Business continuity planning helps companies, nonprofits, and others outline steps to take during and after unexpected disruptions in operations.
Disaster situations like fire, floods, or cyberattacks can cause unexpected business disruptions. When you fail to react fast, systematically, and successfully, you risk severe financial loss. While insurance can cover some losses, it can’t replace clients who switch to your competitors. That’s where the benefits of a business continuity plan come in handy, ensuring every aspect of your organization remains protected.
Creating a solid business continuity plan requires effort, teamwork, and collaboration among leaders and board members. For a more straightforward and streamlined process, consider automating yours with the OnBoard solution.
Typically, a key benefit of continuity planning is to help businesses continue operating even after a major disaster. This article will discuss the benefits of a business continuity plan and a few limitations.
What's a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan (BCP) outlines the steps a company must take during and after unexpected disruptions in operations. A BCP is part of a business continuity management system but more detailed than a disaster recovery plan.
The importance of business continuity planning means the organization creates a plan that protects assets and personnel and ensures operations recommence within the shortest time possible after a disaster.
Business continuity planning entails defining possible threats that can affect your business operations. It also involves:
- Describing how the disasters might inhibit operations
- Enacting procedures and safeguards to counter the risks
- Assessing the guidelines to confirm viability
- Evaluating the process
All businesses are prone to a host of threats and disruptions that can work to lower revenue, increase costs, and lower profits. However, you can cover costs, retain customers, and resume operations if you plan a detailed recovery strategy, which includes making a checklist for data backups, equipment, and supplies.
What are the Advantages of Business Continuity Planning?
The benefits of BCP include the ability to withstand catastrophes like global pandemics, natural disasters, power outages, and cybersecurity — all critical tasks to creating a successful, long-term organization.
The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, is one significant threat that adversely affected businesses over the past two years or so. While many things are returning to normal, most companies are still dealing with the effects of certain measures enacted to reduce the spread of the virus.
Your company can face unpredictable events at any time. If you try to handle them blindly without a solid risk management plan, the effects may be far more significant. On the other hand, a BCP enables a business to act fast and efficiently during and after a disaster.
BCP benefits include:
- Saves human lives: For instance, through fire drills and evacuation drills. An evacuation and emergency plan prepares people in advance and gives guidelines on responding to a calamity.
- Builds customer trust in your business: Most customers and business partners appreciate a company’s commitment to business continuity. Your efforts show your business is ready to provide goods and services under all circumstances, so customers reward you with their loyalty.
- Boosts employee morale: A business continuity plan protects everyone in your organization. It’s a great way to show employees that you care about their well-being.
- Offers compliance benefits: According to corporate governance regulations, leaders must exercise diligence, skill, and care to alleviate risks facing the company.
- Preserves business reputation: Outsiders will be impressed with how you respond promptly in unfavorable conditions. This helps to eliminate any negative points of view that might damage the organization’s long-standing reputation.
- Mitigates financial risk: Putting a recovery and backup plan in place lowers the risk of power loss, system failure, and data breach. As a result, you can mitigate the financial losses that follow such occurrences.
- Ensures a quicker recovery: Disasters, threats, and disruptions can increase costs, lower revenue, and affect profitability. Fortunately, with the help of a business continuity plan, your business can resume operations, earn income, and retain customers.
- Gives a competitive advantage: Your ability to respond, resume operations, and recover quickly after a disruption makes you stand out among the rest. This attracts more customers and potential business partners.
How Does Business Continuity Help Different Departments?
Maintaining a good business reputation and offering quality customer service during a disruptive event can be difficult. However, a key benefit of continuity planning is ensuring that you follow the service level agreement under all circumstances. This is particularly important when offering medical and food products.
An unforeseen disaster can cause massive pain for the marketing department. However, a continuity plan outlines how marketing will run during this period. The BCP addresses all aspects of marketing, including communications, copy, and creative. By planning and using the proper channels, you reassure stakeholders and customers that your business is still on track.
The finance department is the backbone of all businesses. You probably rely on various technologies to automate financial processes, meaning minor and significant disruptions can hinder operations. Luckily a business continuity plan considers how specific procedures cannot stop even during a disaster. It lays out solutions such as investing in a cloud-service provider.
Local emergency services require details regarding your facility, including accurate floor plans. A business continuity plan contains all the information needed to conduct a successful rescue and recovery mission during a crisis.
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What Should You Consider When Developing a Continuity Plan?
- Critical business functions: Point out processes that should remain functional during catastrophic events to mitigate risk. Although all business functions are crucial, you need to determine those that matter most.
- Potential threats and risks: Identify potential hazards and dangers your company can face. While listing in order of priority, consider the events that are likely to occur. For instance, you should prioritize risks associated with earthquakes if you operate in an earthquake-prone area. Also, train your employees on how to react in such situations.
- Crucial systems and equipment: Loss or damage of specific equipment such as computers can affect your productivity, business process, and customer relations. Identify the most critical equipment, especially those containing sensitive client information. Other crucial systems include irreplaceable software and servers.
- Emergency contact information: Googling emergency contacts is the last thing anyone would want to do when disaster strikes. Ensure you have an accurate and updated list of emergency rescue teams, hospitals, and government institutions within your location.
Other factors to consider include:
- Alternative communication systems and contact information
- A backup location where you can continue operations if your office is rendered unusable
- In-house disaster and recovery team
- Alternative equipment and systems
Are There Any Downsides to a Business Continuity Plan?
Without a doubt, the benefits of business continuity planning are numerous. However, there are several limitations to creating one. First, as is the case with all other plans, a poorly prepared BCP can give your business a false feeling of confidence and safety.
Developing a BCP also demands resources like time and money. Risk assessment and developing strategies to mitigate the risks is a time-consuming process. Additionally, sometimes creating a BCP requires the input of an expert, which means an added expense.
A plan is only valid when everyone is aware of it. However, management can fail to share the details with all relevant parties. As a result, everyone sits and waits for the crisis management team to act when a crisis occurs. At the end of the day, the planning efforts might not pay off.
Some planning teams focus too much on specific tragic incidents, rather than worrying about what’s more important. For instance, we know an earthquake, fire, or flood can all damage the physical business. In this case, business continuity planning should focus on how employees and management should react and the resources needed to recover, regardless of what caused the tragedy.
How OnBoard Can Help You Maintain Your Business Continuity
Sometimes it’s hard to tell when your company will experience a crisis. But when disaster strikes, so many things go wrong in unexpected ways. However, you can give your business the best shot at survival during a difficult situation by leveraging the benefits of a business continuity plan. Otherwise, you might take longer to recover or even close doors for good.
Planning and testing require much effort and teamwork among members. Fortunately, you can automate the process with OnBoard software. OnBoard will help you coordinate leadership and board activities, enhance operational efficiencies, and make the right decisions.
Business continuity planning doesn’t need to be time-consuming or complicated. Invest in OnBoard and unlock the full potential of your directors, administrators, and executives. For more information, contact our team or start your free trial today.
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