Business continuity encompasses planning and preparation to ensure that an organization can continue to operate in case of serious incidents or disasters and is able to recover to an operational state within a reasonably short period. As such, business continuity includes three key elements:
Resilience: Critical business functions and the supporting infrastructure must be designed in such a way that they are materially unaffected by relevant disruptions, for example through the use of redundancy and spare capacity.
Recovery: Arrangements have to be made to recover or restore critical and less critical business functions that fail for some reason.
Contingency: The organization establishes a generalized capability and readiness to cope effectively with whatever major incidents and disasters occur, including those that were not, and perhaps could not have been, foreseen. Contingency preparations constitute a last-resort response if resilience and recovery arrangements should prove inadequate in practice.
The objective of business continuity management is to make the entity more resilient to potential threats and allow the entity to resume or continue operations under adverse or abnormal conditions. This is accomplished by the introduction of appropriate resilience strategies to reduce the likelihood and impact of a threat and the development of plans to respond and recover from threats that cannot be controlled or mitigated.
For those who want to learn more about the field of business continuity management and planning, the ACP would like to direct you to the white paper "Beginners Guide to Business Continuity," written by The ICM Computer Group for Continuity Central based out of the U.K. The article provides a comprehensive overview of the business continuity management process for those new to the subject.
The ACP would also like to direct those wanting to learn more about business continuity planning to view a humorous, short video by Aaron Skolnik, produced for FEMA. The video introduces viewers to the concept of business continuity planning and highlights the benefits of having a plan. Watch the FEMA video or access a written transcript of the video.