Business continuity refers to your organisation's ability to maintain functionality during, and after a disaster has occurred at your workplace. Put simply, business continuity refers to the efforts you make that will ensure your business continues to operate for years to come.
As stated by the International Organisation for standardization (in ISO 22300), business continuity refers to the ability of your organisation to keep up with the delivery of your product and service offerings in predefined intervals subsequent to any disruptive incident.
ISO 22300 also extends this to suggest that the continuity of the business is dependent on business owners stepping up to their managerial role to ensure the business is maintained, despite any obstacles along the way.
A business continuity plan (BCP) is designed to carry out risk management aimed to prevent interruptions of services, and re-establish functionality to your organisation as quickly and smoothly as possible.
This plan will outline any possible events that will not be possible to predict, such as natural disasters, cyber attacks, economic declines or outbreaks of disease. Essentially, a business continuity plan is helping to answer the question of whether your business is ready for potential disasters.
By having a Business Continuity Plan, your organisation will increase their chances of survival in the event of a disaster or unforeseen event occurring. If you want your organisation to continue to operate profitably, and into the long-term, a BCP should be outlined from the very start.
Another key reason for having a business continuity plan in your organisation is that it will enhance your relationship with employees, stakeholders and shareholders. These groups of people will feel safe that you know how to respond to a disaster. Your employees will feel confident that they will keep their job in the face of disaster. Your stakeholders such as customers will be assured you will keep providing you product or service.