Rising Above the Waters: How Business Continuity Management Enables Business Resilience

Date Posted:Wed, 24th Apr 2024

Rising Above the Waters: How Business Continuity Management Enables Business Resilience

An effective response to any crisis is underpinned by timely communication and coordination across all parties operating from a unified source of information. These moments offer businesses an opportunity to strengthen reputation by swiftly activating and executing seamless emergency plans, leading to a speedy return to normal operations.

 

Just over a week after the catastrophic storms and rainfall that hit the UAE, remnants of destruction still linger in several areas of Dubai. 

Some communities are still underwater, with businesses unable to access flooded offices and students forced to continue distance learning. While most abandoned cars have been removed or repaired, waterlogged roads and overcrowded public transport persist, causing issues and delays to residents. One thing seems to be clear: everyone has been affected – families, businesses and entire communities.

While things are returning to normal, ongoing challenges like delays and lack stock of underscore the need for businesses, both small and large, to reassess how they respond to adverse events to recover from them…faster.  

The concept of managing disruptions and returning to normal operations is called Business Continuity Management (BCM). No business is immune to extreme weather or other such risks, and businesses of any size should consider the application of BCM to address such risks in the future.  

What is Business Continuity Management?

BCM is a set of proactive measures designed to ensure that essential business functions can continue uninterrupted during and after disruptive events. It involves identifying potential risks, developing robust contingency plans, and implementing procedures to maintain operations even in adverse conditions. 

Key BCM measures include:

1.Risk Assessment – identify potential risks (such as environmental risks, natural disasters, cyberattacks, etc), and assess the likelihood and potential impact, prioritise based on severity.

2.Business Impact Assessment (BIA) – determine the critical functions, processes, systems and assess the consequence of disruption to these critical areas in terms of financial loss, reputation damage. 

3.Develop a Continuity Plan – Define the procedures, roles and responsibilities, communication protocols, alternative sites for maintaining essential operations during disruptive events.

4.Test and Exercise – Practice your procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of your plans, and improve with each simulation. 

5.Training and Awareness – Provide training to employees on their roles and responsibilities, and the defined procedures, and communicate the continuity plan, so that all employees are aware of the plan, and what to do in the event of a disruption. 

6.Review, update and improve – Regularly review and update your continuity plan and incorporate lessons learned from the testing and the actual incidents to continuously improve your business resilience. 

You can further enhance your BCM response by digitising it, and using modern GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) platforms that offer out-of-the-box BCM workflows and processes. 

The last thing you want to do during a disruptive event is look for that email or spreadsheet where the business continuity plan is stored. A digital solution will facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among employees and stakeholders, ensuring timely response and hastening recovery efforts. 

An integrated GRC solution with a BCM module will provide the visibility of risk data, and enable you to easily activate disruptive event plans and procedures, and capture data which can be used to improve resilience and recovery times.

Conclusion

In times of disruption, businesses have an opportunity to enhance their reputation by swiftly returning to normal and continuing to serve customers’ needs. Customers will remember how quickly it took their favourite grocery store to restock products, how effectively communications were issued, and what alternatives were provided. Those that bounce back quickly will be remembered long after the flood subsides. 

In the overall risk landscape, environmental risks are unfortunately now a clear and present threat, and must form part of your comprehensive risk assessment. In a changing climate landscape, now is the time for your organisation to reassess its BCM plans and prioritize resilience to safeguard your future success. 

 

If you want to learn more about Business Continuity Management, GRC and Workflow Automation Solutions, please contact Tina Chugani, Managing Director, Proxis.