What Is Business Continuity Management, and Why Is It Important?

Business Continuity ManagementOrganizations are under relentless pressures to implement new technologies that keep their business-critical applications, data and processes running 24/7. Any disruption can interfere with productivity and harm their reputations. Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a process that plans for any disruptive events in an organization. When executed correctly, BCM can help offer minimum acceptable services during disasters. This can help preserve the enterprise’s reputation and drive revenues.

What Is Business Continuity Management?

Business Continuity Management is a holistic management process that identifies the potential risks in an organization and their impacts. The goal of BCM is to build organizational resilience in the wake of natural disasters or data breaches. This way, organizations can use BCM to safeguard their reputation and interests of their stakeholders when crises happen.

BCM is multidisciplinary, integrating the following disciplines, as explained below:

What Are the Causes of Business Interruption?

Unexpected events come in many forms, which is what makes a Business Continuity Management plan so important. However, these are common ones that can interrupt normal business operations:

What Are the Benefits of Business Continuity Management?

Ensuring that business processes remain operational in the event of a disaster is the primary reason why organizations implement a Business Continuity Management plan. However, there are plenty of others, including building confidence, gaining brand reputation and advantage, meeting regulatory requirements, providing business data and saving lives.

Meeting regulatory and compliance requirements

Organizations, especially those operating in critical infrastructure services, have to conform to a growing number of new industry guidelines and government regulations. Implementing sound BCM practices allows an organization to meet these requirements and helps manage business interruptions.

Providing valuable business data

BCM activities generate tons of data including critical tasks, business units, recovery time objectives (RTOs) and financial impacts after a disruption, among others. An organization can use this data in various ways, including process improvement and strategic planning activities that move the business forward.

Saving lives

Ensuring that the business remains operational throughout the disaster period is an essential priority for BCM. However, BCM is also about the safety of your employees. The best way to ensure the safety of your employees is by developing comprehensive BCM that prepares them in the event of a disaster. For example, designating meeting points after a fire or explosion in the building is vital for safety and crisis communication.

How Do You Create a Business Continuity Plan?

A Business Continuity Management Plan (BCP) is, without doubt, the most critical piece for running a resilient business. By detailing procedures and processes necessary to keep operations up and running, BCPs build customer confidence, protect the supply chain and mitigate financial risks, among others.

An effective BCP is a seven-step process, as explained below:

Step 1: Set objectives and goals.

Business Continuity Management plans extend beyond your IT infrastructure. They apply broadly to all the critical areas of your business, including operations, human resources, public relations and more. When planning, you should ask the following questions:

Step 2: Establish an emergency preparedness team.

Establishing the command team and its responsibilities are crucial to a successful Business Continuity Management plan. As such, you should choose only employees as leaders if they can bring value to Business Continuity Management and can keep things moving when a disaster strikes.

Step 3: Assess risk and perform Business Impact Analysis (BIA).

BIA helps you assess and understand the physical, financial and operational risks that are likely to occur following a disruption. You can have your team brainstorm a list of all the possible risks and threats to the organization and document them.

Step 4: Identify essential business services.

At this stage, you determine the nature of essential services or functions in your organization. Next, you figure out how your company will maintain those essential services during an emergency.

Step 5: Plan for each essential service.

If your organization runs different essential services, each function needs to have its own plan. Questions that you need to answer at this stage include:

Step 6: Review the business functions.

Ensure you have left no business service out of your BCP by reviewing all the options. Ensure you’ve documented the following:

Step 7: Train, test, revise and update the BCP.

The BCP formation processes can never truly conclude since an organization’s risks and requirements keep changing. Present the BCP to all the stakeholders for their input. If the BCP has any missing link or weakness, address it immediately, and train all your employees accordingly.

How Can Parallels RAS Help Implement a Business Continuity Plan?

Nothing is ever certain. Perhaps your organization will never encounter a significant disruption. But the chances are high that you’ll encounter many risks emanating from disruptions or even possible disruptions. In an always-on, 24/7/365 world, you can gain a strategic advantage—or lose it—depending on how you handle Business Continuity Management.

Remote access can be an integral part of BCM by allowing employees and customers to access business-critical applications remotely during disruptions. Remote access can also allow IT administrators to perform service redirections and recovery procedures remotely. In this regard, you need a holistic remote access solution to take your BCM a step further.

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is one such solution. As a holistic virtual desktop interface, or VDI, solution, Parallels RAS extends remote access by allowing users to access virtual desktops and applications from any location, on any device and with any platform. In this way, Parallels RAS helps to enhance business continuity since employees can access their desktops and applications securely from home, without the need to be in their offices.

Parallels RAS is also cloud-ready. Your employees and customers can access their business-critical applications and desktops easily and remotely on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Most importantly, Parallels RAS can balance requests from multiple servers via its High Availability Load Balancing (HALB). This prevents any server from being a single point of failure while extending business continuity in the process.

Download your 30-day Parallels RAS trial, and experience Business Continuity Management first-hand!

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