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Why is Business Continuity Planning important?

Published on December 20, 2018

Business Continuity (BC) planning can seem like a complex task, however the benefits far outweigh the cons.

The initial task of BC planning can seem like a lot of hard work, but a clearly defined Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) will be more than worth its weight if your company is faced with an incident.

Every year around 20% of businesses experience business disruption, and this number is continually growing. More alarmingly, it is reported that 75% of businesses are forced to cease operation permanently within three years of experiencing an incident. Both existing and emerging risks are on the rise – with increases in adverse weather conditions and cyber-attacks, the globalisation of supply chains, and increasing dependency on technology all contributing to the increase.

Planning is essential to the recovery from any incident and a clearly defined structure and framework is key to create comprehensive Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) and to document procedures on how to restore your business operations in the event of a disruption. However, it is often found that companies do not carry out this activity, which can be extremely detrimental or even fatal to the business.

The first and arguably most important reason to implement a BCP, and ideally a full Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) is for the people of the organisation. A BCMS provides knowledge and understanding amongst the staff of a business from a BC perspective, and ensures that individuals are aware of their roles and responsibilities if an incident was to occur, which will in turn ensure that critical activities and operations can be restored to normal functionality in as quick a turnaround as possible.

Moreover, a well-established plan helps to increase confidence amongst the personnel and other key stakeholders of a business, both that their organisation has placed their safety and security at the highest of importance and that there are adequate solutions in place to alleviate disruption and job losses following a business disturbance.

Secondly a brand must consider its reputation. Damage to reputation can be a majorly disastrous aspect for an organisation in the case of a disruptive incident – public perception can be what makes or breaks a company.

Consider the BP Oil Crisis of 2010 or the disaster at Samsung following the notoriety of its Galaxy Note 7. We can see from these examples that not only the incident itself, but also the way in which the business handles and responds in the aftermath of the event, contribute to the public’s perception.

In the case of BP, the problem was magnified by the negatively received reaction to their attempts to downplay the incident and insensitive response from the then-CEO. It has since been reported that the brand has taken 8 years and over $60bn to rebuild back to its previous state.

Well planned, quality BCPs and Communications strategies would have helped the company to recover more efficiently, and perhaps with less reputational damage.

In Samsung’s case, their attempts at a total recall of the affected product range was said to be poor, and the approach widely criticised, only serving to exacerbate the situation and make recovery attempts more difficult. For a company with a global product offering, the need for a recall strategy would be identified through implementing a BCMS, and the incident and aftermath in this case can only lead us to believe that the brand’s plans were not sufficient.

Another reason BC planning is of upmost importance within an organisation is the competitive advantage.

With globalisation, online commerce and the “always-on” culture, in addition to increasing innovation and emerging technologies, consumers expectations are much higher and their choice much greater than ever before. Companies who set up and manage a thorough BCMS can instill consumer confidence and increase satisfaction with peace of mind that your business has a plan that will minimise disruption and facilitate recovery in the quickest and smoothest way possible.

Becoming certified with recognised accreditations such as the ISO 22301 standard for Business Continuity help to increase customer confidence and thus the competitive advantage to the business.

Finally, we must consider communicational advantages that come from a BCMS.

Creating contact lists for notification purposes during the BCP process allows a business to reflect on, and strengthen, its existing communication channels and methods. This is of advantage to a business in terms of its day to day operations, in addition to the preparation for any potential disaster.

Business continuity planning is clearly an essential part of operations for any business who wants to ensure that they have a strategy to effectively recover key activities and processes with minimal negative impact in the case of a business disruption, and the software from C2 can help any business to complete this activity and create a complete, fully comprehensive BCMS.

BCMS2 is a web-based tool designed to assist and alleviate with the day to day management of a business continuity management system. It allows you to create, store, manage and distribute business continuity plans, plus simplifying the scheduling and carrying out of exercises, with results being reported automatically via the system.

Staff will be empowered with the knowledge of their roles and responsibilities in case of an incident utilising the tool which records and manage the activities assigned to each individual and the steps to be taken at each stage.

BCMS2 allows businesses to align and self-certify to ISO 22301 providing the competitive advantage, and the integrated notifications tool providing two-way SMS, mass email, Voice Messaging, Call Conferencing and Bulletin Board functionality builds confidence amongst business leaders and their staff that regular two-way communication can be facilitated during an incident.