Posted by: kenwbudd | March 5, 2011

Three Laws of Business Continuity

You can communicate the concept of Risk management in Business Continuity quite simply by describing the Three Laws of Business Continuity. These three laws are aligned with Murphy’s Law.

The First Law is generally well known and accepted:

“If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.”

Murphy’s First Law reminds us of the importance of risk assessment and the value of investment in risk prevention.

Murphy’s Second Law is not so well known, but is widely appreciated based upon individual experience:

“If it cannot possibly go wrong, it’ll still go wrong!”

However hard we try and however much we invest in risk prevention we never completely identify and eliminate all risks. The rules of mathematics are clear; regardless of how small the probability of risk occurrence, given enough time it is certain to happen.

So the Business Continuity’s Second Law reminds us of the need for a business continuity plan, which is our last ditch defence to enable recovery, once that unforeseen event has taken place.

So what is the Third Law? The Third Law reminds us of the fact that bad stuff happens and when it does there is always an impact that we have to deal with. This Third Law is a truism:

“In real life, bad things happen to good people… Get over it.”

When disasters occur, in spite of all of our planning and preparation there is always an impact. If there was no impact then it wouldn’t be a disaster and we wouldn’t require business continuity.

Your job is to put plans in place to make sure that the impact is contained to a level that your organisation can accept and survive. You need to communicate this level of acceptable risk to stakeholders and top management in your organisation and have their prior acceptance.

A structured and layered Business Continuity plan, agreed and accepted by stakeholders might help defend your otherwise pressurised budgets and provides you with the opportunity to dispel the myth that business continuity plans somehow guard us against all events and the subsequent impact stemming from a disaster.


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