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Business continuity

A holistic approach .

Can your organisation sustain operations in the midst of a serious crisis? How do you identify “mission-critical” processes? Do you have a backup strategy in the event of a massive disruption in your technology, facilities or other functions? Are your employees trained to respond during business disruptions?

Companies that take a holistic approach to business continuity management develop the ability to identify, prevent and prepare for events that may disrupt normal activities. 

A fully integrated business continuity strategy helps to build an overall culture of resilience .

67% of organisations applied a business continuity plan as part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: PwC’s Global Crisis Survey 2021

Business continuity and a culture of resilience

Business continuity means more than just making sure the lights stay on when a crisis hits. The benefits of establishing a business continuity strategy include:

Assessing an organisation’s business continuity program

Effective business continuity programs have a common framework, core capabilities, and coordination of resources and activities to plan for and respond to events. 

PwC’s Organizational Preparedness Assessment (OPA), based on leading industry practices, helps organisations identify program blind spots and provides actionable recommendations to enhance program maturity.

PwC’s business continuity planning solutions

We’ve built scalable solutions to create a bespoke solution for each of our clients:

PwC brings depth and experience to support your response to an enterprise-wide crisis

Our PwC crisis management teams have developed tools and processes to help you survive an unexpected event and emerge stronger.

We take a holistic view of your organisation’s business continuity needs. And as your trusted advisor, we’ll help you build resilience for the long term.





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conceptual framework on business continuity plan

Business Continuity Plan

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Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram - Text Version

When business is disrupted, it can cost money. Lost revenues plus extra expenses means reduced profits. Insurance does not cover all costs and cannot replace customers that defect to the competition. A business continuity plan to continue business is essential. Development of a business continuity plan includes four steps:

Information technology (IT) includes many components such as networks, servers, desktop and laptop computers and wireless devices. The ability to run both office productivity and enterprise software is critical. Therefore, recovery strategies for information technology should be developed so technology can be restored in time to meet the needs of the business. Manual workarounds should be part of the IT plan so business can continue while computer systems are being restored.

Resources for Business Continuity Planning 

Business Continuity Impact Analysis

Business continuity impact analysis identifies the effects resulting from disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

The Operational & Financial Impacts worksheet  can be used to capture this information as discussed in Business Impact Analysis . The worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers with sufficient knowledge of the business. Once all worksheets are completed, the worksheets can be tabulated to summarize:

Those functions or processes with the highest potential operational and financial impacts become priorities for restoration. The point in time when a function or process must be recovered, before unacceptable consequences could occur, is often referred to as the “Recovery Time Objective.”

Resource Required to Support Recovery Strategies

Recovery of a critical or time-sensitive process requires resources. The Business Continuity Resource Requirements worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers. Completed worksheets are used to determine the resource requirements for recovery strategies.

Following an incident that disrupts business operations, resources will be needed to carry out recovery strategies and to restore normal business operations. Resources can come from within the business or be provided by third parties. Resources include:

Since all resources cannot be replaced immediately following a loss, managers should estimate the resources that will be needed in the hours, days and weeks following an incident.

Conducting the Business Continuity Impact Analysis

The worksheets Operational and Financial Impacts  and Business Continuity Resource Requirements should be distributed to business process managers along with instructions about the process and how the information will be used. After all managers have completed their worksheets, information should be reviewed. Gaps or inconsistencies should be identified. Meetings with individual managers should be held to clarify information and obtain missing information.

After all worksheets have been completed and validated, the priorities for restoration of business processes should be identified. Primary and dependent resource requirements should also be identified. This information will be used to develop recovery strategies.

Recovery Strategies

If a facility is damaged, production machinery breaks down, a supplier fails to deliver or information technology is disrupted, business is impacted and the financial losses can begin to grow. Recovery strategies are alternate means to restore business operations to a minimum acceptable level following a business disruption and are prioritized by the recovery time objectives (RTO) developed during the business impact analysis .

Recovery strategies require resources including people, facilities, equipment, materials and information technology. An analysis of the resources required to execute recovery strategies should be conducted to identify gaps. For example, if a machine fails but other machines are readily available to make up lost production, then there is no resource gap. However, if all machines are lost due to a flood, and insufficient undamaged inventory is available to meet customer demand until production is restored, production might be made up by machines at another facility—whether owned or contracted.

Strategies may involve contracting with third parties, entering into partnership or reciprocal agreements or displacing other activities within the company. Staff with in-depth knowledge of business functions and processes are in the best position to determine what will work. Possible alternatives should be explored and presented to management for approval and to decide how much to spend.

Depending upon the size of the company and resources available, there may be many recovery strategies that can be explored.

Utilization of other owned or controlled facilities performing similar work is one option. Operations may be relocated to an alternate site - assuming both are not impacted by the same incident. This strategy also assumes that the surviving site has the resources and capacity to assume the work of the impacted site. Prioritization of production or service levels, providing additional staff and resources and other action would be needed if capacity at the second site is inadequate.

Telecommuting is a strategy employed when staff can work from home through remote connectivity. It can be used in combination with other strategies to reduce alternate site requirements. This strategy requires ensuring telecommuters have a suitable home work environment and are equipped with or have access to a computer with required applications and data, peripherals, and a secure broadband connection.

In an emergency, space at another facility can be put to use. Cafeterias, conference rooms and training rooms can be converted to office space or to other uses when needed. Equipping converted space with furnishings, equipment, power, connectivity and other resources would be required to meet the needs of workers.

Partnership or reciprocal agreements can be arranged with other businesses or organizations that can support each other in the event of a disaster. Assuming space is available, issues such as the capacity and connectivity of telecommunications and information technology, protection of privacy and intellectual property, the impacts to each other’s operation and allocating expenses must be addressed. Agreements should be negotiated in writing and documented in the business continuity plan. Periodic review of the agreement is needed to determine if there is a change in the ability of each party to support the other.

There are many vendors that support business continuity and information technology recovery strategies. External suppliers can provide a full business environment including office space and live data centers ready to be occupied. Other options include provision of technology equipped office trailers, replacement machinery and other equipment. The availability and cost of these options can be affected when a regional disaster results in competition for these resources.

There are multiple strategies for recovery of manufacturing operations. Many of these strategies include use of existing owned or leased facilities. Manufacturing strategies include:

There are many factors to consider in manufacturing recovery strategies:

Resources for Developing Recovery Strategies

Manual Workarounds

Telephones are ringing and customer service staff is busy talking with customers and keying orders into the computer system. The electronic order entry system checks available inventory, processes payments and routes orders to the distribution center for fulfillment. Suddenly the order entry system goes down. What should the customer service staff do now? If the staff is equipped with paper order forms, order processing can continue until the electronic system comes back up and no phone orders will be lost.

The order forms and procedures for using them are examples of “manual workarounds.” These workarounds are recovery strategies for use when information technology resources are not available.

Developing Manual Workarounds

Identify the steps in the automated process - creating a diagram of the process can help. Consider the following aspects of information and work flow:

Internal Interfaces (department, person, activity and resource requirements)

Create data collection forms to capture information and define processes for manual handling of the information collected. Establish control logs to document transactions and track their progress through the manual system.

Manual workarounds require manual labor, so you may need to reassign staff or bring in temporary assistance.

Last Updated: 05/26/2021

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ISO 27001 & ISO 22301 Knowledge base

Business continuity plan: how to structure it according to iso 22301.

Advisera Dejan Kosutic

In my experience, companies usually find two things in their business continuity or information security management to be the most difficult: risk assessment, and business continuity planning. Here I’ll give you some tips on business continuity plans (BCP).

ISO 22301 business continuity plan should include Purpose, scope and users, Reference documents, Assumptions, Roles and responsibilities, Key contacts, Plan activation and deactivation, Communication, Incident response, Physical sites and transportation, Order of recovery for activities, Recovery plans for activities, Disaster recovery plan, Required resources, and Restoring and resuming activities from temporary measures.

What is a business continuity plan?

According to ISO 22301 , business continuity plan is defined as “documented procedures that guide organizations to respond, recover, resume, and restore to a pre-defined level of operation following disruption.” (clause 3.5)

This basically means that BCP focuses on developing plans/procedures, but it doesn’t include the analysis that forms the basis of such planning, nor the means of maintaining such plans – all these are required elements of business continuity management that are necessary for enabling successful contingency planning.

To read more about analysis, see Five Tips for Successful Business Impact Analysis , and to find out how to interpret the analysis, read Can business continuity strategy save your money? .

Business continuity plan example

Here’s what I found to be the optimal structure for the business continuity plan for smaller and midsize companies, and what each section should include:

Purpose, scope and users – why this plan is developed, its objectives, which parts of the organization it covers, and who should read it.

Reference documents – to which documents does this plan relate? Normally, these are Business Continuity Policy, Business Impact Analysis, Business Continuity Strategy, etc.

Assumptions – the prerequisites that need to exist in order for this plan to be effective.

Roles and responsibilities – who will be responsible for managing the disruptive incident, and who is authorized to perform certain activities in case of a disruptive incident – e.g. activation of the plans, urgent purchases, communication with media, etc.

Key contacts – contact details for persons who will participate in the execution of the business continuity plan – this is usually one of the annexes of the plan.

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Structure According to ISO 22301

Plan activation and deactivation – in which cases can the plan be activated, and the method of activation; which conditions need to exist to deactivate the plan. Communication – which communication means will be used between different teams and with other interested parties during the disruptive incident. Who is in charge of communicating with each interested party, and the special rules of communication with media and government agencies.

Incident response – how to react initially to an incident in order to reduce the damage – this is very often an annex to the main plan.

Physical sites and transportation – which are the primary and alternative sites, where the assembly points are, and how to get from primary to alternative sites.

Order of recovery for activities – list of all the activities, with precise Recovery Time Objective (RTO) for each.

Recovery plans for activities – description of step-by-step actions and responsibilities for recovering manpower, facilities, infrastructure, software, information, and processes, including interdependencies and interactions with other activities and external interested parties – these are very often annexes to the main plan. To read more about them, see How to write business continuity plans?

Disaster recovery plan – this is normally a type of recovery plan that focuses on recovering the information and communication technology infrastructure. To read more about the relationship between disaster recovery and business continuity, see Disaster recovery vs business continuity .

Required resources – a list of all the employees, third-party services, facilities, infrastructure, information, equipment, etc. that are necessary to perform the recovery, and who is responsible to provide each of them.

Restoring and resuming activities from temporary measures – how to restore business activities back to business-as-usual once the disruptive incident has been resolved.

What I like about ISO 22301 is that it requires all the elements that are necessary for this plan to be useful in case of a disaster (or any other disruption in a company’s activities). However, no standard can help you unless you understand this task seriously – a properly written and comprehensive plan can save your company in tough times, while a superficially written plan will only make things worse.

Click here to see a sample  Business Continuity Plan .

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Writing a business continuity plan according to ISO 22301

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Business Continuity Plan

Power through business disruptions and ascertain operational stability with a practical and effective business continuity plan

business continuity planning with a digital tool

Published 15 Feb 2023

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan is a practical guide developed by companies to enable continuous operations in the event of major business disruptions like natural disasters and global lockdowns. Business continuity planning usually involves analyzing the impact of disrupted business processes and determining recovery strategies with management. Business continuity plans should also be properly documented and tested through exercises for optimal effectiveness.

Business Continuity Plan Sample PDF Report

Business Continuity Plan | View Sample PDF

The goal of a business continuity plan is to strengthen the defense of businesses against a number of potential disruptions. It also aims to maintain critical business functions during unforeseen disasters. With a comprehensive business continuity plan, leaders can ensure that despite restrictions, there would be a reduced impact on the company, its employees, and operations.

With economies impaired by the COVID-19 pandemic , business continuity has increasingly become a top priority for organizations around the world. A business continuity plan (BCP) is important because it helps companies maintain essential functions amid or after emergency situations, protecting their reputation and minimizing financial losses. Moreover, it helps employers stay on top of disruptive incidents and empower workers to complete job tasks with confidence.

The main difference between a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan is that the former encompasses the latter—that is, business continuity planning includes disaster recovery planning. I SO 22301:2019 is the international standard for business continuity management (BCM) systems, and it outlines how specific plans for disaster recovery, incident preparedness, and emergency response may be needed rather than just one large plan for business continuity.

Creating a business continuity plan seems to be a daunting task at first, especially for managers of operations, information technology, and human resources as they are often designated with this duty. As recommended by the International Labour Organization (ILO), listed below are general steps in developing a business continuity plan for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs):

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Empower your team with SafetyCulture to perform checks, train staff, report issues, and automate tasks with our digital platform.

When planning for business continuity, it helps to break down its elements into quickly-understood segments. Keeping the plan user-focused can also help ensure usability and promote transferability. The following is a brief ILO example of how a small business owner developed a business continuity plan to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 :

COVID-19 Risk Assessment: high-risk profile

Key Products: different types of canned sardines


Potential Impact of Disruptions:

4Ps Framework Action Points:

Contact Lists:

Even when disruptions can force businesses to shut down, yours doesn’t have to. Aim for operational stability by developing and implementing a business continuity plan with the help of a simple tool like SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) . SafetyCulture is a digital platform that empowers people to work safely and efficiently through mobile checklists, actions, and reporting.

Using SafetyCulture as a business continuity software , here’s how different companies around the world reached business continuity amid COVID-19 :

Coming Out Strong as the Pandemic Unfolded

Footasylum is a sports fashion retailer in the UK with 70 stores and over 2,700 employees nationwide. Because of the emerging novel coronavirus outbreak, they knew it was inevitable for retail stores to close without an idea when they could safely reopen.

They used SafetyCulture to safely reopen stores by conducting a preliminary COVID-19 store opening check which provided incredibly quick insight on the current state of the stores and created actions for what needed to be done to control health and safety risks.

Now that stores are open, the team uses SafetyCulture to monitor daily activity through a retail COVID-19 daily requirements check , giving the management confidence that they are doing everything that is reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

“We have come out of this as a really strong team, and pride is really high,” said Jane Buck, Head of Human Resources and Health and Safety.

Acting at Lightning Speed to Protect Hundreds of Staff and Thousands of Customers

Statewide Independent Wholesalers (SIW) is a grocery wholesaler that holds and delivers goods for most of the major supermarkets in Tasmania, Australia . When COVID-19 hit, they needed to make decisions quickly due to the risk which was significantly high.

The grocer giant stayed completely focused on meeting COVID-19 hygiene and distancing requirements , as they do around 75 checks every week. Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager Courtney Newman shared, “SafetyCulture is a really valuable tool to do that. It’s made a huge difference to our data collection, and our behavior observation space, too.”

They managed to minimize 6.5 hours of admin time which was useful when they needed that time to keep themselves informed on the latest news and guidance. Courtney continued, “I took the SafetyCulture program and used it the way I wanted to. This means if any of our teams are doing anything of risk, we work with them to make sure they adhere to the guidelines.”

Navigating the Pandemic and Beyond with Safety, Consistency, and Quality

Snooze Eatery is a popular chain of restaurants with 43 locations in the US. During one of the most uncertain periods for hospitality businesses, they used SafetyCulture to build up a culture of safety, consistency, and quality.

During reopening, the team created the brand new role, ‘Safety Dancers’, who are in charge of cleaning, sanitizing, and managing the capacity of the eatery. This meant that guests could trust the safety and cleanliness standards of the restaurant, and enjoy a cup of coffee in bliss.

SafetyCulture has allowed them to reassure their employees and guests during a time where trust in public spaces is low because of the potential health and safety risks. They also don’t just implement COVID-19 protocols with SafetyCulture —it’s a safeguard for food and service quality across all their locations.

“It’s a unique tool. The inspections and templates make you go through a checklist, but it also makes you give proof in the form of photos and notes, and to take care of things on the spot. It holds you to the utmost perfect standard in every way.”

—Katie Birner, Snooze Eatery Assistant General Manager

Business Continuity Plan Templates

Get started with your business continuity plan by using pre-made industry templates you can customize and use on SafetyCulture. This free collection of BCP templates includes audit checklists to help you assess the effectiveness of your business continuity plan, keep it updated, and take action on areas for improvement.


SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Jona Tarlengco

Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.

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Business continuity planning.

Business continuity planning enables you to create an easy-to-use, actionable business continuity planning solution to prepare for the impact of a broad range of threats including natural disasters, disease outbreaks, accidents and terrorism. In addition business continuity planning can help when you face technology-related hazards like the failure of systems, equipment or software. MEP Centers can assist you in developing a plan unique to your needs.

If your company needs to create or tweak a business continuity plan, I highly suggest reaching out to Purdue MEP!

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Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram

Create Business Continuity examples like this template called Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram that you can easily edit and customize in minutes.

Example Image: Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram

Text in this Example:

Recovery Strategies Business Impact Analysis Plan Development Testing & Exercises Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram Develop questionnaire, Conduct workshop to Instruct business function and process managers how to complete the BIA, Receive Completed BIA questionnaire forms, Review BIA questionnaires, Conduct follow-up interviews to validate information and fill any information gaps. Identify and document resource requirements based on BIAs, Conduct gap analysis to determine gaps between recovery requirements and current capabilities, Explore recovery strategies with management approval, Implement strategies. Develop plan framework, Organize recovery teams, Develop Relocation Plans, Write business continuity and IT disaster recovery procedures, Document manual workarounds, Assemble plan; validate gain management approval. Develop testing, exercise and maintenance requirements, Conduct training for business continuity team, Conduct orientation exercises, Conduct testing and document test results, Update BCP to incorporate lessons learned from testing and exercises.

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Business Continuity Simplified

Smartsheet Contributor Andy Marker

December 17, 2018 (updated October 24, 2021)

Unexpected work interruptions can cripple a business and cause millions of dollars in expenses and lost business. Learn about the importance of business continuity planning and management from experts. 

In this article, you’ll learn the definition of a business continuity plan and the primary goal of business continuity planning . Additionally, you’ll learn the steps involved in business continuity planning and about the business continuity lifecycle .

What Is Business Continuity Management?

In business continuity management (BCM) , a company identifies potential threats to its activities and the threat impact. The company then develops plans to respond to those threats and continue activities through any crisis.

What Is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) describes how a business will continue to run during and after a crisis event. The BCP details guidelines, procedures, and work instructions to aid continuity.

To learn more about writing a plan, see our how-to guide to writing a business continuity plan .

What Is Business Continuity Planning?

Business continuity planning (BCP) refers to the work a company does to create a plan and system to deal with risks. Thorough planning seeks to prevent problems and ensure business processes continue during and after a crisis.

Business continuity planning ensures that the company deals with disruptions quickly, and minimizes the impact on operations. Business continuity planning is also called business resumption planning and continuous service delivery assurance (CSDA) .

What Is the Primary Goal of Business Continuity Planning?

The main goal of business continuity planning is to support key company activities during a crisis. Planning ensures a company can run with limited resources or restricted access to buildings. Continuity planning also aims to minimize revenue or reputation losses.   

A business continuity plan should outline several key things that an organization needs to do to prepare for potential disruptions to its activities, including the following:

Business Continuity Planning Steps

A business continuity plan includes guidelines and procedures to guide a business through disruption. The efforts to create a plan are the same for large or small organizations. A simple plan is better than no plan. 

The basic steps for writing a business continuity plan are as follows:

The Business Continuity Management Lifecycle

Business continuity management includes preparing for and handling unexpected events. BCM has a six-step lifecycle. This cycle repeats during both in regular business times and crises, as you take the right steps to keep activities always running.

The BCM lifecycle includes the following points:

What Are Business Continuity Risks or Events?

Also called business continuity events, business continuity risks are the most common events that can disrupt a company’s regular operations — these can be natural and human-made crises. Defining these risks is a vital part of business continuity planning.

Such events might include the following:

Any of these triggers can result in broader problems for a company, such as danger or injury to staff and others, equipment damages, brand injury, and loss of income and net worth. Business continuity management and planning address and mitigate these contingencies.

What Is a Business Continuity Strategy?

A business continuity strategy is more often called a business continuity plan. The strategy includes the processes and structure a company uses to manage an unexpected event.

Some people consider business continuity strategy to be a step in the planning process. In the strategy phase, business continuity planners describe the overall approach a company should take to prevent, manage, and recover from a crisis.

An Overview of Business Continuity Management and Planning

There are several goals, key elements, and benefits to business continuity management and planning. The primary goals of management and planning are as follows:

Business continuity management and planning generally cover the following areas, with differences depending on the organization and industry:

conceptual framework on business continuity plan

“A well managed business continuity management program will help protect people, assets, and business processes,” says Scott Owens, founder and managing director of BluTinuity , a business continuity firm based in New Berlin, Wisconsin. “It may not be able to prevent all incidents. But it can reduce the likelihood of incidents, decrease response time, and lower the cost and impact of an incident.”

Key Elements of Business Continuity Management

All business continuity management programs should include a number of key elements, which serve to ensure that your plan is positioned for success and that you regularly update and improve it.   

These important elements include the following:

To learn about formal requirements for business continuity planning and management, see our comprehensive article on the ISO 22301 standard . 

The Costs of Business Continuity Management

The costs to do an appropriate job of business continuity management can be significant. However, some reports say that the cost of unforeseen downtime may be as much as $2.5 billion a year for Fortune 1000 companies.

Kurt Engemann, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Business Continuity and Risk Management at Iona College in New York, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management and author of Business Continuity and Risk Management: Essentials of Organizational Resilience . In the book, he says that costs for business continuity preparation do not only include the groundwork to assess a company’s risks and plans to manage those risks. Rather, they also cover the needed backup facilities and equipment and company assets for emergency response. In addition, costs must cover resources for training employees and testing the plan.

Some experts have estimated that business continuity management and planning within only the crucial information technology aspects of companies can cost two to four percent of the information technology budget. But the costs are necessary, and worth it in the long run, according to business continuity experts.

“There is an initial outlay of a modest amount of money that will lessen the financial impact of a possible future crisis,” Engemann writes in his book. “Similar to an insurance policy, the financial benefit of BCM must be viewed from a long-term prospective.”

When an organization’s top executives complain about the costs, Owens says, “Ask them what it would cost their organization for an hour of downtime. Or eight hours. Or 24 hours. Chances are the cost — financial, operational, and to brand and reputation — of having key business functions unavailable for an extended period are significant. They will most likely find business continuity management to be worth the investment.” 

Benefits of Business Continuity Management

Like Engemann, Owens points out that there are significant benefits to the investment organizations make in business continuity management, including the following:

Michael Herrera, CEO of MHA Consulting , a business continuity and disaster recovery firm, cites two other significant benefits: 

conceptual framework on business continuity plan

“Your customers aren’t as patient as you think they are,” Herrera explains. “They expect you to have a business continuity system and they expect you to be up and running. Their patience does run out.”

Additionally, strong business continuity planning will enable you to do the following:

See our article on the importance and benefits of business continuity planning to read more expert examples of how business continuity can bolster your company. 

Key Business Continuity Management and Planning Considerations

Companies don’t have to face business continuity planning alone. There are a variety of tools and services that can help, including the following:

Consultant Services

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of consultants and companies that can provide help with developing your business continuity plan. Below are a few things to think about in choosing one:

Business Continuity Software

There are also hundreds of pieces of business continuity software on the market. Here are some things to consider:

Below are some specifics to consider as you test drive the software:

Primary Things Your Organization’s Business Continuity Management System Should Accomplish

While your business continuity management system will have various elements and details, there are some primary things it should do for your organization. They correspond to the key elements listed earlier in this article. 

For example, a BCM system should help do the following: 

Although nobody wants to think about disasters or the effort needed to prepare to meet and mitigate crises, the alternative is the potential loss of reputation, income, or the entire business. In sum, planning translates to determining your key processes, equipment, and tools, and applying basic recovery strategies. 

The Importance of Senior Organizational Leaders Strongly Supporting Your Business Continuity Management and Planning

Your senior leaders must strongly support your company’s business continuity management plan for it to succeed. Such leadership is key as storms, floods, pandemics, and data breaches increase in force and frequency.

conceptual framework on business continuity plan

“Make sure senior management is committed to the planning, development, execution, and implementation of a business continuity/disaster recovery program,” says Paul Kirvan , a business continuity consultant and a fellow of the Business Continuity Institute with 25 years of experience in business continuity work. “Otherwise, it simply won’t happen. Such programs work best if they have top-down support and funding, as opposed to being developed from the ground up.”

Business Continuity Plan Test Types

Testing verifies the effectiveness of your plan and provides training for participants. To ensure better communication, include suppliers, vendors, and other stakeholders in exercises. If appropriate, also consider including local emergency preparedness officials.  

There are four types of testing, and each requires increasing levels of planning, resources, and focus. You should try to run each type of drill regularly.

Be sure to document what happened in the test so everyone involved in the exercise — and especially those who created the plan — can understand what did and didn’t go well, and can revise as necessary.

Business Continuity Management Policy Statement

A business continuity policy statement is a written document that outlines an organization’s business continuity management program. The policy statement should be communicated to all employees and should be signed and endorsed by the organization’s senior management.

See real-world examples of a business continuity policy statement .

Cultivating Awareness of Business Continuity Plans

The best business continuity system is useless if no one knows about it. Find ways to promote your plans in daily company activities, and discuss business continuity regularly in company and team meetings. Also, be sure to include the business continuity manager in cross-functional planning meetings so they can represent the business continuity perspective. Above all, exercise your plan, test your plan, and then test again.

What Is the Importance of a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan is vital to ensure that your company mitigates downtime during a crisis. Resuming activities quickly after an event also helps ensure your company’s financial health.

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan

It is crucial that your company set up a group of people to help create your business continuity plan. The group should include senior leadership, experts, and staff. A simple, practical plan is the best plan. At a minimum, include continuity team roles and duties, and team member contact information. You should also add guidelines and checklists for dealing with unforeseen events. 

Daily business functions rely on many resources — human, utilities, machines, and even paper, pens, and pencils. Business recovery after a disruptive event is no different. See our in-depth article on writing a business continuity plan for a complete list of resource types you may want to include in a plan.

You can ask certain questions as you form your strategy, and a business continuity plan usually includes common resources and elements. See our article on how to write a business continuity plan to learn more.

Business Continuity Plan Template

conceptual framework on business continuity plan

This template can help you document and track business operations in the event of a disruption/disaster to maintain critical processes. The plan includes space to record business function recovery priorities, recovery plans, and alternate site locations. Plan efficiently for disruption and minimize downtime, so your business maintains optimal efficiency.

Download Business Continuity Plan Template

Word | PowerPoint | PDF

You’ll find other most useful free, downloadable business continuity plan (BCP) templates, in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF formats in this article . 

What Is a Business Impact Analysis and Why Is It an Important Part of a Business Continuity Plan?

A business impact analysis (BIA) is one of the most important parts of business continuity planning. The analysis considers how an unforeseen disruption could affect a company. BIA results also suggest how a business can recover from a crisis.

The business impact analysis will include details on the following:

See our business impact analysis toolkit to find guidelines and templates to get started.

Risk Mitigation for Business Continuity

Risk assessment is one of the first steps in preparing your business continuity plan. 

Risk management includes identifying and ranking risks, and risk control includes identifying policies and procedures to avoid and contain risks. 

To learn more about risk management , read our comprehensive guide.

The Importance of Periodically Testing an Organization’s Business Continuity Plan

Even the best business continuity plans are useless if you do not continually test them in real-world mockups. Testing helps you continuously improve procedures, and also keeps plans synched with current business context.

Robert Sollars, a security trainer and consultant from Mesa, Arizona, says, “You must exercise your plan and train your employees in it. This can be costly and unwieldy at times, but it is an absolute must. I liken this to buying a Lamborghini and letting it sit in the garage, never starting it up, never driving it, never doing anything but admiring it. Your plan must be taken out and test driven at least two to three times per year. If you don’t test it, then when the real thing pops you will realize what the books, consultants, and experts have told you is useless for your organization. Testing it allows you to figure out the bugs and tweak the necessary items to make it more efficient and effective.”

Owens adds, “If you haven’t tested your plans, you aren’t ready for a disaster.”

You can do some testing through simpler table top exercises — for example, by talking through hypothetical incidents with your team. But Owens and other business continuity experts say organizations should also periodically do exercises that more closely mimic a real-world event.

“Organizations need to move … to progressively more complex scenarios, involving cross-functional teams and interdependent systems and processes,” he writes in a blog post about business continuity. “This is the only way that a company can get outside its comfort zone to truly understand if what they have designed will really work. My preference is to involve role-playing, actors, and include participation from vendors, business partners, and local law enforcement when appropriate. This will almost always result in lessons learned and opportunities to improve the plan, which is another great outcome.”

The most important result from testing your plan is an understanding of where theoretical solutions won’t work in real events. This understanding will then allow your organization to amend the plan to be more effective.

What Is a Business Continuity Plan Governance Committee?

Many companies set up a business continuity plan governance committee, which consists of staff members and senior leaders (their continuity efforts is vital). Governance tasks include writing the business continuity plan and supervising ongoing plan maintenance.  

The committee is often responsible for the following duties:

The committee often includes the following members:

How to Cultivate Resilience in Your Organization

A resilient organization has the tools and abilities to survive a disruptive event, and also regularly looks for new threats and adapts to changes in the organizational and industry landscape. Resilience experts recognize two types of resilience: reactive resilience uses a company’s existing processes to meet and overcome a crisis; proactive resilience anticipates disruptions and considers methods to prevent problems.  

Real World Example: Lessons Learned About Business Continuity from the Terrorist Attacks of Sept. 11, 2001

Organizational leaders and business continuity experts learned a lot from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Worst of all, the attacks killed thousands of people. But they also severely disrupted communications, financial transactions, and some commerce in New York City and throughout the world.

The following are among the lessons learned:

Legislation Governing Some Business Continuity Management and Planning

The United Kingdom did approved the Civil Contingencies Act in 2004, which requires businesses to have business continuity plans in place.

Some industries do have regulatory bodies that may impose business continuity requirements within those industries. For instance, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a private self-regulatory organization overseeing the U.S. financial securities industry. FINRA established FINRA Rule 4370. This rule requires securities firms to create and maintain written business continuity plans. Utility bodies, such as North American Electric Reliability Corporation ( NERC ) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ( FERC ), also require continuity plans.

Guidelines, Standards, and Resources Providing Guidance on Business Continuity Management and Planning

Organizational leaders can use a number of standards set by industry and other groups to guide their business continuity planning and management programs. Below are some commonly used standards:

What Is the Business Continuity Institute?

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI), based in the United Kingdom, is a non-profit professional organization providing education, certification, and leadership on business continuity management. The Institute has more than 8,000 members in more than 100 countries.

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How to create an effective business continuity plan

A business continuity plan outlines procedures and instructions an organization must follow in the face of disaster, whether fire, flood or cyberattack. Here's how to create one that gives your business the best chance of surviving such an event.

business planning

We rarely get advance notice that a disaster is ready to strike. Even with some lead time, though, multiple things can go wrong; every incident is unique and unfolds in unexpected ways.

This is where a business continuity plan comes into play. To give your organization the best shot at success during a disaster, you need to put a current, tested plan in the hands of all personnel responsible for carrying out any part of that plan. The lack of a plan doesn’t just mean your organization will take longer than necessary to recover from an event or incident. You could go out of business for good.

What is business continuity?

Business continuity refers to maintaining business functions or quickly resuming them in the event of a major disruption, whether caused by a fire, flood or malicious attack by cybercriminals. A business continuity plan outlines procedures and instructions an organization must follow in the face of such disasters; it covers business processes, assets, human resources, business partners and more.

Many people think a disaster recovery plan is the same as a business continuity plan, but a disaster recovery plan focuses mainly on restoring an IT infrastructure and operations after a crisis. It’s actually just one part of a complete business continuity plan, as a business continuity plan looks at the continuity of the entire organization.

Do you have a way to get HR, manufacturing and sales and support functionally up and running so the company can continue to make money right after a disaster? For example, if the building that houses your customer service representatives is flattened by a tornado, do you know how those reps can handle customer calls? Will they work from home temporarily, or from an alternate location? The BC plan addresses these types of concerns.

Note that a business impact analysis is another part of a business continuity plan. A business impact analysis identifies the impact of a sudden loss of business functions, usually quantified in a cost. Such analysis also helps you evaluate whether you should outsource non-core activities in your business continuity plan, which can come with its own risks. The business impact analysis essentially helps you look at your entire organization’s processes and determine which are most important.

Why business continuity planning matters

Whether you operate a small business or a large corporation, you strive to remain competitive. It’s vital to retain current customers while increasing your customer base — and there’s no better test of your capability to do so than right after an adverse event.

Because restoring IT is critical for most companies, numerous disaster recovery solutions are available. You can rely on IT to implement those solutions. But what about the rest of your business functions? Your company’s future depends on your people and processes. Being able to handle any incident effectively can have a positive effect on your company’s reputation and market value, and it can increase customer confidence.

“There’s an increase in consumer and regulatory expectations for security today,” says Lorraine O’Donnell, global head of business continuity at Experian. “Organizations must understand the processes within the business and the impact of the loss of these processes over time. These losses can be financial, legal, reputational and regulatory. The risk of having an organization’s “license to operate” withdrawn by a regulator or having conditions applied (retrospectively or prospectively) can adversely affect market value and consumer confidence. Build your recovery strategy around the allowable downtime for these processes.”

Anatomy of a business continuity plan

If your organization doesn’t have a business continuity plan in place, start by assessing your business processes, determining which areas are vulnerable, and the potential losses if those processes go down for a day, a few days or a week. This is essentially a business impact analysis.

Next, develop a plan. This involves six general steps:

One common business continuity planning tool is a checklist that includes supplies and equipment, the location of data backups and backup sites, where the plan is available and who should have it, and contact information for emergency responders, key personnel and backup site providers.

Remember that the disaster recovery plan is part of the business continuity plan, so developing a disaster recovery plan if you don’t already have one should be part of your process. And if you do already have a disaster recovery plan, don’t assume that all requirements have been factored in, O’Donnell warns. You need to be sure that restoration time is defined and “make sure it aligns with business expectations.”

As you create your plan, consider interviewing key personnel in organizations who have gone through a disaster successfully. People generally like to share “war stories” and the steps and techniques (or clever ideas) that saved the day. Their insights could prove incredibly valuable in helping you to craft a solid plan.

The importance of testing your business continuity plan

Testing a plan is the only way to truly know it will work, says O’Donnell. “Obviously, a real incident is a true test and the best way to understand if something works. However, a controlled testing strategy is much more comfortable and provides an opportunity to identify gaps and improve.”

You have to rigorously test a plan to know if it’s complete and will fulfill its intended purpose. In fact, O’Donnell suggests you try to break it. “Don’t go for an easy scenario; always make it credible but challenging. This is the only way to improve. Also, ensure the objectives are measurable and stretching. Doing the minimum and ‘getting away with it’ just leads to a weak plan and no confidence in a real incident.”

Many organizations test a business continuity plan two to four times a year. The schedule depends on your type of organization, the amount of turnover of key personnel and the number of business processes and IT changes that have occurred since the last round of testing.

Common tests include tabletop exercises , structured walk-throughs and simulations. Test teams are usually composed of the recovery coordinator and members from each functional unit.

A tabletop exercise usually occurs in a conference room with the team poring over the plan, looking for gaps and ensuring that all business units are represented therein.

In a structured walk-through, each team member walks through his or her components of the plan in detail to identify weaknesses. Often, the team works through the test with a specific disaster in mind. Some organizations incorporate drills and disaster role-playing into the structured walk-through. Any weaknesses should be corrected and an updated plan distributed to all pertinent staff.

It’s also a good idea to conduct a full emergency evacuation drill at least once a year. This type of test lets you determine if you need to make special arrangements to evacuate staff members who have physical limitations.

Lastly, disaster simulation testing can be quite involved and should be performed annually. For this test, create an environment that simulates an actual disaster, with all the equipment, supplies and personnel (including business partners and vendors) who would be needed. The purpose of a simulation is to determine if you can carry out critical business functions during the event.

During each phase of business continuity plan testing, include some new employees on the test team. “Fresh eyes” might detect gaps or lapses of information that experienced team members could overlook.

Review and improve your business continuity plan

Much effort goes into creating and initially testing a business continuity plan. Once that job is complete, some organizations let the plan sit while other, more critical tasks get attention. When this happens, plans go stale and are of no use when needed.

Technology evolves, and people come and go, so the plan needs to be updated, too. Bring key personnel together at least annually to review the plan and discuss any areas that must be modified.

Prior to the review, solicit feedback from staff to incorporate into the plan. Ask all departments or business units to review the plan, including branch locations or other remote units. If you’ve had the misfortune of facing a disaster and had to put the plan into action, be sure to incorporate lessons learned. Many organizations conduct a review in tandem with a table-top exercise or structured walk-through.

How to ensure business continuity plan support, awareness

One way to ensure your plan is not successful is to adopt a casual attitude toward its importance. Every business continuity plan must be supported from the top down. That means senior management must be represented when creating and updating the plan; no one can delegate that responsibility to subordinates. In addition, the plan is likely to remain fresh and viable if senior management makes it a priority by dedicating time for adequate review and testing.

Management is also key to promoting user awareness. If employees don’t know about the plan, how will they be able to react appropriately when every minute counts? Although plan distribution and training can be conducted by business unit managers or HR staff, have someone from the top kick off training and punctuate its significance. It’ll have a greater impact on all employees, giving the plan more credibility and urgency.

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Whether it's a natural disaster such as an ice storm, or a serious accident in an industrial plant, an unforeseen event can disrupt business operations at any company.

After all, in an emergency situation, your employees may not be able to come to work. Your suppliers may face a shortage of the materials you need to continue your business activities, or demand for your services may simply decline.

The key benefits of a business continuity plan

No one can predict the future; however, you can be ready with a sound business continuity plan. Getting a plan in place shows your employees, shareholders and customers that you are a proactive organization; it improves overall efficiency in your company and helps you allocate the right financial and human resources to keep your firm up and running during a serious disruption.

Here are 8 basic steps to keep in mind when putting together your plan. Click on the link in each step to find more information and useful templates from BDC's complete Business Continuity Guide .

Download templates

It is a good idea to clearly assign the responsibility for emergency preparedness to a team. Select a few managers/individuals or an existing committee to take charge of the project.

It is advisable to assign one person to lead the planning process. You should also ensure that this "emergency manager" has the authority to get things done.

As with other business aspects, planning for an emergency relies on the following:

What are the key roles and responsibilities for your Emergency Preparedness team?

Planning and implementation.

Policies, procedures, organization


Use the Planning Team for Business Continuity in an Emergency form (DOC) to clearly identify the team members and coordinator who will create your BCP for emergencies, along with their respective contact information.

During an emergency, your business may experience a disruption in your operations due to:

Objective of the business continuity planning process

Determine how your organization will maintain essential services/functions in the event of an emergency.

What are essential services

This means that your business may be forced to modify, reduce, or even eliminate specific services/functions to cope with the impacts of the emergency. These impacts may be felt across the organization or localized to specific business units.

As you begin discussions, you may find that you have existing resources that you can use to extract information about essential services in your organization (e.g., pandemic influenza plans, Y2K plan, etc.)

How to determine and prioritize your essential services

1. complete the essential services ranking template.

This will help you create your list of essential services by department or business unit. You then need to rate the degree to which it will negatively impact the various key areas such as financial, employees, customers etc.

2. Prioritize and categorize, use the Essential Services Criticalness Factor template

For each essential service, assign a "degree of criticalness" (Priority A, B or C). Rate the impact on each service such as staff absenteeism, unavailability of critical supplies, or disruptions to essential systems.

As part of your business continuity planning process, you'll need to identify the number of staff and skills required to perform and maintain the essential services/functions.

Use the Essential Services Criticalness Factor template to help you capture the information necessary to develop your plan.

Try to identify any special requirements necessary to perform the essential services/functions (for example, license to operate heavy machinery).

You may also wish to prepare a list of special tasks and skills required in emergency situations and assign them to appropriate employees, e.g. crisis management team, employee support, IT backup, defining security perimeters etc.

Additional sites with useful information:

Discuss what will happen if you have to reduce, modify or eliminate essential services or functions. Document the following points:

Strategies and action plans

Use the Action Plan Template for Maintaining Essential Service (DOC) to write your plans for each essential service or function. This should include:

Key Contacts

Use the supplied templates to create lists of all your key contacts along with their contact information.

Being proactive in contacting important customers can go a long way in mitigating losses. Use the Action Plan Template for Key Customers (DOC) to list customers who would need and expect personal notification from you, or who would be offended or take their business elsewhere if they were not contacted.

Include the following information in your list:

Suppliers and sub-contractors

Use the Action Plan Template for Critical Suppliers (DOC) to list essential information on your key suppliers. The information should be the same as that described for Key Customers, above.

Business partners and support providers

This main is for important partners who do not fall into the earlier categories, but that you would need to contact in the event of an emergency:

Use the Action Plan Template for Business partners (DOC) to list essential information about these other partners. The information should be the same as that described for Key Customers above.

Review your Business Continuity Plan to make sure that all issues have been addressed, and identify any areas in which you may need additional documentation.

The "Business Continuity Plan Checklist" (DOC) provided by Capital Health was developed to ensure that you've covered most aspects of your plan.

Impact on your business

Impact on your employees and customers, establishing policies to be implemented during an emergency.

Communicating with employees

Coordinating with external organizations and helping your community.

Allocating resources to protect your employees and customers during an emergency

You should present a draft of the Business Continuity Plan to your emergency preparedness team for review and/or comment. Since the committee will have an understanding of the overall corporate impact of an emergency, they should review to ensure that your plan:

The committee should also be in charge of monitoring the progress of the initiative .

Be proactive: put your plan to the test by performing trial runs. This will help you identify any missing aspects or weaknesses.

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conceptual framework on business continuity plan

Introduction to Business Continuity

Start here if you're new to business continuity.

What is Business Continuity?

BCM Lifecycle

Flood. Cyber attack. Supply chain failure or losing a key employee. Disruptions to your business can happen at any moment.

Business continuity is about having a plan to deal with difficult situations, so your organization can continue to function with as little disruption as possible.

Whether it’s a business, public sector organization, or charity, you need to know how you can keep going under any circumstances.

Potential incidents to consider

These are just some of the many incidents an organziation needs to consider and plan for.

Make a plan

A good BC plan recognises potential threats to an organization and analyses what impact they may have on day-to-day operations.

It also provides a way to mitigate these threats, putting in place a framework which allows key functions of the business to continue even if the worst happens.

Example: Do not rely on one supplier of raw materials, what if that supplier goes out of business? If you purchase raw materials from two suppliers then you are potentially halving your risk.

The BCI has designed a short, self-paced eLearning course that will help you understand the importance of business continuity and get you starting to think about the incidents that might impact your own organization and what you can do to mitigate them. This short course takes up to 30 minutes to complete.

Business Continuity Basics course

The BCI has many other free resources available to enhance your understanding of business continuity, see a few below to start ...

View free webinar to understand the basics of business continuity.

 This webinar takes you through the basic business continuity concepts and quick wins on where to start (aimed at SMEs)

View webinar

What threats do organizations face?

The BCI Horizon Scan report identifies threats organziations should be aware of. Free to download.

Download Report

Download the BCI Good Practice Guidelines Lite

The BCI Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) Lite gives your a brief introduction to the Business Continuity Management Lifecycle and the stages included. It will help you put a plan together and give you insight to what is included in the full edition of the GPG and the content of the CBCI Certification course  

Download GPG Lite

conceptual framework on business continuity plan

business continuity plan (BCP)

Vicki-Lynn Brunskill

What is a business continuity plan (BCP)?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue operating during an unplanned event.

The BCP states the essential functions of the business, identifies which systems and processes must be sustained, and details how to maintain them. It should consider any possible business disruption.

A BCP covers risks including cyber attacks , pandemics, natural disasters and human error. The array of possible risks makes it vital for an organization to have a business continuity plan to preserve its health and reputation. A proper BCP decreases the chance of a costly power outage or IT outage.

IT administrators often create the plan. However, the executive staff participate in the process, providing knowledge of the company and oversight. They also ensure the BCP is regularly updated.

This article is part of

What is BCDR? Business continuity and disaster recovery guide

Download this entire guide for FREE now!

Importance of business continuity planning

Business continuity planning is a proactive business process that lets a company understand potential threats, vulnerabilities and weaknesses to its organization in times of crisis. The creation of a business continuity program ensures company leaders can react quickly and efficiently to business interruption .

A BCP enables a company to continue to serve customers during a crisis and minimize the likelihood of customers going to competitors. These plans decrease business downtime and outline the steps to be taken -- before, during and after an emergency -- to maintain the company's financial viability.

Elements of a business continuity plan

According to business continuity consultant Paul Kirvan, a BCP should contain the following items:

In the book Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning for IT Professionals , Susan Snedaker recommends asking the following questions:

Business continuity planning steps

The business continuity planning lifecycle contains these five steps:

The business continuity plan lifecycle.

BCP implementation

Once the business has started the planning process, it launches the BIA and RA processes to collect important data. The BIA defines the critical functions that must continue during a crisis and the resources needed to maintain those operations. The RA details the potential internal and external risks and threats, the likelihood of them happening, and the possible damage they could cause.

The next step determines the best ways to deal with the risks and threats outlined in the BIA and RA, and how to limit damage from an event. A successful business continuity plan defines step-by-step procedures for response.

The BCP should not be overly complex and does not need to be hundreds of pages long; it should contain just the right amount of information to keep the business running. Small businesses can use a one-page plan with all the necessary details. That can be more helpful than a long plan that is difficult to use. Those details should include the following:

Key implementation steps

The four steps involved in implementing a BCP are the following:

BCP testing

An organization's technology, processes, staff and facilities constantly change. Therefore, regular testing, reviewing and updating of a BCP is critical. Plan testing should be undertaken using tabletop exercises, walk-throughs, practice crisis management communications and emergency enactments to test the viability of the plan and to see how employees and executives react under stress.

Regular testing and maintenance ensure the BCP is current and accurate. A simple test of a business continuity plan might involve talking through it. A complex test requires a full run-through of what will happen in the event of a business disruption.

The test can be planned in advance or it can be done spur of the moment to better simulate an unplanned event. If issues arise during testing, the plan should be corrected accordingly during the maintenance phase. Maintenance also includes a review of the critical functions outlined in the BIA and the risks described in the RA, as well as plan updating if necessary.

A business continuity plan must be continually improved; updates should not wait for a crisis. Staff members involved in the plan must get regular updates and business continuity training . An internal or external business continuity plan audit should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the BCP and highlight areas for improvement.

List of business continuity plan audit requirements.

For specific BCP testing steps, download the guide Business continuity and disaster recovery testing templates .

Business continuity planning software, tools and trends

There is help available to guide organizations through the business continuity planning process, from consultants to tools to full software. Which approach an organization should take depends on the complexity of the business continuity planning task, the amount of time and personnel available, and the budget. Before making a purchase, it is advisable to research both products and vendors, evaluate demos, and talk to other users.

For more complicated functions, business continuity planning software uses databases and modules for specific exercises. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through its website, offers software in its Business Continuity Planning Suite. Other business continuity software vendors include Castellan, formed from the merger of Assurance, Avalution and ClearView in 2020; CLDigital, formerly Continuity Logic; Fusion Risk Management; Quantivate; and Sungard Availability Services.

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's Business Continuity Management booklet contains guidance on plan development, testing, standards and training for both financial and nonfinancial organizations.

Free download of BCP template

The role of the business continuity professional has changed and continues to evolve. As IT administrators are increasingly asked to do more with less, it is advisable for business continuity professionals to be well versed in technology, security, risk management, emergency management and strategic planning.

Business continuity planning must also take into account emerging and growing technologies, such as the cloud and virtualization , as well as new threats, such as cyber attacks like ransomware .

One resource that combines all these elements is SearchDisasterRecovery's free, downloadable business continuity plan template . It provides guidance and insight for creating a successful BCP.

Business continuity planning standards

Business continuity planning standards provide a starting point.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22301:2019 standard is regarded as the global standard for business continuity management . ISO 22301 is often complemented by other standards, such as the following:

Other standards include the following:

Emergency management and disaster recovery plans

An emergency management plan is a document that helps to lessen the damage of a hazardous event. Proper business continuity planning includes emergency management as an important component. The appointed emergency management team takes the lead during a business disruption.

An emergency management plan, like a BCP, should be reviewed, tested and updated regularly. It should be fairly simple and provide the steps needed to get through an event. The plan also should be flexible, because situations are often fluid. Teams involved in the event of a disaster should communicate frequently during the incident.

Diagram of how disaster recovery and business continuity plans are related.

Disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity planning are often linked, but they are different. A DR plan is reactive, as it details how an organization recovers after a business disruption. A business continuity plan is a proactive approach that describes how an organization can maintain business operations during an emergency.

Learn more about responding to unplanned emergencies in this complete guide to managing crises .

Continue Reading About business continuity plan (BCP)

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What is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?

A  Business Continuity Plan (BCP)  is a detailed strategy and set of systems for ensuring an organization’s ability to prevent or rapidly recover from a significant disruption to its operations. The plan is essentially a playbook for how any type of organization—such as a private-sector company, a government agency or a school—will continue its day-to-day business during a disaster scenario or otherwise abnormal conditions.  

Examples of such disruptions include a fire, a major earthquake or other a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a cyberattack and many other scenarios that could upend “business as usual.” When such events significantly disrupt an organization’s normal routines, it turns to its business continuity plan for instructions, processes and tools it needs to continue to operate or to quickly recover from downtime. 

conceptual framework on business continuity plan

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Why is a business continuity plan important.

Risks can be managed, but they can’t be eliminated. Business continuity planning is critical because without it, an organization faces downtime and other problems that could damage its financial health. In major disasters, a lack of a business continuity plan could cause irreparable financial harm that might ultimately force a company to permanently close. 

How to create a Business Continuity Plan?

There are many frameworks for creating an effective business continuity plan. Most of them cover three overlapping phases: 

A key part of this phase is to name a continuity or crisis management team, comprised of executives and stakeholders who will lead the plan’s implementation if necessary. 

Key features of a business continuity plan

Some features of a BCP will be industry or business-specific, but there are components that are common to almost any plan: 

People : A BCP will clearly define roles and responsibilities, not just for the crisis management leadership team, but also for any units responsible for implementing different pieces of the plan in a disaster scenario. Some BCPs will also define “essential personnel”—for example, people whose job requires them to report to work even in periods of heightened risk. 

Technology : Almost all modern business continuity plans will also clearly outline the role that information technology will play in ensuring critical data, applications and services remain available or are quickly restored after an interruption. These include: 

Service Delivery : A BCP should also describe which services are most critical and how they will continue to be delivered to customers, employees, partners, the public and other stakeholders. 

Health & Safety : Finally, a strong business continuity program will include criteria and guidelines for ensuring the health and safety of all people involved—employees, customers, partners—as the plan is implemented and managed. 

Business Continuity Plan checklist

Many organizations create a checklist as part of their business continuity planning. This is a list of all of the key steps in the BCP. It can be used in two ways:  

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning

Business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning are often mentioned in similar contexts, but they are not interchangeable terms. A business continuity plan is an overarching strategy for operating in disaster scenarios or recovering from a major disruption. 

A disaster recovery (DR) plan refers more specifically to the IT processes and tools you can rely on to retain or restore access to mission-critical data, applications, and services in these scenarios. A DR plan would detail, for example, how you could restore access to a revenue-generating web application in the event of a flood in the data center that powers that service. 

How often should a Business Continuity Plan be reviewed?

Most experts recommend that business continuity plans be reviewed regularly and updated as needed. This helps ensure that the plan will still meet the organization’s needs in the face of evolving risks and threats. 

The frequency with which you review a business continuity plan depends on many factors, including the nature of the organization, its industry and its particular risks. As a general rule of thumb, such plans should be reviewed annually or at least every other year. However, there are multiple scenarios where an organization may want to consider more frequent reviews, including: 

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conceptual framework on business continuity plan

Business Plan Framework

OCT.27, 2013

Business Plan Framework

What is a business plan framework?

A framework for business plan is a supportive outline over which the business operations and details are spread. It comprises a sequence of business plan essentials to make sure you work on each aspect of your business and no significant feature is overlooked.

As per the framework meaning in business, framework document forms the foundation for an enterprise by defining broad guidelines, goals, and strategies. From a brief ‘About Us’ page to a comprehensive cash flow analysis, the business plan framework covers it all.

Exploring the planning framework definition would reveal that it provides you with a logical way to link your strategic and financial objectives. It investigates the roadmap to utilize your capital at the maximum efficiency to achieve desired goals. It also helps you in prompt decision-making in certain circumstances such as managerial dilemmas or demands for service extension.

What are the major components of a business plan framework?

The business plan framework varies greatly as per the scope and services of a business, the basic components however remain the same. Generally, a framework for planning must include:

Executive Summary

It explains what the business is, what it aims at, and which groups it intends to target. Simply put, this part is a very brief overview of your entire setup.

Company Summary

It interprets the qualification of the business owner, their skills, and their expertise in the business domain. This portion also includes a detailed summary for planning the launch. A graphical portrayal of startup costs is also included oft-times.

Products & Services

This component clearly lays down the offerings of the business. This is to help the business owner in remaining focused on only the concerned areas.

Market Analysis

This section is developed to have a thorough insight into your target market. In a framework business plan market analysis is done after acquiring the data of the past 10 to 15 years. It helps ascertain the market size, plausible business prospects, and competition.

Sales Strategy

This segment describes how to tap into your potential to make your competitive advantages your biggest selling point. A targeting advertisement strategy is formulated as per the available resources and communication media.

Personnel Plan

This part determines your staffing needs and draws out a fair and objective criterion for recruitment.

Financial Plan

A financial plan helps regulate your investment and direct your monetary resources to earn maximum profit.

Continuity Plan

The business continuity plan framework determines the strategy to deal with unexpected events.

If you want to read more on each of these components, you may refer to organizational frameworks’ examples available on the web. You can also ask for a business plan framework sample at OGScapital.

How do you create a business plan framework?

Many business owners find it perplexing to create a business framework template for their startup. The confusion pertains to uncertain market competition and differing views on the framework’s structure and length.

To assist you in creating your business plan framework template, a stepwise procedure is provided below:

How to write your business plan framework?

To write your own conceptual framework business plan, you need to comply with the following guidelines:

For a Perfect Business Plan Today, OGS is Just a Click Away!

Whether a business boom or not depends on how well you had planned for it. A business plan framework is going to be your first guide whenever you are faced with an unexpected situation, be it an opportunity or a risk. Therefore, it is wise to spend both time and money in getting a comprehensive and precise business plan for your startup. If you are someone who is not very adept at doing business calculations, you must hire a business consultancy firm for the task.

Here’s why OGS can be your ultimate savior in developing a business plan:

You can contact us for any business queries you have. We also provide free sample business plans on request. To hire us for business plan development, you can fill in the form and get a quote.

OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.

conceptual framework on business continuity plan

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