Do businesses continuity plan advantages and disadvantages exist? The importance of having a business continuity plan cannot be under-estimated. Business continuity strategies – sometimes referred to as disaster recovery plans – are an essential element of organisations planning.
“The key to a successful, long-term business is not only to ability to serve your market and retain customers, but also the ability to withstand the unexpected that could knock your success off-course.” – Deloitte
You might be surprised, then, to find an article considering not just the benefits of a business continuity plan, but also the disadvantages. Are there really disadvantages to business continuity planning?
Here we look ahead to the things that might impact your continuity strategies in 2021 and to some of the business continuity plan advantages and disadvantages.
What Are the Advantages of Business Continuity Planning?
Unexpected events can catch an organisation out at any time. Whether the event is a natural disaster or accident, deliberate disruption or attack, the impact on your business can be significant. If you have failed to plan for such an event, the impact is likely to be far more significant.
The benefits of developing a business continuity plan are numerous. A BCP can help to:
- Ensure your business can keep trading during and after an incident.
- Restart operations swiftly following disruption.
- Minimise the cost of tackling business interruption.
- Shorten the period of disruption.
- Reduce the risks and effect of risks on your business.
- Assure your customers, stakeholders and employees that your organisation is capable of weathering disruption.
- Protect your corporate reputation.
- Increase compliance with regulatory or legal obligations.
- Improve insurance terms and costs.
- Reduce risk and danger to your employees and customers.
2020 has shown, more than most years, the importance of having such a plan in place. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for well-thought-out business continuity strategies, with organisations that had prepared for the worst being best-placed to maintain business continuity through the pandemic.
From a coronavirus perspective, indications are that things are likely to remain disrupted at least in the early part of 2021. For businesses looking to maximise operational capability, this reinforces the need for a robust business continuity plan.
And of course, coronavirus is far from the only threat businesses will face in 2021. Weather-related events; terrorism; cyber-attacks; fires – there is a long list of things with the potential to disrupt your business.
Whatever the year may throw at us, organisations that have planned for the unexpected will be best able to manage potential disruption. Having a team in place to spring into action as soon as business interruption looks likely speeds your response, increases your ability to cope with a crisis, and minimises the impact on your business.
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What Should You Consider When Assessing Your BCP
- Is your business continuity plan out of date? Your BCP shouldn’t be static but needs to be revisited and updated regularly to take account of evolving threats. It also needs to keep pace with your changing business. Has your organisation grown, organically or through M&A activity? If you have new subsidiaries since the plan was last reviewed, or have gone through an IPO that subjects you to additional regulatory or legislative requirements, your obligations will have changed.
- Is your plan complete; does it cover all your entities and every risk you face? A comprehensive BCP demands a full 360-degree organisational vision. The mitigating actions you put in place need to reflect the entirety of your business – data on your legal entities and subsidiaries is therefore an essential foundation to your plan. Without this, the BCP may have dangerous holes that threaten your ability to maintain operations.
- Does it stand up to rigorous testing? Your plan should be tested regularly, either as part of a planned review or via surprise checks.
Are There Any Disadvantages To Having a Business Continuity Plan?
With business continuity plans delivering all the benefits set out above, it may seem counter-intuitive to consider that there may be disadvantages to developing a business continuity strategy.
And maybe when we talk about disadvantages, ‘limitations’ may be a better term. Because while there are many advantages of business continuity planning, if plans are not prepared properly, they may give organisations a false sense of security.
One thing that may be considered a disadvantage of business continuity planning is the spotlight it throws onto your contingency plans. If these are lacking – if your back-up IT, power, communications or remote working plans are substandard – the fact that a BCP brings this into sharp focus may be seen by some as a disadvantage of the process.
In fact, painful as this may be, identifying shortcomings in your emergency plans is a vital step in putting in place the strategies you will need in the event of any crisis.
The process of business continuity planning itself may also be considered a disadvantage; it can often be time-consuming, frustrating and seemingly never-ending, as plans evolve to meet the changing threats they must consider.
Now that we have looked at the business continuity plan advantages and disadvantages, how can you ensure your company is prepared for crisis while mitigating business continuity planning limitations?
How To Overcome Business Continuity Challenges
Luckily, there are ways to make business continuity strategy planning pain-free. Many organisations have discovered the benefits of technology during the pandemic, in supporting their business processes and ensuring they could continue to operate. And it’s not just the hardware itself that can help; the best technology providers are proving their worth as trusted partners, helping their clients to navigate the challenges of operating in unprecedented times.
Cloud-based software allows businesses to maintain operations when their own locations are compromised. Highly-secure, off-site servers can host everything from compliance solutions to secure file sharing for board and other organisational documents. Market-leading entity management software gives businesses confidence that their plans are based on 100% accurate data.
You can find out how Diligent and our suite of cloud-based solutions can help you to maintain operations in the event of the unexpected by getting in touch with us.
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