Why Senior Management Has To Support The Business Continuity Plan

When things are going smoothly, many businesses are lulled into thinking that being hit by a serious disaster is highly unlikely. But downplaying the importance of Business Continuity planning has proven to be the undoing of many enterprises. After all, the term disaster covers a wide range of unfortunate events–from natural calamities to widespread cyber-attacks to equipment failure, and even the unavailability of several key personnel.

Many more different types of incidents could qualify as disasters, and there is absolutely no way of knowing when any of these will strike. That is why company executives need to be on top of things when it comes to having an effective and actionable Business Continuity Plan (BCP). A concerted effort to prepare for Business Continuity:

1. Allows for the Business Continuity Plan to be aligned with business goals. Business continuity is not meant to stand alone. In fact, it’s meant to be part of the company’s security program and incorporated into the business’ change management processes. That way, it can more effectively contribute to the achievement of business goals. This can only happen if business continuity planning involves those who view the business from a management perspective.

2. Increases the business’ chances of survival after a disaster. It’s a given that when a disaster strikes, there are bound to be several adverse effects, the worst of which is a company’s total failure. Statistics reveal that nearly 40% of organizations close their doors after a major disruptive event. BC planning raises your company’s odds of being in the 60% that do manage to stay afloat.

3. Allows for a quicker recovery from disaster. Businesses have to deal with various challenges in the aftermath of a crisis–data loss, customer complaints, disorganization, low staff morale–all these would eventually reflect on the company’s bottom line. For large enterprises, revenue losses can go as high as $700,000 for just an hour of downtime. Having a Business Continuity strategy helps organizations get operations back on track more quickly, bringing down financial losses, improving employee confidence, and minimizing client dissatisfaction.

4. Ensures protection of critical assets. Business Continuity preparation allows organizations to make a serious evaluation of their most valued assets. What infrastructure should be restored immediately? What are the most important physical assets and business processes? Who are the staff members that are vital to this equipment and operations? A continuity plan should include data backup and IT disaster recovery solutions and provides for redundancy of critical operations to ensure the least amount of downtime.

5. Helps facilitate regulatory compliance. Having a usable Business Continuity plan gives assurance to outside organizations and supervising bodies of your commitment to effectively manage risk. For instance:

○ there are legislations that require companies to ensure Business Continuity;

○ auditors make this a part of their audit checklist; and

○ a company’s board of directors, business partners, and suppliers would be reassured of the enterprise’s’ ability to hurdle disruptions with a BC plan in place.

Moreover, because some laws, like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, hold senior management (particularly, CEOs and CFOs) accountable for oversights that lead to non-compliance, executives must take greater involvement in developing various elements of the security program, including business continuity planning.

Business Continuity is a necessary measure that empowers your organization to be able to respond quickly and in the most appropriate manner in times of disaster. By identifying your company’s key assets, formulating protection and recovery strategies of these assets, and continual testing and maintenance of BC plans, you should be able to rest easy knowing that you’ve got all bases covered.