What is business continuity and why do you need it?

Preparing for a storm

Fires, floods, accidents, server crashes, virus infections, stock market crashes, and the apocalypse can all impact a business. Zombies might not actually be a threat, but you get the picture—lots of things can happen that impact your business.

Business continuity means having a plan in place to prepare for disasters. The plan should include IT disaster recovery, contingency planning, and crisis and emergency management. A business continuity plan will save your organization time and money and enable it to continue to thrive regardless of the circumstances. 

How? Because the solutions to potential problems will be laid out prior to a disaster. Business continuity planning helps improve an organization’s resilience, recovery, and readiness. 


According to IBM the definition of business resilience is:

“The ability of an organization’s business operations to rapidly adapt and respond to internal or external dynamic changes—opportunities, demands, disruptions, or threats—and continue operations with limited impact to the business.”

Embracing change, both positive and negative, builds resilience in a business. The ability to adapt is crucial to business continuity, and being a resilient business means anticipating and preparing for disasters.


Many executives simply hope a disaster never happens to them and fail to plan for it. However, preparation builds resilience which leads to positive recovery. The recovery portion of a business continuity plan includes details for communication, technology, and employees.

The plan should entail where backup data is located and the steps necessary to continue operating the business, including details on IT resources and staffing. The plan should specify which units and teams are most crucial to company success through a business impact analysis. 


Practice makes perfect! Once you’ve written a plan, it’s time to practice it. Be sure to communicate your plan to all employees regularly and include it as part of orientation for new employees. You should also train employees to perform tasks as if the business were running at an emergency level. Hopefully a disaster will never happen, but if it does, you will be ready. 

Businesses impacted by 9/11 were grateful they had such a plan in place. Although the city was widely affected, businesses with a business continuity plan survived the attack, which was a horror no one would have expected.

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