks. Organisations can do this by enhancing their technology infrastructure and preventing unauthorised access to their critical data systems, which could lead to data loss or theft.

It's important to address these vulnerabilities as part of your business continuity plans and disaster recovery strategies to ensure that no such event would happen. At the same time, it is also a way for you to protect customers and their personal data from cyber threats.

For this reason, regulatory requirements from the government are enacted to protect the rights of customers dealing with your business. It is your responsibility to ensure their protection, not just for the sake of your business.

3 key components of a business continuity plan

How do you ensure business continuity in facing risks and potential disasters?

Data is one of the biggest assets of any company. Therefore, preventing data loss is vital to your business continuity management efforts. It's no longer optional to protect data, it is a must. Therefore, you must regularly update your business continuity plans and disaster recovery strategies. It will ensure that you have a robust plan for when threats and risks threaten to derail your critical business processes.

To ensure that you have a robust business continuity management system, it's important that these key elements are present.

Laptop displaying a crisis management plan

1. Recovery Personnel

Successful business continuity management is built from the top to down. You need to have the full support of the senior executives and leaders to ensure the success of business continuity planning. Once you have the support of senior management, you can build a dedicated team to put together business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

The team itself should have a chain of command. Therefore, you must clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. Make sure you have a list of the key dependencies to avoid assigning redundant tasks and make the most of each personnel.

2. Recovery Procedure

The next critical component of effective business continuity management is the recovery procedure. You must outline the strategy for every critical business function. This approach allows you to prioritise the essential business process vital to ensure business continuity. It also enables you to optimise your use of manpower and resources to ensure a faster recovery.

Moreover, you can also prioritise the critical functions of your business in terms of risk management and the risk analysis phase. The more understanding you have of potential threats, the better you can protect critical processes from disruptions.

3. Data Backup

Many organisations that suffered from a data breach have suffered significantly to the point that they cannot recover. Don't let your company be one of them. It is important that you boost your IT infrastructure and ensure that all security protocols are updated. Make sure you have a backup for all data to avoid crippling your business functions in case of a cyber attack.

You should always think one step ahead when preserving your assets and ensuring business continuity. Data backup is critical to business continuity management and disaster recovery plans.

People in an office looking at graphs to create a business impact analysis

The values of Business Continuity Management

Creating a business continuity management is resource and manpower intensive. It involves several moving parts. But is it worth the effort?

The answer is yes. Business continuity management offers value to your organisation beyond the return on investment (ROI). Here are some of them for you to consider:

  • It gives your organisation a competitive advantage. It allows you to recover in the face of any interruption and keep your business afloat, even when you have to deal with threats to operations, such as natural disasters or security threats.
  • It ensures regulatory compliance. The regulatory requirements for all businesses are becoming more strict these days. Make sure you have a solid business continuity management plan to maintain compliance.
  • It helps to protect your brand reputation. Showing resilience in the face of any threats can boost your brand and earn your customers' respect.
  • It can provide you with more in-depth knowledge of your business. It enables you to identify key dependencies and ways to better manage the critical aspects of your business.
  • It can inform your employees of critical business operations and ensure the sustainability of those business units.

All businesses aim to boost ROI when implementing strategies of any kind. But when it comes to business continuity management, you can bring value to your organisation that goes far beyond ROI. Crisis management is a showcase of organisational resilience.

Here at C2, we aim to deliver user-friendly and innovative business continuity solutions for our customers. Our BCMS is a web-based tool that helps you plan, manage and navigate any disruption while safeguarding your most critical functions. Book a demo today to see it in action.

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Written by Lisa McStay

Chief Operating Officer at Continuity2

As a proud COO of Continuity2, Lisa strives to provide intuitive and innovative solutions for the Business Resilience market and reshape the industry as we know it today. Lisa has been in the industry for over 10+ years, helping clients achieve their Business Continuity and Resilience objectives for continuous growth and success.

C2 Author Lisa 1
C2 Author Lisa 1

Written by Lisa McStay

Chief Operating Officer at Continuity2

As a proud COO of Continuity2, Lisa strives to provide intuitive and innovative solutions for the Business Resilience market and reshape the industry as we know it today. Lisa has been in the industry for over 10+ years, helping clients achieve their Business Continuity and Resilience objectives for continuous growth and success.

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