What is business continuity?

What is Business Continuity?
Business Continuity is defined by the International Standards Organization as the: 
"capability of the organization to continue delivery of services or products at acceptable predefined levels following disruptive incidents"*
*Source ISO 22300 Vocabulary 
Why is Business Continuity important?
Organizations of all types and sizes, public and private are effected all the time by "disruptive incidents'. These can be extreme, such as a natural disaster or more likely something mundane, such as a burst water pipe, the loss of power or other services, ICT issues and other forms of incident that disrupts the normal work of the organization.  The disruption caused usually impacts on the capability of the organization to perform its normal activities and as a consequence impacts on customers or other stakeholders, adding additional costs and creating the potential for losses in financial and even social terms.
Over the past 15 years Business Continuity Management (BCM) has emerged to become a powerful tool to help organizations manage the potential effects arising from disruptive incidents of all kinds, providing safeguards that helps protect them from the effects of the incident causing the disruption. The process used to manage Business Continuity is usually referred to as the Business Continuity Management System (BCMS). 
For most organizations Business Continuity Management would usually encompass processes related to disaster recovery, crisis management, business recovery, emergency management and contingency planning.   
Through the use of a BCMS organizations are far more able to predict and manage the threats posed by disruptive incidents and the potential consequences, reducing or even eliminating the costs or losses that would have resulted.
Business Continuity is not just an exercise for big business or the public sector. The principles used are applicable to all sizes of organizations and are just as effective in smaller organizations as they are in larger ones. Indeed, Business Continuity Management can bring significant benefits to smaller businesses enabling them to more effectively compete for contracts, demonstrate professional management and protect the interests of the owners.
There have been developed over the years providing a professional framework for Business Continuity and these include NFPA 1600 in the US, PAS 56 and BS25999 in the UK and, from May 2012, a global standard ISO 22301.  
These standards have evolved to provide a Good Practice structure that can deliver the benefits of business continuity to organizations of all types and sizes.
Heres a useful clip from the BSI to help set the context
Just think of your organization for a moment?
How many times over the past 5 years have you been disrupted? Was it weather, fire, IT failure, staff issues, supply chain issues or perhaps something else?
Do you know how much it cost the organization or how it really affected your customers?
Business Continuity Management would have reduced the impact and could even have helped you avoid the problems encountered completely. 
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