Business continuity part 3: How is business continuity planned and managed?

By: Neil Alhanti

Part 1 focused on what business continuity means and explored disaster preparation.

Part 2 focused on how business continuity is used and its biggest threats.

Part 3 focuses on implementing business continuity management and planning.
These concepts were briefly referenced in Part 1.

What’s business continuity management (BCM)?

SearchCIO defines business continuity management BCM as “is a framework for identifying an organization’s risk of exposure to internal and external threats”. SearchCIO continues noting that the “goal of BCM is to provide the organization with the ability to effectively respond to threats [and] protect the business interests of the organization.

Techopedia notes that several “organizations and trade groups have participated in building [BCM] standards” and that different organizations “offer certifications for this type of role”.2 Alternatively, other organizations can congregate and discuss how best to generate BCP for different disastrous scenarios. This planning is often rooted in past disruptive events that occurred, the damage that was produced, and the best preventative measures and recovery strategies that were revealed following them.

How does BCM work best?

Business continuity management BCM works best if the infrastructure for good response systems has been established. These systems help minimize damage from potentially disruptive events and allow organizations to focus on scalable supply chains, the deployment of data safeguards and similar IT practices. At its core, BCM works on the principle that good response systems can help businesses avoid some damage from theoretical events.

What groups have developed BCM standards?

Techopedia notes that the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created some BCM standards to help other businesses bolster themselves against potential disasters and emergencies.

What’s business continuity planning (BCP)?

Business continuity management BCM, like every other concept that involves risk, benefits from having information and strategies that bolster its success and minimize its risks. BCM uses resource management to fight against disruption causing threats like natural disasters, network failures, cyber attacks and human error. BCM provides your business with the tools to best prevent these threats and to minimize their impact if and when they occur. BCP, also referred to as a business continuity plan (BCP), functions similarly, and helps your business identify, assess and plan for a crisis, as well as practicing how to respond to them.

A BCP helps your business mitigate the disruptive effects of a disaster or emergency, allowing you to continue or resume general business operations. It behooves a business to have several different BCPs, bolstering the business’s cyber resilience and helping the business continue operating if one of the planned threats occurs.

What are the steps for developing a BCP?

Techopedia states that a BCP involves the following steps:

  1. Analysis of organizational threats
  2. A list of the primary tasks required to keep the organization’s operations flowing
  3. Easily located management contact information
  4. Explanation of where personnel should go if there’s a disastrous event
  5. Information on data backups and the organization’s site backup
  6. Collaboration among all facets of the organization
  7. Buy-in from everyone in the organization

The first step for anyone developing a BCP is to determine every threat that could shut down your general business operations. The second step is to identify the critical tasks needed to resume your general business operations.

Several people should be involved in the creation of a BCP for your business. Every BCP should include the most recent list of your management staff and how they can be reached. This information should also be available to your management staff outside of the office, allowing them to reach one another if it’s impossible to get into the office. During an emergency like a natural disaster, this process helps your staff connect with each other and create plans for resuming business operations. Regularly training your staff on disaster recovery plans and frequently backing up your data helps increase the chances of your business quickly resuming general operations after a disaster or similar disruption.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a consultation with an IBM Business Continuity Services expert.

Related topic: Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

IBM products related to business continuity plans

Understand how to plan for and react when business disruptions are happening.

Adapt and respond to risks with a business continuity plan (BCP)

How to defend against cyber attacks

Do you have your disaster recovery plan (DRP)?

Defend against ransomware attacks?

What is data breach and how to defend against one?

What is a recovery time objective (RTO) and how does it affect disaster recovery for your enterprise?

What is an RPO (recovery point objectives)?

About The Author

Neil Alhanti

Senior Writer, IBM Global Technology Services

Neil Alhanti is a content marketing writer, wordsmith and editor extraordinaire with IBM Global Technology Services. He spends his days crafting conversational communications across multiple mediums and otherwise “fighting the good fight and writing the good write.”