Why plan for the unexpected? The case for Business Continuity

March 3, 2014 2:17 pm Published by

By Chris Turnbull, MSc, CBCP

When the protestors breached the police barricade and began attacking the organization’s building, eventually setting it ablaze, the staff responded according to the plan they had diligently created just a few months earlier. And it paid off.

This was the exercise scenario I recently ran with a group of international development professionals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The group I trained had plenty of experience with business disruptions. Living and working in Africa, they were accustomed to facing the unexpected, but they believed whole-heartedly in the act of planning for those interruptions.

You don’t need to live in Africa, however, to understand the value of a solid business continuity plan.

  1. Disasters happen. Target’s data breach in 2013, the challenging winter weather pattern affecting the East coast in 2014, shootings at malls and schools – you name it. Disasters are in the news all the time. Certainly disasters affect individuals and communities in many ways, but one way that is not always brought up is their impact on businesses.
  2. Business Continuity Planning is a good business practice.  According to Contingency Planning & Management, 43 percent of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen. Twenty-nine percent of such businesses close within two years, and businesses whose information systems fail due to a disaster lose, on average, 40 percent of daily revenues.
  3. It’s the law. If you are in a heavily regulated industry like banking, finance, insurance, or utilities, you are most likely mandated to have a continuity plan. Critical businesses—in many cases those businesses that the public relies on to provide basic services—have a particular responsibility to be ready for the unexpected.

Planning is not rocket science, but it does take time and effort to do it correctly.  The international standard for preparedness and continuity management systems (ISO 22301) is the benchmark for continuity programs across the globe and an important reference point for any organization looking to create or improve its business continuity program.

Would you know what to do if a gang of angry protestors started knocking on your door? If not, contact us to get the planning process started.


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This post was written by Roy D'Ardenne