What is a business continuity analyst and what are their job duties?
In today’s volatile economic conditions, businesses around the globe have experienced major disruptions to their everyday operations, spurring a wave of interest in business continuity and related fields.
Whether you are an organization in search of business continuity specialists or whether you are investigating this as a job profession, this quick guide offer a comprehensive introduction to this job position.
Business Continuity Analyst: Job Description and Key Duties
Disruptions to an organization’s operations can come from many sources: cyber attacks, natural disasters, or power outages, to name just a few. Preparing for such disruptions is absolutely essential, since it can reduce the negative impacts of those events, improve credibility and trust with customers, and more.
This field is known as business continuity management.
Business continuity analysts work within this business discipline, and their duties include:
- The development of business continuity plans. Business continuity plans are designed to protect critical business functions during disasters and other disruptive events. This will ensure that organizations can remain functional and initiate recovery procedures as soon as possible. Once it is feasible, recovery and restoration operations can begin. These plans are essential methods for reducing the damage and losses that result from business disruptions.
- Analyze potential risks and business impacts that can result from different types of business disruptions. The continuity plans discussed above are built upon business impact analyses. These analyses determine the potential losses and negative effects that would result from certain types of disruptions. Among other things, these analyses will examine the nature of the disruption, its scale, timing, duration, and other relevant variables.
- Design and test recovery, restoration, mitigation, and prevention strategies. There are a number of other strategies and plans that will form an organization’s overall business continuity efforts. The protection of key business functions and recovery operations will be key steps within many response plans. But these will also be accompanied by risk mitigation, disaster prevention, and similar plans, all of which will aim to prevent and reduce disruptions before they escalate.
- Implement procedures and processes that can improve organizational resilience. Organizational resilience, business resilience, and digital resilience can all improve an organization’s ability to rebound from disruptive change. Strategies for improving resilience can include those that focus on the “soft” side of an organization, such as the employee experience and organizational culture. They should also incorporate strategies that revolve around processes, tools, technology, and other “harder” elements of the organization.
The exact nature of this position may vary from organization to organization. Some organizations, for instance, may require all of the job duties covered above, while others may limit this job’s role to IT continuity efforts. In such cases, the duties – as well as the required qualifications – will vary greatly.
Required Education and Experience
Business continuity analysts that develop comprehensive continuity coverage will need education and experience that is directly relevant.
Requirements often include:
- A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field
- Several years of experience working as a business continuity analyst, within the field of business continuity management, in incident response programs, or other related areas
- Strong people skills and communication skills
- The ability to think both critically and creatively
- Certifications in change management, risk management, business continuity management, emergency management, or related areas
Since this position carries a great deal of responsibility, it also requires a great deal of commitment and effort in order to become successful. However, it can be a rewarding and fairly lucrative career – and since this field is projected to grow even further in the coming years, it also offers more job security than many other career paths.
Business continuity analysts are only one among many important roles that handle business continuity planning, disaster management, and other tasks related to organizational resilience.
In addition to business continuity, there are a number of closely related fields that can prove just as rewarding and important.
The International Consortium for Organizational Resilience (ICOR), for example, identifies twelve management disciplines that are essential for maintaining organizational resilience.
- Business continuity management, aimed at identifying potential threats that can disrupt business, then gauging the impacts of those threats
- Crisis management and communications, which is aimed at managing crises from the top level of an organization
- Critical environments focus on designing critical environments that house computer systems, such as data centers
- Financial health and viability, which ensures the organization can continue to provide goods and services, even during disruptive changes
- Human resource management, the management discipline dedicated to improving the employee experience and maximizing employee productivity
- Information and communication technology continuity, which is aimed at minimizing disruptions to information and telecommunications systems
- Incident response, which creates response plans for particular types of incidents
- Information security, the field dedicated to protecting the organization against cyber attacks
- Legal, audit, and compliance, which collects best practices from a number of industry groups and organizations, while also ensuring that the organization remains complaint with those practices
- Organizational behavior, the discipline that analyzes how employees behave within the context of the organization and attempts to improve that behavior
- Risk management, the discipline that identifies potential risks to the organization and developing plans to minimize their impact as much as possible
- Supply chain management, which is crucial for maintaining an efficient supply chain and minimizing potential negative impacts to that supply chain
Clearly, there are a wide variety of business disciplines dedicated to improving organizational resilience.
Business continuity analysts play an important role in that process, though job seekers interested in this field may find some of these other disciplines equally rewarding. And organizations interested in business continuity planning may benefit from expanding their search beyond business continuity to include organizational resilience.