What is Business Continuity? | Key Strategies and Mistakes to Avoid

What is Business Continuity? | Key Strategies and Mistakes to Avoid

Imagine an unexpected interruption to your organization’s business activities. It could be an earthquake that destroys a warehouse filled with inventory, an IT incident that crashes your servers, or another pandemic like COVID-19 that forces some of your stakeholders to suspend business operations, which may result in you laying off your workforce.

You lose money for every minute your business stops or even slows down. Even if you can’t schedule disasters, you can form a plan to mitigate their effects. Whether it’s earthquakes, floods, viruses, server issues, or critical accidents, you want to have procedures in place to recover your business.

What a lot of people brush off as simple "common or business sense" is actually about taking responsibility and having a plan for business continuity.

What is Business Continuity?
Key Strategies for Business Continuity
Business Continuity Mistakes You Need to Avoid

How to Write a Business Plan to Start Your Own Business

What is Business Continuity?

Business continuity is defined as the capacity of an organization to deliver products and services at predefined levels following an act of disruption or accident.

It is the development of plans, strategies, and actions that provide alternative modes of operation for those business operations that, when interrupted, might bring a fatal loss to the organization.

Planning for business continuity is not a simple tick-box exercise or a rainy-day insurance policy but something that has a measurable value to an organization.

Operational Business Strategies Worldwide
Operational Business Strategies Worldwide

Key Strategies for Business Continuity

Due to the varying nature of the threats a company faces, like natural disasters as well as man-made ones, it is important that every business have key strategies in place for business continuity. Even the business of doing a garage door tune-up needs to have a proper plan for business continuity management. Some of the key strategies are:

Business Impact Assessment

The business impact assessment is a process to identify the data your company has, how it is collected, the location of its storage, and how it is accessed. This determines the critical data and the acceptable amount of downtime in case it becomes unavailable to your customers.

While most businesses aim for 100 percent uptime, it is not always possible. You should also calculate your recovery time objective in this phase, which is the time it would take to restore your data and applications to a functional state in the event of an emergency.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that every company should know the recovery point objective, which is the age of data that would be acceptable for your company to resume operations. It can also be called the data loss acceptability factor.

Risk Assessment

Risk comes in many forms. Your company might have to face risks at any time. It could be natural disasters like floods and fires or man-made accidents like the loss of communication lines, factory fires, etc.

In order to tackle these issues, you need to perform a threat and risk assessment for your company. A key component of your plan should be to identify all the potential threats to your enterprise.

For instance, a regulated company needs to factor in the risk of non-compliance. This can result in hefty fines and a loss of credibility and standing. This is why each risk needs to be articulated and detailed. In the next phase, the enterprise needs to determine the probability of every risk and its potential impact. Probability and potential are key statistics when it comes to risk assessment. After the risks are identified, the company needs to determine the tolerance for each risk.

What are the most critical issues, and what is the order in which they should be addressed? In this phase, potential solutions are identified and evaluated. Note that this is a dynamic process and needs to be regularly discussed to account for new threats.

8 Steps of Effective Planning for Every Business
When you start a business, planning is the most important factor. Take a look at the 8 steps of effective planning for every business.

Communication and Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is the deployment of the workforce after the risks are identified and evaluated. It is about specific incident responses. For instance, one of the fundamental tasks in the aftermath of an incident is to debrief, assess the response, and revise plans accordingly.

Hence, it is important to have a good communication framework to manage business continuity. In times of crisis, proper communication channels ensure that there are processes for connecting with customers, employees, and other stakeholders. As such, communication and messages must be consistent and accurate and must echo a unified company image.

Business Continuity Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Business continuity is the process of ‘planning’, not the ‘plans’ themselves. And implementing a business continuity program is only half the battle; the other half is avoiding things to ensure that their plans to mitigate disasters go unhindered.

Managing the Wrong Risks

Humans are notoriously flawed beings, and therefore their risk perceptions are also similarly affected. For example, have you ever wondered why so many people are more scared of traveling by plane than by car, even though the former is the safest mode of transport?

People apply the same biases to their businesses. According to business statistics, network issues, hardware failures, and power outages account for nearly two-thirds of all business interruptions. However, many organizations completely ignore these risks and invest time and money in exotic issues like cyber attacks and terrorism.

Therefore, it is important not to concentrate on a narrow set of risks and to employ a formal risk assessment based on practicalities instead of making ineffective emotional decisions.

Top 7 Must-Have Cyber Threat Intelligence Tools
This blog lists the top 7 cyber threat intelligence tools. It will help you understand and choose the best suitable tool to secure your website.

Not Reviewing Continuity Measures

If your business already has business continuity measures in place, then the next thing you need to do is review these measures on a regular basis. As the risk landscape is constantly shifting, out-of-date measures will certainly leave your company vulnerable to various threats and, in turn, hinder your recovery process.

Lack of Training

There is no way to deal with a crisis if the major players in your company are not aware of all the risks your business faces and the actions they need to take in the event of a crisis. A lack of training or awareness can leave organizations vulnerable, no matter how comprehensive their recovery plans are.

Not only the major stakeholders but also the organization’s staff need to know their roles in a crisis. As they are the first in line in a company’s defense, they are likely to be the ones to first identify a problem and how to stop it before it escalates any further.

Not Prioritizing

Everything that a business does is important. From the creation process to the distribution process, every step of the way is important in order to make a finished product or service. However, in the case of an emergency, a company needs to prioritize its activities.

Failure to do so will result in all the people involved in the crisis pulling in different directions. You can avoid this by having a comprehensive business impact analysis that identifies and maps the systems critical to the continued operation and determines which should be prioritized in terms of budget allocation and risk management.

This requires you to work smarter, not harder, and ensure that key systems are in place and effectively protected. In case of any interruption of services, these systems must be swiftly recoverable.


The way to create a successful business continuity plan is to analyze the impact of a disaster on a business and then create policies and strategies as a response to the impact. It is an outline made to shield the company against internal and external threats, maintain productivity, and have recovery plans in case of any calamity.

Business continuity management is all about data protection and credibility, the loss of which can be catastrophic to your business. Hence, it should be an important part of your organization’s culture.


What is Business Continuity?

Business continuity is defined as the capacity of an organization to deliver products and services at predefined levels following an act of disruption or accident.

What are some business continuity mistakes?

Some of the prominent business continuity mistakes are managing the wrong risks, not reviewing continuity measures, not prioritizing, and lacking training.

What are the strategies for business continuity?

The key strategies for business continuity include business impact assessment, risk assessment, communication, and disaster recovery.

Must have tools for startups - Recommended by StartupTalky

Read more