Business continuity

Business Continuity Management (BCM) identifies potential threats to an organisation, and the impacts to business operations that those threats, if realised, might cause. A recent report by the Business Continuity Institute in the UK stated that out of 221 organisations that had implemented Business Continuity Plans, 77% were able to recover faster as a result, with a quarter recovering in half the time compared to without the plan. In addition, 55% said their plans had led to substantial cost savings or protected critical revenue streams in the last 12 months.

BCM is a generic management framework that is valid across the public, private and voluntary sectors. It is an ongoing process that helps organisations anticipate, prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disruptions, whatever their source, and whatever aspect of the business they affect. The primary ‘business’ of private sector organisations is the generation of profit, a process that BCM seeks to protect. Other organisations provide services to the public, and it is equally important that these are protected and resilient.
BCM is a business-owned, business-driven process that establishes a fit-for-purpose strategic and operational framework that:

• proactively improves an organisation’s resilience against the disruption of its ability to achieve its key objectives;
• provides a rehearsed method of maintaining or restoring an organisation’s ability to supply its critical products and services to an agreed level within an agreed time after a disruption; and
• delivers a proven capability to manage a business’ disruption and protect the organisation’s reputation and brand

While the individual processes of BCM can change with an organisation’s size, structures and responsibilities, the basic principles remain exactly the same for voluntary, private or public sector organisations, regardless of their size, scope or complexity.
In the UK, BS: 25999 is the definitive standard for Business Continuity Management (BCM).