Whether they are mass-producing everyday products or providing life-saving medical care, companies do critical work every day. Their clients, customers and personnel expect them to be able to deliver their services no matter what the circumstances. But a disaster, power outage or cyber attack could derail those efforts. Two specific fields, business continuity and disaster recovery, aim to minimize the impact that any interruptions may have.
The Business Continuity Field
Often called BC or BCM, business continuity planning involves identifying the functions that are essential to the organization’s operations. That includes core business processes such as accounting, supply chain management and customer service. It also identifies critical IT components like data access, which can be protected with failover mechanisms. For example, using disk mirroring technology to store data in multiple locations ensures that an organization can continue functioning even if the primary data center is disabled.
The next step in the business continuity process is to develop and test a plan. This can be as simple as a tabletop exercise where staff members discuss how to maintain the business’s essential functions during a disaster. It can also include a full emergency simulation that could be planned in advance or performed without notice to more closely mimic the impact of a crisis.
Business continuity plans include clear guidelines about how a business will proceed during and after a disaster. It also outlines the pre-determined responsibilities of employees during an emergency, such as leasing temporary office space or assessing property damage. A business continuity leader will likely receive professional certifications, such as from the Business Continuity Institute or DRI International, to help them develop and confidently implement these strategies.