A business continuity process is a type of strategy that is utilized to help ensure the continuing operations of a company even in the face of some sort of internal or external threat that has the potential to impair or even shut down those operations. A process of this type is often part of a larger overall strategy that includes specific steps to implement in the event of a disaster recovery situation or as a means of managing business recovery during and after an economic downturn. Companies of all sizes can benefit from developing a series of business continuity process alternatives that can be activated quickly and efficiently when necessary.
Since the goal of any business continuity process has to do with keeping the company afloat after one or more events threaten to destroy the operation, the exact nature of each process will vary. For example, the process used to overcome a temporary shutdown of the power grid after a natural disaster will be somewhat different than the process implemented to deal with some sort of pandemic that causes a significant number of employees to be unable to report for work. Other factors, like the current political climate, may also have some impact on the exact form that each business continuity process takes.
The development of a business continuity process normally begins with the identification of a specific internal or external event that could be catastrophic for the company operation. By defining what could happen, and what the results would be if that catastrophe is not offset by some sort of organized response, it is possible to begin developing specific steps to take in order to minimize the damage. Typically, that list of steps is known as an escalation list, indicating that the steps are to be followed in a defined order if the maximum amount of benefit is to be realized from the process.
Even small companies will often develop a business continuity process that addresses the more likely events that could destroy the business operation. This includes the sudden death of the owner, a sudden drop in clientele, a natural disaster like a flood or hurricane, and even the loss of a key employee within the organization. By taking the time to understand what events could undermine the operation and developing contingency plans that allow the company to keep going even in the face of those events, everyone involved with the business can feel a little more secure and empowered.