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Business Continuity Plan

What is a business continuity plan?

At its most basic, a business continuity plan is a document that comprises critical policies, processes and actions needed to maintain operations during an adverse event such as a natural disaster, cyber-attack, pandemic or other identified risk. The plan may also be known as a business continuity and recovery plan.  Ideally, business continuity plans are well integrated with crisis management and crisis communication plans and reviewed and updated regularly. While some organizations define business continuity specific to IT functions such as networks and information technology, ICM considers a broader definition of business continuity that recognizes that there are numerous risks that can impact the company outside of IT systems.

Importance of business continuity planning

A critical goal of an effective business continuity plan is assuring the ability to continue to serve customers during a crisis. These plans address business downtime and the steps that need to be undertaken to address the problem, before, during and after an emergency to maintain the company’s financial strength.

According to experts, a business continuity plan, or BCP, includes:

  • Purpose and scope
  • Oversight and chain of command
  • How to use the plan
  • Business impact analysis and risk assessments
  • Policy information
  • Initial business data
  • Response processes
  • Resources needed, including people, equipment, financial resources
  • Checklists and workflow diagrams
  • Glossary of terms
  • Schedules for reviews, tests and updates to the plan
Business Continuity Plan

How does crisis communication relate to business continuity?

Best practice dictates that crisis management and communication plans be well integrated into business continuity plans and processes. In some organizations, these elements are combined into one large master plan. In others, it makes more sense to have separate yet integrated plans for crisis response, communication, and continuity/ recovery.

 ICM recommends that organizations conduct regular crisis training exercises to test plans and make course corrections before a crisis strikes.

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Deborah Hileman, SCMP
ICM President and CEO

CEO Expertise for Every Client

Deborah Hileman, SCMP, President and CEO. A  globally certified strategic communication management professional (SCMP), business leader, coach and consultant with more than 35 years’ experience in public and private companies and non-profit organizations, Ms. Hileman has led high-performing communications and marketing teams in health care, manufacturing, insurance and financial services, nonprofits and higher education. Her most significant areas of expertise include strategic communications planning and reputation/crisis management, change management, employee engagement and communication training.