The Continuity Blueprint is the cornerstone for Business Continuity Management. The blueprint gives organizations an effective and proven approach to dealing with business interruptions. It starts with a cost-benefit analysis that involves the leadership team without intruding on routine operations.
The goal of the Continuity Blueprint is to create a catastrophe-resilient organization. The blueprint complies with regulatory and internal audit standards as well as follows industry best practices. The comprehensive blueprint will encompass:
- Program management
- Business impact analysis
- Risk evaluation, control and remediation
- Business continuity strategies
- Plan audit, awareness and training, exercising, and maintenance
The Continuity Blueprint is designed to significantly reduce the staff time necessary to develop and maintain response and recovery plans compared to traditional planning approaches.
The Continuity Blueprint reduces deployment and activation time when compared to other planning approaches. The blueprint allows its users to implement response and recovery procedures, by department or business unit, following predetermined timelines.
The process of creating a Continuity Blueprint will identify and incorporate the critical functions for recovery. It will provide response and recovery strategies to help reduce business interruption. It is a flexible approach that includes any existing or previous efforts, such as emergency management planning, business continuity data gathering, or information technology procedures.
Designed for organizations that function in a team environment, the Continuity Blueprint is time and cost-effective. The methodology produces plans that are concise, substantive and have a long shelf life. The blueprint becomes management’s plan of critical actions and responsibilities necessary to respond to incidents, restore essential business functions, and enable effective recovery communication.
The 8 Steps to Create and Maintain a Continuity Blueprint
To gain the most return on investment from Business Continuity Management, organizations should approach it as a continuous improvement process. Here are the eight steps to develop a holistic approach that adapts as an organization's risks evolve:
Impact Tolerance and BCM Evaluation
Does an organization understand its risks? Does it know the risks for which it is willing to accept corresponding impacts? And the risks it should transfer? An impact tolerance and a BCM evaluation will answer those questions from financial, operational, brand, crisis and human perspectives. The goal is to have a consistent methodology to categorize and quantify risks.
BCM Charter and Governance
Organizations should develop the business continuity plan, the Continuity Blueprint and the governance structure that directly ties into their business objectives. An organization should decide who oversees the BCM process and what resources and people are allocated to it. Good governance comes down to policies, protocols and procedures as well as senior leadership understanding their roles, responsibilities and budgets.
Emergency Response and Crisis Management
This step is very tactical in nature. It clarifies how an organization will respond differently to an earthquake versus a wildfire versus a cyberattack. It's essential to delve into senior management's thought processes and the performance metrics of each relevant scenario.
Business Impact Analysis
It is mission critical that if an event occurs that an organization knows the resources it will need to respond to the crisis and how long the emergency will negatively impact business operations in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks.
The BCM strategy must develop high-level plans for how the organization will recover from its critical risks and outline the range of tactics it should deploy to be resilient in each event.
Business Unit Plans
Risk managers need to take BCM to the operational unit level to be prepared for the unexpected. The plans should include specific responses and recovery tactics for each business unit.
Awareness and Exercising
The best-designed plans are ineffective if people within an organization don't know about them. An organization-wide awareness of the mitigation strategies will help save lives and resources during a disaster. Thoughtful exercises and training will keep employees' skills sharp and contribute to a culture of business resiliency.
Roadmap and Maintenance
It is the end of the journey and the beginning of a new one. Risk managers who want to push their organizations to improve their BCM maturity will need to focus on long-term program growth. So much value is lost when organizations don't take this step and renew the cycle. BCM is about learning from the past so an organization doesn't make the same mistakes again years down the road.
Business Continuity Management and Return on Investment
A meticulous examination and documentation of business continuity threats can help an organization beyond its risk management. Business Continuity Management enables customers to feel confident that their suppliers can withstand volatile situations.
Business Continuity Management's return on investment can ripple through an organization if it is embedded in its culture and becomes a catalyst for resiliency. A comprehensive BCM process can clear away the operational fog and help risk managers focus on the things that truly matter.
New risks are always on the horizon. Business Continuity Management can give organizations the framework to face the future on their own terms. The process can produce a significant return on investment and the peace of mind generated can be priceless. Work closely with your broker to establish a Business Continuity Management strategy that supports its overall business objectives. Building resilience is worth the investment.