Nobody likes to think that a crisis or emergency might happen. But if and when it does, it could have a major effect on your business. While you can’t predict the future, you can prepare for the worst. It’s why having a business continuity management plan is key to the long-term success of any organization.
And to devise a strong plan to handle and stop a crisis, you must identify what’s important in such a situation, and how to recover as quickly and strongly as possible.
Before you try to determine if you have the right operational processes in place, you have to understand what “business continuity” truly means, and what “business continuity management” is.
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The International Organization for Standardization defines business continuity as the capability of an organization to continue delivering its products or providing its services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident.
The Business Continuity Institute describes it more colloquially: “It is about taking responsibility for your business and enabling it to stay on course whatever storms it is forced to weather. It is about ‘keeping calm and carrying on.’”
Okay, that may seem simple enough. Maintaining business continuity through a crisis, however, may not be so simple. And that’s where Business Continuity Management comes in.
Business Continuity Management – also known as BCM – is a comprehensive management process that helps you identify potential threats to your business. And it outlines what impact such threats have on your business operations, should they occur.
“[BCM] provides a framework for organizational resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities,” the Business Continuity Institute writes.
Adopting Business Continuity Management helps you create a strong framework for your organization. But it also compels you to identify your most important products or services and devise a plan that outlines how you can recover and move forward in the event of an emergency.
Every organization moves through what’s known as the Business Continuity Management Lifecycle. And it mirrors the steps to creating a plan that protects your company. Below are the six stages of the BCM lifecycle (in bold), along with the steps to ensuring your business is prepared for an emergency:
If you already have a BCM plan in place, it’s important to ensure it’s working as it was intended. It’s why the final stages of the BCM lifecycle are so essential.
Here are several checks to help you make sure you’re equipped to manage a crisis:
One of the most important and emerging tools within business continuity and disaster recovery is The Cloud. In fact, business continuity mechanism are commonly built right into cloud systems these days.
The CIO detailed why The Cloud has become a key resource during crises:
“Because cloud computing relies heavily on hardware-independent virtualization technology, it enables enterprises to quickly back up data, applications, and even operating systems to a remote data center (or cloud). Faster uploads and downloads of important computing elements naturally translate into faster recovery times for the business.”
Recovering from a disaster – or any emergency, really – often depends on the strength of your IT architecture. And the most formidable design can help you automate many processes within your BCM plan.
It’s also important that you can quickly switch your computing resources to a stable backup so your business can remain operational. With cloud infrastructure and a suitable partner, the steps built into your business continuity plan can be simplified, condensed and even managed for you.
Considering how critical a business continuity management plan is to the success of your organization, you simply can’t afford to be unprepared for the unexpected.
If you don’t have a plan in place today, follow the steps outlined above to create one as soon as possible. And if you do have a plan, review it consistently to ensure it will protect your business in the event of a disaster.
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