Business Continuity and Crisis Management



In the course of providing services to their customers there exists a probability of certain disruptions that might impact them to such an extent that they might not be able to serve their customers. It is for this reason that organisations undertake functions for prevention of disruptions, try to stay prepared, undertake risk management, crisis management, recovery processes and emergency responses. They also decide on processes that can ensure speedy resumption of business and manage resources for this purpose based on their understanding of their business environment. These functions serve as the organisation’s protection from future predicaments. Efficiency and effectiveness is achieved through the integration of these functions (Shaw, n.d.). There are several factors that affect business continuity namely networking reliability, data availability, scalability and availability of operating systems, application availability and reliability of server hardware. It is imperative for a business to continuously operate, ensure data availability at all times and display agility in accessing the data. The advancement in information technology has made it necessary to achieve business continuity on the basis of ‘continuous computing’ technologies. This is the reason that Business Continuity Management (BCM) and Crisis Management has become an integral part of the information system of an organisation (Nijaz &amp. Moon, 2009). Most businesses do not prepare for unexpected breakdowns in advance or even if they plan, it is often outdated. Good continuity is reflected through advance planning thereby paying attention to minute nuances so that when an emergency situation arises then there is no reason to panic. Most organisation lack this kind of detailed planning as they tend to concentrate only on Information Technology (IT) and carry out too much of business analysis. Planning and simplicity in BCM ensures acceptable service levels for key processes in the business. BCM involves preplanning and coming up with alternative solutions. BCM is essential for the long term survival of the business (Hotchkiss, 2010). What is BCM? In the words of Shaw and Harrold, business crisis and continuity management can be defined as “the business management practices that provide the focus and guidance for the decisions and actions necessary for a business to prevent, prepare for, respond to, resume, recover, restore and transition from a disruptive (crisis) event in a manner consistent with its strategic objectives” (Shaw, n.d.). BCM entails maintaining and developing a total plan for business continuity which ensures the business’ survival in case any disruption occurs. BCM involves development of plans based on the analysis of business impact, plan execution and regularly updating the plan to discover new risks, threats and business situations (Hotchkiss, 2010). BCM involves evaluating and understanding the risks faced by the company, assessing the impact of an unexpected situation on the organisation and accordingly making decisions regarding the extent to which the organisation should prepare for an unforeseen crisis situation (Matthys, 2010). Critical Appraisal of Drivers of BCM Every organisation in today’s world needs to bring about strategic changes in response to the changes occurring in their economic environment. These changed are driven by various regulations namely government regulations and compliancy regulations.