- Natural Disasters, such as: bad weather, flooding, earthquake, disease, etc.
- Man-made business interruptions, such as: labor strikes, power outages, arson, theft, terrorism, trade embargo, etc.
- Any other identified risk to the business, such as: critical supplier closes their doors unexpectedly
DRP is an important part of BCP, but BCP goes beyond just IT systems and looks at the entire business structure. It is critical that the IT system continue to function after a disaster, but if there is no one available or able to use these systems then how will the business continue to operate? BCP seeks to answer the big-picture questions such as:
- In the event of a disaster where will your people work from?
- If downed trees and power lines cut off major roadways needed for distributing your product what will you do?
- If a swine flu outbreak keeps 3/4 of your staff at home can your business still function?
This is what BCP looks at; being prepared for the unplanned interruptions. Making advanced preparations just in case of disaster is good business, but it does involve some cost, which can be significant. This is where cost-conscious organizations and businesses with limited budgets have major concerns. The result can be avoidance or undue risk-taking; hoping for the best because it just costs too much to be adequately prepared. This need not be the case. Spending a lot of money to set up a BCP does not make it more value added nor better for your business. Taking a logical approach that makes sense for your business and understanding the risks does make a BCP more value-added.
To be effective and value-added the level of preparation needs to be evaluated against the potential risk. This is what a good BCP plan will evaluate. The plan needs to be created after carefully looking at each critical business operation and identifying the associated level of risk should this operation go down. In addition, there needs to be a thorough evaluation of the options for maintaining business operations in the event of a disaster; i.e. backup or contingency plans. Based on this evaluation (typically know as a Business Impact Analysis or BIA), an effective and realistic BCP can be created which will effectively help the business to survive and operate during an unforeseen interruption or disaster.