Business continuity management

Business continuity management is the development of strategies, plans and actions that provide protection or alternative modes of operation for those activities or business processes which, if they were to be interrupted, might otherwise bring about a seriously damaging or potentially fatal loss to the enterprise.

BCM consists of three core elements:

1. Crisis Management; which is a process designed to enable an effective response to an event. Crisis management processes focus on stabilizing the situation and preparing the business for recovery operations.

2. Business Resumption Planning: or Business Recovery Planning, involves the recovery of critical business functions and processes that relate to or support the delivery of core products or services to a customer.

3. IT Disaster Recovery: which addresses the recovery of critical IT assets, including systems, applications, databases, storage and network assets.

BCM seems to include many different terms, some of which appear to be very similar.

Examples include:

Disaster Recovery: which is a term reserved for the recovery and resumption of critical technology assets in case of a disaster. Disaster recovery can include tasks such as resuming individual systems (e.g., Wide Area Network or an ERP application), or recovering all critical aspects of the IT environment.

Resumption Planning: is reserved for the recovery of critical business functions that are separate from IT. Examples of resumption planning include resuming call center functions, manufacturing processes or payroll.

Contingency Planning: refers to tactical solutions addressing a core resource or process. As opposed to BCM, contingency planning is typically an isolated action and does not resemble a program or a series of related actions. An example of contingency planning is determining how to handle the loss of a specific vendor, or creating processes to work around the loss of a key piece of equipment on an assembly line.

Recovery Planning: is most closely related to BCM. These two terms can be used interchangeably.

Emergency Response: includes the immediate actions taken to preserve lives and safeguard property and assets. Emergency response is often a subset of a broader crisis management program. An example of an emergency response action is an evacuation plan.

More on BCM:

  • Business continuity planning

  • IT management and business continuity

  • Successful companies position on ERM

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    Business continuity management is a form of risk management.

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