Business continuity management in organisations – a series (Part 4)


Business continuity plan

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a critical component of business continuity management (BCM) that helps organisations prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive events. In the previous part of this series, we elaborated on the Business Impact Analysis which helps organisations to identify critical functions, systems and processes, determine the impact of a disruption, and provide ways to mitigate the identified threats.

Once BIA has been conducted, and the critical functions, systems and processes have been identified, the next step is to develop continuity and recovery plans. Business Clans Continuity typically include procedures for maintaining or restoring critical functions in the event of a disruption while recovery plans focus on returning the institution to normal operations as quickly as possible.

For example, a BCP for a financial services provider may include procedures for ensuring access of customers to their services through the use of other channels like mobile applications, ATMs, agents, or other branches.

Organisations should also consider the dependencies between systems, processes and functions. Dependency mapping helps to identify and understand the relationships between different systems and processes, which is crucial for effective continuity and recovery planning.

As a rule of thumb, a BCP must answer the following questions: Who performs which task? What will be done? When will it be done? Where will it be done? And how will it be done? BCPs must include the various parties involved in the BCM process and their respective roles and responsibilities. The process for activating a response to an incident must also be documented, together with the details regarding communications to employees, customers and the media.

While the contents of a BCP will vary both in detail and complexity from organisation to organisation, the plan should be specific enough to address the steps which should be taken during a disruption. It should also be flexible enough to continue to be relevant even in the event of an unanticipated or unfamiliar threat.

It is important for organisations to train stakeholders on Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is. All stakeholders, including employees, management and external partners, should be aware of the organisation’s continuity and recovery plans and understand their roles and responsibilities in the event of a crisis. This includes understanding the warning signs of a crisis, the procedures for activating the BCP, and the steps for restoring critical functions.

The final part of this series will elaborate on Testing & Maintenance in more details.

>>>The writer is a certified ISO 22301 Lead Implementer with 13+ years banking experience in Enterprise Risk Management, Modelling & Portfolio Analytics. She can be reached via email at [email protected]

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