A business continuity management policy (BCMP) components include:- BCM practice statement, policy,bcm program, crisis escalation levels, key roles and responsibilities and conformance. BCM is a critical document for all organizations. It outlines the steps and procedures that will be taken to ensure the continuity of critical operations in the event of an unexpected disruption.
Its importance is to ensure the continuity of an organization in the event of a disaster, it is important to have a comprehensive business continuity management (BCM) policy in place. This policy should outline the key components of your BCM plan, including how you will respond to various types of disasters. By taking the time to create a BCM policy, an organization can rest assured that its business will be able to continue operating smoothly even in the most difficult situations.
In order to maintain successful organizations, it’s important to have a continuity management policy in place. By ensuring these components are addressed, organizations can minimize the risk of operational disruptions and data loss.
Key components of a business continuity management policy are necessary for organizations in the event of an unexpected disruption. The BCM policy should outline specific steps that will be taken in the event of a disaster to ensure business continuity. It’s important to identify these key components before putting together your BCM policy. There are key components that every BCMP should include, and all need to be captured in your BCM policy. We’ll outline the key components of a BCMP and discuss why they are important.
Objectives of Business Continuity Policy
1) Protecting the company’s assets and minimizing financial losses
The ability to protect a company and minimize financial losses is a vital part of any business’s success. Business continuity management ensures that you are prepared for anything, while also making sure the people working with this plan know how they can succeed if an emergency arises
The benefits associated with having such policies as well-established practices make them worth considering by companies across various industries worldwide
2) Preserving the company’s ability to continue operations and
The company’s ability to continue operations is a top priority. Business continuity management policy ensures that they will be able to take care of all aspects in order for the business to stay running smoothly during disasters or political uprisings, which could cause major issues with production schedules if not handled correctly.
The goal of business continuity management is to ensure that a company has the ability, through its strategies and tactics in times of crisis or disaster, not only to survive but also to continue operating with minimal disruption.
A key part of this process involves creating frameworks that identify potential problems and provide plans on how they might be handled should an emergency arise. Protecting the company’s reputation by ensuring critical services are restored as quickly as possible.
3) Safeguarding employees’ safety and wellbeing.
The company’s safety is a top priority. Through its strategy, it ensures that employees are well taken care of and have all their needs met in case something were to happen
The Safeguarding process starts with creating an emergency action plan which includes not only what you should do during natural disasters but also considers things like how long supplies last.
Each organization will have its own specific objectives based on its unique business needs and risks, but these are some of the most common. It’s important for businesses to have a clear understanding of their objectives in order to develop an effective continuity plan.
Scope of Business Continuity Policy
The scope of a business continuity policy will vary depending on the type of business and its specific needs. However, in general, a good business continuity policy should address the following:
– Recovery Point Objective (RPO): The minimum acceptable point in time after a disaster to resume business operations.
– Recovery Time Objective (RTO): The maximum allowable amount of time to resume business operations.
– Data backup and recovery procedures: How will your company’s data be backed up and what steps will be taken to ensure that data can be recovered in the event of a disaster?
– Crisis management plan: What steps will be taken to manage and respond to a major incident or disaster?
– Employees’ roles and responsibilities
Challenges in Designing a Business Continuity Management Policy
- Defining what constitutes a “business disruption” and what doesn’t. This can be tricky, as a lot of things that might seem like minor inconveniences (a power outage, for example) can actually have a significant impact on business operations.
- Determining the level of risk that each department or division faces. Not all parts of a company are equally important, and not all disruptions are created equal. It’s important to tailor the BCM policy to reflect the specific risks that each department faces.
- Establishing clear communication channels and protocols. In the event of a disruption, it’s critical that employees know how to get in touch with each other and that they’re able to quickly share information.
- Developing a comprehensive BCM plan that addresses all potential risks and incidents;
- Getting key personnel to buy into the plan and follow it during an incident; and
- Having the financial resources to implement the BCM plan and maintain it over time.
Corporate BCM Practice Statement
It includes an introduction, policy owner, context, key outcomes and outputs, and scope.
A well-defined business continuity management policy is a critical part of any organization’s risk management program. It establishes the framework for how an organization will respond to disruptions and helps ensure that critical business functions can continue to be performed in the event of a disruption.
A good BCM policy should be tailored to the specific needs of your organization and should include both preventive and reactive measures. It should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.
The policy must specify that it is to be followed by both members of the organization’s employees and contractors. When the ramifications are severe, the issue should be referred to an Enterprise Risk Management Committee.
The policy owner should be the highest-ranking employee in the risk management department/division/section. Additionally, whoever is the corporate risk officer is the owner of the BCM policy.
The BCM policy follows ISO 22301 BCM standards as the best practice. As a result, the corporate-wide BCM approach to business continuity and crisis management is supported by the policy. In addition, connected to the wider Enterprise risk management framework and policy of the organization.
Key outcomes and outputs
The key outcomes of the policy include:-
-Development and implementation of a business continuity plan (BCP)
– Establishment of incident response procedures
– Creation and maintenance of data back-ups
– Development and implementation of training and awareness programs
– Testing and revision of plans on a regular basis.
The key output of the policy include:-
- Risk assessment
- Business continuity planning
- Crisis management
The policy applies to all employees of the organization, employees contribute to effective corporate governance by adhering to the policy. Corporate governance is a shared responsibility between directors, employees, and other stakeholders. Directors have been delegated authority to govern by shareholders who have invested in the business.
Other stakeholders also contribute by following procedures laid out by the BCM policy. An effective business continuity management policy assists senior managers in minimizing risks to their organizations.
It entails the business continuity management policy statement and the requirement that an organization needs to create a business continuity program at the organizational level.
Developed and implemented a business continuity management policy that outlines the organization’s commitment to protecting its people, property, and information from disruptive events.
It is a business continuity management program that includes the department’s policies, plans, procedures, and organizations. Department’s Policies are driving directives made by top managers about how an organization will go about its core tasks. They are the foundation of all management functions.
Plans help identify potential threats, assess their likelihood of occurring, and determine how disruptive they would be to the organization. They include
– Emergency plans (fire, natural disasters, and other emergencies)
– Response and recovery planning (how officials will respond and what steps they might take in an emergency)
Procedures are the department’s operational policies; manuals of standardized actions for employees to follow when a situation occurs.
Organizations include planning committees with representatives from different departments and any outside agencies involved in the department’s operations.
Organizations priorities in BCM will include:-
- Ensure employees and assets are safe
- Safeguard organization reputation and its strategic objectives
- Contain the potential for business interruption effectively
The tools for enabling the implementation of the framework and policy include;-
- Business Impact Analysis:- Ensures critical processes are mapped correctly and assessed. Business impact analysis tools enable the completion of a business continuity plan for a critical process. BCM planning teams are responsible for carrying out business impact analysis exercises. They are also aware of important changes in the company’s operations. Business unit or process owners are responsible for providing input to the BIA.
- Enterprise risk management:- Ensures that all risks and threats that an organization might suffer are documented and accessible. Risk assessments according to risk management policy and framework provide input to the BCM sphere. The business unit is responsible for aligning BCM policy with risk management policy.
- Business continuity and contingency planning:- Process owners are responsible for developing and maintaining business continuity plans and contingency plans for ICT services. They also need to report on incidents according to determined periods.
- Response management:- The organization needs to have response plans for crisis management. It also provides and determines activation, escalation, and notification of incidents mechanisms. Notification through the call tree and other avenues is detailed in the response plan. All staff will be required to have a primary contact to for accessibility.
Bcm Program Maintenance Guidelines
The BCM program includes scope of supporting policies ,business continuity plan ownership and policy statements.
Scope of supporting policy guidelines
Supporting policies will benefit the business continuity management program. This policies ,procedures, standard ,guidelines, templates and reference models will ensure the most effective risk management across all levels of an organization.
Business continuity plan ownership and responsibilities
Business unit managers of an organization are responsible for maintaining and updating their plans. The senior level BC plans will be under the custody of the business continuity manager of the organization.
Operation ownership of the entire BCM program lies with business continuity manager. All activities of the program are in line with business continuity manager work plans.
Triggers may necessitate update and review of the components of the BCM program and policy. They might include:-
- A change in company structure or ownership
- New legislation or regulations affecting how your company operates
- Changes to your IT infrastructure or systems
- A major disaster or emergency affecting your company or its suppliers/customers
- Significant changes to your workforce (e.g. senior management changes)
6.A change in the company’s business model or strategy
7.The introduction of new technology or services
8.The occurrence of a major incident or security breach
9.Changes in legislation or regulation
10.The appointment of a new CEO or other senior executive
Change management guidelines define change documentation as “the records that document, communicate and manage information about a change.” This documentation is typically conducted in a controlled environment to prevent potential impact. Change management plan needs to be documented.
Business continuity plan & review should be done at least after six months/semi-annual basis. If there are changes in the organization structure. Personal contacts to be updated annually.
Training and awareness of the business continuity management to the all organization must be included in the workplan. All staff need to attend awareness sessions to improve business continuity culture of the organization.
Exercising and testing,, all exercises should be under the supervision of business continuity manager, at least once test done semi-annually to all employees and senior management. Some testing can be table top exercises.
Business impact analysis and risk assessment should be done once per annum in each business unit and the results sign off by their senior management.
Recovery strategy review should be conducted once per year. Triggers may bring out recovery strategies review to understand the gaps and recommendations to update the strategy.
Monitoring & reporting business continuity plans need to be reviewed by the ERMC once per annum. It ensures that monitoring of the plans is effective and in line with the BCM framework and policy,
Business continuity plan documentation three copies of the plan needs to exist and be in custody of business unit owners. One copy needs to be at the alternate site for continuity purposes.
Crisis/incident Escalation Levels
Each incident if it occurs need to be managed in the different levels, organizations need to create three levels of incident category. Additionally, it also depends on the existing organization environment.
The levels might be level one, level 2 and level 3. The highest level might be a severe incident that needs the attention of the chief executive officer and the lower level requires attention of the business unit manager.
Escalation of incidents depends on their severity . Level one incidents may be escalated to level two or level three incident if it is severe. If an incident occurs, which is not important and can be handled by the employee of the unit where the incident occurred; it will be escalated at the lowest level or even go away.
When an incident occurs, the first step to take is to locate if the issue is critical or not. If it does not show any sign of criticality then it can be ignored or escalated at a lower level if required by BCM organizational policy.
Key Roles and Responsibilities
- Acts as a spokesperson on level 3 type of incidents.
- Provides resources for implementation of the BCM policy
- Provides oversight of the BCM policy.
Corporate risk officer
- Identifying and assessing business risks that could impact the organization’s ability to continue operations
- Developing risk management plans to address identified risks
- Establishing and maintaining incident response procedures
- Monitoring and reviewing BCM program performance to ensure its effectiveness
- Owner of the business continuity management framework and policy.
Enterprise risk management committee
- Responsible for the overall coordination of organization emergency response activities, including:
- Receiving and assessing all emergency alerts and notifications
- Co-ordinating provincial emergency response plans with federal, municipal and private sector partners
- Activating organizational emergency response plans and resources as required
- Leading or supporting organizational/nation Joint Task Forces as required
- Monitoring the incident and providing situation reports to Ministerial Advisors, Cabinet and other senior officials as required
- Responding to public inquiries.
The crisis management team for level 3 Incident
They are the same as ERMC, They will transform to a crisis management team.
- Safeguard the organization and its employees during a crisis
- Protect the company’s reputation and bottom line
- Minimize business disruptions
- Facilitate communication with internal and external stakeholders
Business continuity management operations team
- Ensure the effective and efficient operation of business continuity management (BCM) policy;
- Provide specialist operational support to the Incident Management Team (IMT) during a major incident; and
- Advise on and manage business continuity processes and procedures.
- Identifying and assessing potential risks to the organization
- Implementing risk mitigation measures
- Developing and maintaining recovery plans and procedures
- Coordinating disaster response efforts
- Training employees on BCM policies and procedures
- Monitoring and reporting on BCM performance
Crisis management team for level 1 incident
The business continuity management operations team will transform to crisis management team for level 1 incident.
Business continuity manager
- To develop and maintain the BCM policy and associated procedures.
- To ensure that the BCM policy is effectively implemented across the organization.
- To coordinate and manage disaster recovery and emergency response plans.
- To liaise with senior management and other key stakeholders on all aspects of BCM.
- To regularly review and update the BCM policy and associated procedures.
ICT Continuity manager
- Manage and monitor ICT continuity risks and issues, including performing impact assessments and developing mitigations
- Oversee the development and testing of backup plans and recovery procedures for ICT systems
- Maintain effective communication with key stakeholders, including senior management, during an incident
- Coordinate the response to incidents that affect ICT systems
- Liaise with vendors to ensure continuity of service in the event of a disaster
Business unit and ICT unit recovery teams
Key roles of Business Unit Recovery Teams
- Restore business operations within the business unit
- Coordinate with ICT unit to restore IT and telecommunication services
- Liaise with senior management and other affected business units
Key roles of the ICT Unit Recovery Team
- Restore IT and telecommunication services for the organization as a whole
- Assist Business Unit Recovery Teams in restoring their services
- Liaise with senior management, other business units and suppliers
Managers and staff
-Manager roles in BCM policy:
- Planning and organizing the BCM program
- Establishing objectives and strategies for BCM
- Evaluating the effectiveness of BCM procedures
- Ensuring personnel are properly trained
- Monitoring compliance with BCM policy
– Staff roles in BCM policy:
- Participating in exercises and drills
- Reporting incidents and problems
- Following procedures during an incident
Conformance and Compliance
The BCM policy requires the confirming and compliance of all the business processes with the company’s standards and regulatory requirements. The BCM policy is also responsible for overseeing and managing the implementation of BCM controls. The policy confirms that business processes are aligned with the company’s standards and regulatory requirements.
The policy holder can be the individual that is responsible for overseeing the company’s business process with the BCM control.
Chris Ekai is a Risk Management expert with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a Master’s(MSc) degree in Risk Management from University of Portsmouth and is a CPA and Finance professional. He currently works as a Content Manager at Risk Publishing, writing about Enterprise Risk Management, Business Continuity Management and Project Management.