5 reasons to create an effective business continuity plan

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A business continuity plan details how companies ought to tackle unexpected disruptions and develop a plan of action in response to them. Find out how having one can preserve the integrity of your business.

A business continuity plan is arguably one of the most vital aspects of business management. Organisations often neglect the importance of a business continuity plan until an unplanned interruption happens, and by then, it is way too late.

Unforeseen circumstances such as power outages, cyberattacks, and most of all, a global pandemic can disrupt normal business operations and cause immense, costly downtime for organisations of all sizes and industries. Such disruptions can be devastating in today’s age of digitalisation, where businesses depend on technology to function seamlessly.

With an effective business continuity plan in place, companies can quickly identify risks and act accordingly to mitigate downtime and revenue loss.

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan or BCP refers to a document that outlines how your business will continue its operations during unexpected disruptions such as natural disasters (bushfires, floods) and or a cyber breach. More comprehensive than a disaster recovery plan, a BCP contains contingencies for every single aspect of the company that might be affected.

Business continuity plans usually comprise an equipment and supply checklist, backup site locations, and database backups. It identifies plan administrators, management systems and contains information for emergency responders, backup site suppliers, and key personnel to contact in the event of a disruption.

Plans can also include both long and short-term strategies for managing the disruption. A key component to a business continuity management system is handling technological disruptions to networks, personal computers, mobile devices, and servers. Visit the Australian Business community website for more information on how to create an effective business continuity plan.

Why do you need a business continuity plan?

1. Reduce downtime

Keeping a business going is crucial to the bottom line. A critical disaster can cost your business thousands if not millions of dollars in revenue loss. How quickly you get up and running to earn revenue again depends on your organisation’s response to a vast range of disruptions that can threaten your business’ financial success.

2. Safeguard important data

Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated. Over the 2020–21 financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received more than 67,500 cybercrime reports. That’s a 13% increase from the previous year, with self-reported losses from cybercrime totalling more than AU$33 billion.

Protecting business data such as confidential customer and employee information is of utmost importance, especially as the severity of data breaches increases.

3. Enhance customer loyalty & trust

About 79% of consumers surveyed are concerned about data security and privacy laws. An efficient business continuity strategy will show your customers that your company is more than capable of managing and recovering from disruption, thus boosting customer confidence.

In addition, a BCP allows you to prepare ahead of time, with protocols in place to anticipate and attend to customer requirements during emergencies. Hence, a good business continuity plan is essential for continuously delivering quality service and maintaining customer satisfaction throughout uncertainty.

4. Avoid business liabilities & legal fees

All employers in Australia are legally required to manage the health and safety of employees in the workplace. Without a business continuity strategy to mitigate risks, businesses may be prosecuted and fined for not protecting staff adequately. Hence, while developing and implementing a BCP may be time-consuming, it is ultimately worth it in the long run for business growth and success.

5. Maintain your company’s reputation

A business continuity plan helps you step back and look at your company's strengths and weaknesses, effectively assessing risks that could impact your business in an emergency. By protecting the integrity of your business, you are also building a good rapport with employees, business partners and stakeholders, which serves as an invaluable competitive advantage.