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A business continuity plan (BCP) is a protocol of preventing and recovering from potentially large threats to the company’s business continuity. Such a plan often aims to address the need for updated business norms and operational standards in unpredictable circumstances such as natural disasters, data breach/ exposures, large scale system failures etc. The goal of such a plan is to ensure continuity of business with no or little damage to regular working environments, including job security for its employees.
It covers everything from business processes, human resources details, and more. Essentially a BCP provides a concrete plan to the organization to maintain business continuity even in challenging circumstances.
- BCP’s relevance has gone up considerably after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and was also a major testing time for organizations that did have such a plan in place. The organizations which had a business continuity plan in place were better able to cope during these unprecedented circumstances better than those who did not have any such plans.
- The recorded number of natural disasters has increased from 375 in 2016 to 409 in 2019 . Globally, the loss because of natural disasters was $232 billion in 2019, according to a study by Aon .
- The number of cyberattacks has also increased in all geographies and all business verticals. MonsterCloud reported that cyberattacks have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. All this means that the organizations have to be better prepared to fight disasters. The importance of BCP can hardly be exaggerated in this context. Preparing a BCP is imperative for any enterprise, big or small, today.
The end goal of a BCP is to ensure that the essential services continue to run in the event of an incident. For instance, if there is an earthquake where your customer service representatives operate from, your BCP will be able to tell you who will handle customer calls until the original office is restored.
Difference between a business continuity plan (BCP) and disaster recovery plan (DCP)
A BCP is often confused with a disaster recovery (DR) plan. While a DR plan is primarily focused on restoring the IT systems and infrastructure, a BCP is much more than that. It covers all areas and departments of the organization, including HR, marketing and sales, support functions.
The underlying thought behind BCP is that IT systems can hardly work in silos. Other departments also need to be restored to cater to the client or for meeting the business demands.
“Many people think a disaster recovery plan (DRP) is the same as a business continuity plan, but a DRP is only a small, yet essential, a portion of a full BCP. A DRP focuses solely on restoring an organization’s IT infrastructure while minimizing data loss. On the other hand, a BCP is a comprehensive guide on how to continue the mission and business-critical operations during a time of an unplanned disruption (natural disasters, pandemics, or malware),” says Caleb Pipkin, a security expert at Logically .
Why is business continuity planning important?
Effective business continuity planning is important for all organizations, no matter their size. For SMBs, startups, and enterprise organizations alike, business continuity planning is all about maintaining your regular operations in times of crisis.
Continuity planning is essential for so many reasons. It ensures that staff know their roles and responsibilities, and that all those mission-critical services and systems are accounted for.
1. Helps plan for the unexpected
Business continuity planning helps you plan for the unexpected so that unexpected events don’t cause a total ruckus. By laying out procedures ahead of time, when a crisis hits, the hard work has already been done. All you have to do is thank your past self and follow instructions.
2. Increases ability to bounce back
Since you’ve already planned for the unexpected, your continuity plan will help you bounce back nice and quickly. Think of continuity planning as an investment into your organization’s own future.
With actionable steps in place, you’ll be able to return to business as usual, continue providing high-quality services for your clients, and prevent any excessive financial losses in the process.
3. Protects organizational reputation
Companies that bounce back quickly get a good name in the process. When a crisis hits you want to be able to continue serving clients and customers as close to normal capacity as possible.