Business Resilience

Business Resilience

“Business Resilience” refers to a company that can adapt to unexpected disruptions without interrupting its operations while ensuring the safety of its people, assets, and brand reputation. 

A business resilience plan differs from a disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity plan. Business resilience involves having strategies in place after a disaster to prevent costly downtime, strengthen weak areas, and maintain business operations even during future unforeseen incidents. In a modern context, business resilience includes incorporating regulatory changes, cyber-attacks, and technological advancements into a company’s planning process.

Business resilience is increasingly important as the unpredictability of global events has become more frequent. Companies should proactively protect their businesses against unexpected disruptions and plan for worst-case scenarios. Companies must develop plans to quickly identify and address disruptions, evaluate the impacts of events on their business operations, and create strategies to mitigate these disruptions. 

Digital transformation is at the heart of business resilience, as companies become agile and can respond to any threats. Advanced analytics also help companies in their planning process by providing insights and an understanding of the risk environment. 

This glossary will define business resilience in a modern context and outline the steps companies should take to create and implement a business resilience plan. It will also explain key technologies that can help organizations become more resilient and ways businesses can measure their resilience. 

After reading this article, you should have a solid understanding of business resilience and be able to start creating your own business resilience plan.

What Is Business Resilience?

Business resilience is the ability of a business to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive events. It allows companies to better manage risks associated with potential disruptions and vulnerabilities. 

To ensure organizations can withstand unexpected events, it’s important to prioritize business processes and workflow standardization. One challenge in planning for business resilience is preparing employees to respond appropriately in chaotic situations.

A business resilience plan is the same as a business continuity plan (BCP). Resilience is achieved through multiple readiness approaches such as technology disaster recovery, crisis management, risk management, and incident management.

Business resilience encompasses multiple aspects of overall resilience, including organizational, operational, cyber, and supply chain resilience. This broader definition highlights the significance of resilience for businesses, governments, and other organizations.

The Importance of Business Resilience Planning

Organizations must do more than just restore operations and critical applications after a natural disaster or cyber-attack. They must be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances. The COVID-19 crisis highlighted this need as businesses had to swiftly adjust to new work environments, including remote work and hybrid setups.

Organizations are expected to remain operational and in business by their shareholders and stakeholders unless extraordinary circumstances like mergers make it impossible. Even if the business is at risk of being affected by a disruptive event, it’s expected to continue its operations.

This is why business resilience planning is so important. It allows companies to anticipate potential disruptions, prepare for them, and quickly respond, recover, and adjust to new conditions.

Business Resilience Plan Checklist

These are the various elements included in a business resilience plan:

  • Analyzing the potential impact on the business
  • Assessing potential risks
  • Managing identified risks
  • Testing and practicing emergency procedures
  • Creating a plan for communication during emergencies
  • Developing a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
  • Developing a Disaster Recovery Plan (DR)
  • Establishing an Incident Response Plan (IRP)
  • Creating a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan

Although each component can function independently, they work together to establish a framework for developing a comprehensive resilience plan.

Defining the organization’s end state after completing the recovery and resumption processes is crucial to ensure business resilience. Just resuming operations doesn’t necessarily mean the business is fully recovered. Thus, determining what resilience means for the organization is vital to achieving its desired end state following an incident.

How To Build A Business Resilience Plan

You can create a business resilience plan by merging your existing business continuity management, disaster recovery, and other plans. Most likely, many of the tasks included in these plans will be incorporated into the resilience plan.


The following are four key steps in a business resilience plan:

  1. Specify how the organization should function after an unplanned event.
  2. Define how it anticipates the potential for an incident and prepares for it.
  3. Find alternative or temporary ways to run the business. 
  4. Determine how the company culture impacts the recovery of the business.

No particular frameworks in the current resilience standards outline the development of resilience plans. Instead, they mainly identify the components that must be included in an all-inclusive plan. 

This means that organizations must assess their resilience needs and create a plan specific to them.

How To Select A Business Resilience Leader

Many organizations struggle with figuring out who should be in charge of leading business resilience management activities. Some have dedicated departments for business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), while others assign these responsibilities to leaders in different areas such as IT, legal, HR, senior management, compliance, risk management, emergency management, and facilities management.

Federal agencies must comply with two federal standards: 

  1. Federal Continuity Directive 1 (FCD 1) 
  2. Federal Continuity Directive 2 (FCD 2)

Following these directives helps agencies develop continuity of operations plans and become more resilient. 

Compliance with FCD 1 and 2 is required for most federal agencies, particularly those in the executive branch. Usually, administrative units are responsible for ensuring FCD compliance, although it may vary between agencies.

Business Resilience Standards and Guidelines

Two standards define resilience and provide ways to achieve it:

ASIS SPC.1-2009 provides the most comprehensive set of guidelines and best practices for secure system design and development. The standard provides guidance on a wide range of topics, including authentication, authorization, encryption, data integrity, data privacy, secure coding practices, secure software architecture and design principles, infrastructure hardening, and system security monitoring. 

By following the guidance provided in ASIS SPC.1-2009, organizations can develop secure systems that protect their data and applications from malicious actors. And by implementing these best practices, organizations can ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards such as PCI DSS and HIPAA. 

ISO 22316:2017 provides guidance on the development of an organizational framework for maintaining information security. This standard outlines the four core principles of a robust security program: organization and governance, secure design and architecture, operational effectiveness, and sustainability. These core principles provide a comprehensive approach to designing, building, and operating secure systems that protect against data breaches, malicious actors, fraud, and other cybersecurity risks. 

By following the guidance provided in ISO 22316:2017, organizations can design and operate secure systems that protect their data, applications, and infrastructure from malicious actors. This standard also provides guidance on creating an organizational framework designed to sustain over time, providing continued assurance of security and compliance.

Updated: May 01, 2023

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