In response to COVID-19 shelter-in-place and social distancing realities, organizations are moving to alternative work and delivery models, experiencing an increased strain on resources, and relying on processes that might be suboptimal or manual. They are also reaching for their business continuity, emergency, and pandemic preparedness plans. Now more than ever, business continuity management (BCM) is a critical focus for organizations.
Responding to disasters
Business continuity management is a broad term that encompasses several targeted plans to make sure organizations can continue to operate through various types of disruptions or disasters. These plans can support resilience for business operations by helping organizations continue to operate while navigating a significant IT disruption, loss of a facility, security breach, or, as is the current situation, pandemic.
As demonstrated in the exhibit, creating a BCM program starts with the business impact analysis (BIA) and continues through the disaster recovery plan (DRP), business continuity plan (BCP), emergency preparedness plan, and plan testing. Throughout the process, business stakeholders and IT personnel drive the plans based on the plan activity.
Exhibit: Business continuity management program components
Source: Crowe analysis
Since (or even before) COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, most organizations have enacted their BCM programs. However, many organizations might be struggling to address the challenges caused by the pandemic with incomplete or improperly developed plans. Some plans might have been created several years ago or, unfortunately, maybe not created at all.
Organizations have had to quickly develop alternative work situations and adjust their resources. While challenging, this slow-rolling event is an opportunity for organizations to build on and improve their business continuity management programs and better position themselves to effectively and efficiently recover when another disaster or major disruption occurs. To take advantage of this opportunity, organizations must first understand the core components of a BCM program, including frequently missed components and actions they can take now to strengthen their programs.