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When it comes to business continuity, do you have a plan?

Find out how a business continuity plan can help you stay prepared for anything. Presented by Chase for Business.

minute read


    Don’t panic — plan. The business world is a predictably unpredictable place. One moment, the path ahead is clear. A moment later, a storm rolls in, making it difficult to see what step to take next. That’s where your business continuity plan (BCP) shines. It’s your survival guide, designed to lead you through the storm and keep business operations running when the unexpected occurs.

    It starts with taking a careful look at the landscape around you. Knowing exposure to risk can help you understand how potential disasters and emergencies could impact your operations. And making specific plans to mitigate risk across a variety of scenarios — as well as documenting specific processes — turns your BCP into a compass and a map for navigating whatever challenges cross your path.


    What a business continuity plan is, and why you need one

    Success is all about preparation. By establishing processes and procedures, you’re basically giving your business the tools to keep moving forward, even when you encounter unexpected obstacles. The right kind of plan can help you weather the storm of business interruption and get back to business as usual.

    So, what is a BCP? It’s a document that clearly defines actions and processes that can help your business maintain stability during operational disruption, mitigating short-term and long-term risks. Your industry has its own set of specific risks that you’ll want to consider in your plan. Here’s a list of common scenarios you might also include:

    • Natural disasters
    • Power outages
    • Cyberattacks
    • Supply chain issues
    • Reputational damage
    • Acts of terrorism

    That’s a long list of bad luck, so let’s talk about good preparation. It’s important to establish contingency plans for multiple scenarios covering every facet of critical business operations. You’ll want to include policies for dealing with unexpected events, as well as methods for testing those policies. Naming the people responsible for specific actions that each policy requires will help avoid confusion and ensure that someone will be there to guide the team forward each step of the way.


    The difference between business continuity and disaster recovery

    Business continuity planning and disaster recovery are two different but related concepts.

    Your BCP is a safety net, there to limit downtime resulting from any number of different business disruptions. A disaster recovery plan is like a specialist in your BCP, there to fix your IT systems after a major disaster and restore data access and backups.

    All BCPs need a disaster recovery component. Because when disaster strikes, you need your IT systems up and running quickly. But relying solely on a disaster recovery plan isn’t enough. It’s just one part of a larger whole. A good BCP covers all bases to ensure your business can handle disruptions, including tech issues.


    The parts of a plan

    Every BCP is different, with specific components for specific business needs. At a foundational level, your plan should encompass clear policies, specific recovery strategies and a variety of contingency plans for restoring critical business functions and processes.

    Most BCPs will include:

    • Responsible parties: A list of employees and team members who will execute specific elements of the plan 

    • Key business functions: An outline of all critical business operations that would need to be maintained if there’s an unexpected disruption

    • Possible threats to key business functions: A rundown of the most likely threats specific to the business (a business impact analysis and risk assessment can help identify key potential threats)

    • Policies for averting and recovering from business disruptions: Documentation of specific operational and contingency plans that detail approaches and processes for restoring critical business operations

    • Methods for testing business continuity policies: An outline of processes for testing your business’s contingency plans to ensure they will work during a disaster or an emergency

    • Contact information for key employees, first responders, vendors, etc.: A list of business continuity team contacts who will help enact contingency plans and restore business operations

    The actual contents of your BCP will vary depending on the needs of your business. Performing a risk assessment and business impact analysis can help you identify the most likely potential risks to your operations so that you can develop the best path to your own business recovery.


    The bottom line of business continuity planning

    A BCP is a crucial part of your company’s overall risk management strategy and the foundation of your disaster readiness and emergency management. Amid the aftermath of an unexpected event, these plans can help guide your business back to stability and mitigate short-term and long-term risks.

    It’s also a good idea to have other risk management documentation, like a succession plan, to complement your BCP. Taking all the necessary steps today to protect your operations in the event of an emergency or a disaster helps you more effectively mitigate potential risks down the road. So that when a storm rolls in, you won’t feel the need to panic — because you have a plan.


    Find a business banking partner you can rely on

    Want a dependable guide who can work with you to help strengthen your business? Get in touch with a Chase business banker today.