BCM (business continuity management) describes the process of planning for disruptive incidents. Organisations do this by identifying potential threats and analysing their impact on day-to-day operations.
Effective BCM ensures that organisations can provide an acceptable service in the event of a disaster, helping them preserve their reputation and keep revenue coming in.
How does BCM work?
Business continuity planning is essentially a form of insurance. It gives organisations the comfort of knowing that, even if disaster strikes, the damage won’t be overwhelming.
The importance of BCM become clear amid the pandemic, as business leaders realised the how greatly they could be affected by disruptive incidents. The introduction of social distancing rules meant that many organisations were forced to change the way they worked, including the creation of remote working policies and the adoption of Cloud technologies.
For the most part, those tools have been hugely popular – to the extent that remote working is still in place despite pandemic-related restrictions easing. However, organisations won’t get so lucky with other disruptions.
Ransomware, for example, proved to be a major issue in 2021. Hundreds of businesses across the globe were crippled by ransomware attacks, which encrypt organisations’ files and demand payment for their release.
Preventing ransomware attacks is almost impossible. Many intrusions begin with phishing emails – a threat that can be mitigated but never eradicated – while others are the result of weaknesses in third-party software.
Organisations best defence therefore is effective business continuity planning. It gives employees guidelines on what to do if their normal working processes are affected, providing a comprehensive approach to organisational resilience.
Effective business continuity management enables organisations to update, control and deploy effective plans, accounting for organisational contingencies and capabilities, as well as business needs.
Business continuity can be tailored to help organisations prepare for any number of disruptions, including:
- Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes;
- Man-made disasters, such as road and rail disruptions;
- Technological failures, such as corrupted files;
- Human error, such as data exposure or a lost USB;
- Infrastructural damage, such as a burst pipe or an electrical fire;
- Sabotage, such as stolen files or damaged equipment; and
- Cyber attacks, such as ransomware.
The benefits of business continuity management
The main reason to implement a BCMS is to ensure that your business processes remain operational in the event of a disruption. However, there are plenty of other reasons to adopt the system. For example, it will:
1) Protect your organisation’s reputation
The public will be impressed if you can respond quickly and efficiently following a disruptive incident. This will mitigate any negative sentiments that will accompany the loss of productivity.
2) Boost employees’ morale
If the system is well managed, everyone in the organisation will be accounted for, proving to employees that management has considered their needs.
3) Build your relationship with third parties and subsidiaries
An effective BCMS demonstrates that the organisation is being run well from top to bottom, which will encourage anyone that you work with.
It shows that you are a reliable partner that has taken into account its responsibilities to customers, employees and partners.
4) Help you meet regulatory requirements
A growing body of legislation requires businesses in essential areas to implement effective business continuity arrangements.
Globally, corporate governance regulations require directors to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence to mitigate risks facing the organisation.
The current cyber threat landscape has made business leaders more aware of the risks of cyber attacks, and the importance of being able to respond to and recover from such attacks.
Find out more about business continuity
You can learn more about this topic by downloading our free green paper: Business Continuity and ISO 22301 – An introduction.
It explains in more detail:
- The benefits of implementing business continuity;
- How business continuity differs from disaster recovery;
- How a BCMS works; and
- How the international standard for business continuity management, ISO 22301, can support your implementation project.
A version of this blog was originally published on 15 April 2020.