Business continuity is the ability of an enterprise to continue its functions after a crisis.
Unplanned events like massive data loss, the sudden exit of an employee, and breakdown in the supply chain can cause a billion-dollar loss.
Hence, how well an organization handles these challenges is one of the factors in deciding the success or failure of your business. However, infrastructure and critical application failure can lead to a massive loss for a company.
Your costs might be limited if you are a startup or growing business. And unplanned situations like that can cost money and time for businesses of every size.
Unexpected downtimes test your organization’s competitiveness and capabilities. So, if your company can manage these situations effectively, you will survive the loss and enhance your reputation in the market.
This is why a business continuity plan is necessary for every business to succeed in today’s competitive world.
In this article, I’ll explain business continuity, some best practices, and the best business continuity software for your business.
Here we go!
What Do You Mean by Business Continuity?
Business continuity refers to an organization’s ability to continue its business functions during a crisis. It involves careful planning by the company beforehand to overcome unplanned downtimes and events and continue operating its business.
The reason why having a business continuity plan is vital for businesses is that nothing should stop their work from impacting their growth and bottom line. They must be capable of running at least their critical business functions in any event, including a business crisis, workplace violence, disruption in any operation, pandemic, natural disasters, and many more.
It requires you to be a forward thinker and plan in advance so that nothing could stop your business altogether. It will also help you forecast future events that may cause any disruptions. Thus, you can create a suitable plan for that event and encourage your employees to continue their work.
To overcome incidents, a company must follow some basic guidelines to eliminate risks, continue its business functions, and deliver services. Some of the best practices you can follow are:
- Maintain another copy of your mission-critical data in some other source
- Prepare a plan which is consistent and accessible during unplanned situations
- Update your strategies after a certain period
- Test the plan again and again in a realistic way to make sure your plan works
- Use the benefits of virtualization
- Train your people for such events with an effective plan
Even if you are using advanced tools and resources, it will hardly help during unpredictable situations if you don’t have a plan B or remediation plans. Although it is impossible to eradicate all the threats, with proper guidelines and planning, maximum threats will pass without affecting you.
Therefore, a business must focus on how to recover from business disruptions in the case of unfortunate causes. Since businesses depend entirely on information to excel and survive, managing data and IT systems are crucial.
What Is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a draft or document containing critical information for your organization that helps you operate similarly even during an unpredictable situation.
A perfect business continuity plan identifies the critical systems and processes, states the essential functions of your business, and details how to continue business functions.
A business continuity plan consists of three key elements – resilience, recovery, and contingency. An enterprise can enhance its resilience by building critical functions and designing critical infrastructures with different event possibilities.
Similarly, an organization can increase its recovery and contingency by applying a perfect plan that includes training employees, storing data copy in another source, and many more.
A potential business crisis can disturb your operations. It’s not under your control to mitigate the unexpected events, but you can minimize the effects and control your business.
This is where business continuity planning comes into the picture. It allows you to build procedures and prepare to cope with such events. It also lets you realize other benefits, such as:
- Recover your critical operations quickly after the disturbances
- Keep your business functioning during and after the incident
- Reduce the duration of impact
- Safeguard your reputation in the market
- Save lives in the case of dangerous, life-threatening events
- Comply with legal requirements
- Mitigate financial exposure and risks
- Develop confidence among employees
- Build customer trust
- Insure against unacceptable risks
But be realistic that not all plan succeeds!
Every plan comes with some obstacles and challenges. While overcoming these obstacles can be difficult, it becomes more accessible with the proper support and guidance. Let’s know some of the challenges of business continuity planning:
- Lack of resources
- Inappropriate approach
- Lack of support
- Lower employee engagement
- Absence of business continuity plan framework across multiple locations
- Insufficient technology and tools
- Lack of regular testing
- Lack of consensus
- No monitoring of the created plans
- High complexity
- Incorrect assumptions
- Lack of training
In the next section, let’s discuss what to include in your business continuity plan to overcome these issues quickly.
What to Include in a Business Continuity Plan?
A perfect business continuity plan includes several functions and strategies an organization needs to follow to eliminate challenges and issues.
- A complete analysis of all the critical business functions across your organization to prepare all the resources.
- Make a list of prioritized risks that can impact your business very badly.
- Prepare a list of mitigation activities or strategies that help you protect all the critical components you identified earlier in the plan.
- Use critical indicators, financial scenarios, and metrics to evidence that the strategies are being tested across your business functions.
- To know the impact, update your plan and processes according to the changes and prepare a report over time.
- Put emergency contact information on the front of your dashboard.
- Prepare your recovery teams to take action immediately during the event.
- Put a copy of essential data on another site.
- Arrange power backups and essential services or equipment.
- Prepare alternative communications and site of operations.
Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan
Business continuity and disaster recovery plans play an essential role in every business. They have similar plans across the enterprise to overcome unexpected downtimes and situations. However, they differ in their functions and how they operate during a crisis.
Let’s discover more.
- A business continuity plan focuses on managing business operations, whereas disaster recovery focuses on recovering IT infrastructure and data access.
- Business continuity plans limit operational downtime, but effective disaster recovery plans limit inefficient or abnormal system functions.
- A business continuity plan ensures all the communication methods like network servers and phones continue working correctly during the crisis. On the other hand, a disaster recovery plan helps extend the organization’s ability to restore all the functions and data after the disaster.
- The delivery time of a business continuity plan is during the crisis, whereas the delivery time of a disaster recovery plan is after the crisis.
What Is Business Continuity Software?
Business continuity software is a solution to develop, manage, and implement a perfect plan for your business to maintain its operations during an unexpected event. Using the software, you can analyze your current business functions and how they are impacted during disruptions or crises.
Business continuity software guides and tracks the analysis to create necessary protocols. The primary goal of business continuity software is to analyze your organization’s processes, physical assets, business functions, different departments, and workflows. It comes under one of the two categories:
- The first category of the software helps you analyze the risks in various scenarios and develops a plan to eliminate business disruptions.
- Another software category implements different facets of the business continuity plan and manages your critical operations during the event.
Now that we have a clear idea about business continuity, let’s move further to some of the best business continuity software offering advanced technologies in this field.
Get one of the leading business continuity tools for your business with Continuity2. If you need an ISO certification, want to implement a BC program, want to achieve an organizational-wide buy-in, need a detailed report, or generate the speed of thought, Continuity2 brings you the solution you seek for.
With Continuity2, you will get an effective, efficient, and simple business continuity management software that makes your work easier. Business disruptions are expected these days, but you must ensure the business continuity plan recovers your business from any disaster.
Continuity2 ensures your organization will get back to its original form quickly. Its developers and UX designers work daily to provide you with the cutting-edge technology you need to do your job at high speeds. You can get all-time service delivery whenever you need it without any hassle.
Be among the more innovative business with your ready-to-battle business continuity plans. Take a 1-hour demo today and choose Continuity2 as your business continuity management partner.
Quantivate is an operationally deployable and strategic business planning and continuity management software. It ensures your business will survive and succeed in any unplanned disaster.
The days are gone when companies maintain large notebooks of continuity plans that become outdated by sitting on a shelf for years. Quantivate reduces your time of managing plans and maintaining them. It helps you understand your organization and develop an implementable continuity plan.
Quantivate keeps your new plans up-to-date and enhances the availability of operations across your business. Its business continuity software uses a repeatable method that eliminates the single points of failure with new processes and technology.
Due to its easy-to-use solution, your business will gain risk management capabilities. It allows organizations to have recovery data that needs to be harnessed for risk, compliance, and excellent governance.
Quantivate business continuity software lets you:
- Understand the dependencies and connections across your organization with the help of integrated data sharing capabilities.
- Use planned processes to develop an entire continuity program based on business resources and processes instead of data silos and disconnected activities.
- Centralize and digitize your business continuity plans and other documents, upgrading from insufficient spreadsheets and notebooks.
- Record the procedures for emergencies, unexpected incidents, disasters, etc., to bring out quick responses at the time of need.
- Develop data-driven business continuity plans that ensure employees are prepared for any unexpected happenings with built-in tools that help you focus on critical processes, analyze risks, test the efficiency, and respond to the incidents.
- Access to business continuity plan templates, optional consulting services, and a built-in editor tool so your plan will go in the right direction.
Get an integrated approach to better business continuity management and excellent IT disaster recovery solutions, dependency mapping, incident management, and more with Fusion’s business continuity management software.
You can see how Fusion’s framework lets you adapt to the new challenges, enables you to continue critical operations quicker, and protects your business from disruptions. Keep your business always on the right path by understanding how business works and what actions to be taken to fix the issues.
When you discover how your business runs, you can easily prepare to remediate and uncover key risks, inefficiencies, and single points of failure. Create a single view for all the operations across your organization to take the grey out of every operation via leveraging the people, process, systems, and data.
You will get continuity planning, exercise management, risk and impact assessment, impact tolerance, context mapping, and dependency mapping with Fusion. It lets you navigate the unexpected things that are going to happen.
Proactively manage business crises with an efficient business continuity management software – MetricStream. It will decrease the time needed to create business impact analysis by 80% and reduce the costs of managing business continuity planning by 40%.
With MetricStream, ensure uninterrupted operations, recover faster, and respond better from disasters. It empowers your organization to manage and execute an effective business continuity program.
It is a powerful, integrated, and flexible platform to adapt business continuity planning, disaster tracking, emergency mass notification, recovery action, and risk assessments.
Maintain a hierarchical structure of your business processes by leveraging MetricStream’s centralized library. This includes relationships between business processes, dependent assets, sub-processes, and objectives.
You can easily trigger impact analysis surveys for your business and automate the cumulative criticality scoring by mapping of recovery point objective and recovery time objective. You can further visualize the business process modeling capabilities with the data explorer.
MetricStream’s business continuity management software helps you:
- Maintain systematic planning
- Perform qualitative and quantitative assessments
- Implement a powerful emergency system
- Trigger emergency mass notifications
- Manage, close, and track AI-powered intelligent issue management
- Ensure integration with vendor risk management
- Create and publish mobile capabilities for continuous operations
Furthermore, the tool allows you to achieve operational resilience, strengthen your business operations, drive better decisions with 360-degree impact analysis, and improve the effectiveness of incident response by seamless integration.
Register for a live demo and understand how it can help you grow your business.
Modern organizations implement digitally interconnected networks to run business operations without any disruption. This means the business operation can halt if connectivity gets affected due to an unexpected event. This type of business affairs is unsustainable and expensive.
Fortunately, an effective business continuity plan helps your business runs smoothly after and during a crisis. You can use any of the software mentioned above to prepare a perfect plan and analyze the impact of unpredicted downtime on your business. It will also help you train your employees to stay prepared for such scenarios and work confidently.
You may also learn about disaster recovery.