Of course a Business Continuity Plan is of vital importance for all kinds of organizations no matter their size, since even a small disruptions in SMBs or SMEs can have impact on a global supply chain. Many SME are smaller ancillaries or suppliers or providers to larger businesses. If an SME goes out of business, this may create its own ripples in the supply chain for number of large businesses globally. For instance, the 2011 earthquake in Japan affected and devastated many SME. Some of these SME were specialized automotive part suppliers to large Car majors such as Toyota and General Motors. The event disrupted production lines across firms and countries and many had to suspend or close production. So to assure your business keeps making money you should have a professionally elaborated and well tested BCP. Nevertheless many US businesses are not equipped to deal with major disruptions, warns insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty in a risk bulletin.

The difference (as well as the importance of) between Disaster Recovery (“merely create plans to pick up the pieces after a serious crisis”) and Business Continuity can be made clear by providing example scenarios and asking some questions:

DR: Your headquarters burned down to the ground and you suddenly found yourself in a war zone. How to get employees and/or money out of the country?

BC: Pandemic. Half of your employees are sick. Mayor routes are blocked. Can you outsource? Can your employees work from home? Do you have alternative supply lines (Water/Air)?

As you can see BC spans a broad range of considerations helping your organisation to face disruptions. For a BCP it is important to define roles, define mission critical functions, risk, calculate costs and test/practice. Here are some more questions i can think of when it comes to BCPs:

Which is the product/service that most contributes to your revenues? Which external factors could impact on your product/service delivery? How are responsibilities distributed? How long could you continue to keep your business going with a given amount of resources? Is there an essential but troublesome activity that could be easily outsourced?

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