Developing Organizational Resilience Series – Part 4

Author: Colin Mander, LRI Engineering Inc.



What is a Business Continuity Plan?

An emergency or disastrous event can affect more than just people, it can also disrupt businesses and organizational operations. When disaster strikes a predetermined Business Continuity Plan (BCP) can guide an organization through effective recovery procedures for all critical business functions.

A BCP provides a framework for the recovery response of an organization to ensure the rapid restoration of all key business processes, infrastructure, and the protection of resources. The development of a BCP requires steps to identify the potential risks an organization could be exposed to, and how the risks can impact operations.

The Development of a BCP

Step one: Conduct a Risk Assessment(s)

Conducting a risk assessment on a business/organization can expose a multitude of threats including natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, technological failures, security breaches, among many more.

It is important to assess the risks to an organization through a holistic methodology, including involving members at all levels of the organization. Once the risks have been identified, prioritize the most severe by calculating the likelihood of the event and the severity of the consequences. If an event is likely to occur and has a severe impact the organization should prioritize the mitigation, response, and recovery to that event.

Step two: The Business Impact Analysis

Following the Risk Assessment(s) the organization should have a clear idea of ‘what’ could happen. The Business Impact Analysis (BIA) will determine what organizational processes will be impacted and to what extent. The BIA will evaluate the criticality and interdependencies of business functions and processes.

An important step in the BIA is identifying a tolerable downtime for business functions and determining the Recovery Time Objective (RTO). For example, during a power outage how long can a server be disabled before it significantly affects a business. If business operations are significantly impacted after two hours the RTO should be within the first two hours.

Step three: The Strategies

Once the threats and impacts have been identified it is now time to determine the response and recovery strategies. The strategies can be unique and creative to the organization and can include some of the following:

          Response Procedures

          Data backup

          Alternative facilities or work arrangements

          Communication protocols

          Staff cross training

Step four: Developing the Plan

As each process is completed it is now time to compile all the information into a comprehensive document that identifies the risks, impacts, and the recovery to a disaster event. Just like with the Emergency Response Plan (ERP) the Incident Management Team (IMT) should be assigned roles and responsibilities within the BCP. Depending on the sensitivity within the BCP the IMT can be scaled to the appropriate staff members. The plan should also include a list of all critical stakeholders or vendors’ contact information and protocols on when to advise them of an incident.

Step five: Exercising the Plan

To validate the BCP must be regularly exercised to ensure that it is functional during an emergency event. Both the ERP and BCP can be tested within the same exercise and the Emergency Management Committee should take time to effectively test specific operations of each plan and how they co-operate.

Step six: Maintenance and Revisions

The BCP should be tested annually with revisions made following lessons learned from the exercise. The BCP can also be revised based on additional vendors, alterations to the IMT structure, or new additions to the plan. Regular reviews are essential for the authenticity of the plan and its practical use during emergency events.

The Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan

A BCP is highly beneficial to an organization for safeguarding operations, maintaining reputation, protecting customers, minimizing financial loss, and complying with regulatory requirements.

The process of developing a BCP is also beneficial to an organization as it can potentially identify gaps within the organization’s operations that can be amended for overall operational improvement.


If you have any questions or require assistance in initiating your BCP, contact LRI Technical Consultants for support or visit our website at

Forward any questions you may have, and we will be happy to answer!

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