A business resumption plan is a strategy developed to resume business operations after a major interruption. This interruption could be a physical disaster such as a fire, flood or building collapse, or it might be a technological disaster such as a major systems outage that eliminates all or most of the company's computerized data. The resumption plan, developed before the disaster, provides strategies for dealing with various types of tragedies. The goal is to be able to resume business as quickly as possible after a shutdown so that customers can continue to be served and the company can continue to function. In some cases, such as with schools, banks and hospitals, development of such a plan may be required by governmental or regulatory agencies.
In many cases, a business resumption plan is called a business continuity plan because the primary goal is to provide continuity of service. The ability to provide service to customers is extremely important to for-profit businesses for a number of reasons. Of course the business cannot be profitable if it is not functioning, but it also may have continuing expenses that it can't cover without the ability to provide its service or sell its product.
In addition, a cessation of services can be detrimental to customers. Customer financial data or health records may be lost, for instance. Likewise, in the case of financial institutions and medical facilities, the inability to access services can impede daily life. It also is particularly important for schools to have a business resumption plan so that children can continue to be educated.
Most organizations create business resumption plans that account for many different types of situations. For example, a school must be prepared for an interruption lasting a short period of time, such as a minor flood. The plan for dealing with this situation might include ways to notify parents of the delay and plans to add additional days at the end of the school year to make up for lost days. The same school, however, must also be prepared for a fire or storm that renders the building unusable for a substantial period of time. This more complex plan will need to provide an alternate location until the original facility is usable again and must include resuming auxiliaries, such as library and nurse services.
Governmental and environmental groups sometimes compel certain types of businesses to maintain a business resumption plan. This is common practice for hospitals, data banks, schools, government buildings and financial institutions. Publicly-traded businesses might also be required to develop such plans in order to provide protection for shareholders.