Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a plan of countermeasures developed by/for an enterprise to protect human lives and to enable prompt recovery/continuity of its business activities in the face of accidents/disasters (including unordinary incidents). BCP should be developed and implemented well in advance for an enterprise to ensure its effectiveness. Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a structure for maintenance/management of the BCP.
Most enterprises already may have countermeasures for and to avoid accidents and disasters. However, it is impossible to fully avoid being involved or affected by accidents and disasters such as; disruption of logistics system due to volcano eruption as in Iceland, loss of lives/properties and damage to social infrastructure due to large earthquake like Japan, or bankruptcy of stakeholders due to a financial crisis, and critical manpower shortages due to pandemic influenza, etc.
Proper planning for business continuity is more than just avoiding disasters/accidents. It is imperative for an enterprise to be proactive and develop a successful plan of countermeasures in the case its major management resources (e.g. people, facilities, data, outsourced services, systems) are damaged. This is the essence of the BCP planning.