Business continuity encompasses planning and preparation to ensure that your organization can continue to operate in case of serious incidents or disasters and is able to recover to an operational state within a reasonably short period. As such, business continuity includes three key elements and they are:
- Resilience: critical business functions and the supporting infrastructure must be designed in such a way that they are materially unaffected by relevant disruptions, for example through the use of redundancy and spare capacity;
- Recovery: arrangements have to be made to recover or restore critical and less critical business functions that fail for some reason;
- Contingency: your organization establishes a generalized capability and readiness to cope effectively with whatever major incidents and disasters occur, including those that were not, and perhaps could not have been, foreseen. Contingency preparations constitute a last-resort response if resilience and recovery arrangements should prove inadequate in practice.
Typical disasters that business continuity is meant to account for include natural disasters such as fires and floods, accidents by key personnel in the business, server crashes or virus infections, insolvency of key suppliers, negative media campaigns and market upheavals such as stock market crashes. Such disasters may not necessarily have to occur in the place of business to have catastrophic impact in the globalized economy.