What is Business Continuity?Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a process that improves the ability of businesses to function despite internal or external disruption.
It helps organisations deal with and minimise the effect of disruption such as:
- Loss of access to premises (fire or flooding at or adjacent to your premises, cordons from local incidents)
- Loss of staff (illness, fuel shortages, severe weather and industrial action)
- Loss of utilities (electricity, gas, water, telephones, IT)
- Loss of key suppliers/contractors (suppliers going into administration, being affected by their own incident, loss of couriers and maintenance contractors)
The failure to manage critical services in the face of such disruptions could jeopardise the survival of any business.
BCM is a management process put in place to consider, and prepare for, the ‘what ifs’ that might affect a business on any given day. The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) defines this process as follows:
“BCM is an holistic management process that identifies potential business impacts that threaten an organisation and provides a framework for building resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value creating activities.”
BCM is not a complex subject and need not take up vast resources and time, particularly for the small and medium sized business, but time spent planning now can prevent disruption turning into disaster for the future of your business.
Simply put, Business Continuity can be done by:
- Knowing your business – its risks and vulnerabilities
- Deciding what to do
- Accept the risk
- Insure against the risk
- Reduce the risk
- Outsource the risk
- Plan for the risk
- Document what you are going to do
- Test it
- Review it
North Norfolk District Council, in partnership with Norfolk Emergency Incident Team (NORMIT), has produced a leaflet called "Business Continuity for Small and Medium Sized Businesses" which sets out simple steps to continuity planning. You can download this leaflet and other business continuity information here:
Business Continuity – It’s like insurance, if you need it and haven’t got it, it’s too late
Business Continuity should become part of your business process. It is better to plan for incidents, which may affect your business, rather than having to "catch up" when a problem occurs.
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