BCM Basics: Introduction to Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS)

Introduction to Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS)

This post is part of BCM Basics, a series of occasional, entry-level blogs on some of the key concepts in business continuity management.   

Many people are familiar with Software as a Service (SaaS), the cloud-computing model in which software applications are delivered over the internet. Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS) is based on the SaaS concept, but it differs from it in several key respects, as we’ll explore in today’s post. 

Related on MHA Consulting: Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) Comes of Age 

SaaS and DRaaS  

In the SaaS model of delivering software apps through the cloud, users access software through a web browser instead of having to install, maintain, and update it on their individual computers or servers.  

The software is hosted by a third-party provider, and users typically pay a subscription fee to use it, with the provider taking care of tasks such as software updates and infrastructure maintenance. This leaves users free to focus on performing their organization’s core tasks instead of spending their time sorting out software maintenance and security issues. 

A related model familiar to many in the BC community is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), which provides an offsite, cloud-based solution for IT disaster recovery. The goal is to help organizations recover and quickly resume normal operations in the event of a disaster affecting their IT systems. 

Introducing BCaaS 

What is BCaas? Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS) brings the philosophy and benefits of SaaS and DRaaS to the provision of business continuity services. BCaaS solutions typically include services related to continuity planning, disaster recovery, and data backup, and other elements crucial for maintaining business operations in the face of disruptions.  

As with other “as a Service” models, BCaaS offerings may provide scalability, cost-effectiveness, and easier management of business continuity measures.  

BCaaS has been growing rapidly in recent years as more organizations—especially small and medium-sized ones—are deciding they do not want to make BC one of their core competencies.  

In addition, many companies, having looked at the profile of the typical BC program rollout—with lots of work being required in the first year or two and much less in the subsequent maintenance phase—have concluded that BC is an area well-suited for the use of experienced outside help.  

MHA’s Approach to BCaaS 

Let’s get more specific about how Business Continuity as a Service works. The BCaaS offering I know the most about is MHA’s, so I’ll tell you about that one. 

At MHA Consulting, our approach to providing BCaaS is to visit the company, assess their needs, and develop a road map setting out the timeline for how we’re going to develop and implement a program for them over the next eight or 16 or 24 months—and how we’re going to test, manage, monitor, and improve it in the period after that.  

We become the customer’s BC office, enabling them to “set it and forget it.” We strive to provide peace of mind by using our expertise, experience, and technology to ensure our clients achieve resilience across all aspects of BC, from IT/DR to the supply chain. Our emphasis is on getting in there, getting the work done, and clearing out—while leaving the organization more resilient than it was when we came in, and then coming in as needed to do maintenance and make continual improvements.  

In a typical MHA BCaaS arrangement, there’s heavy interaction in the beginning, during the program development and implementation phases. Once things are up and running, we return as set forth in the road map—typically twice a year—to carry out needed maintenance and activities. We’re also available any time on demand. (Our BCaaS includes access to one or more of MHA’s BCM experts, each of whom has 15 years or more of BCM experience.) 

Our BCaaS aims to build executable programs in a timely, cost-effective, and efficient manner. It’s well-suited for organizations with limited BC budgets, those that are unable to or don’t want to hire experienced BC staff, and those obliged to comply with customer, regulatory, or audit requirements. 

It’s also beneficial for organizations that lack direction about what BC means for them and those who want their program to be built the right way the first time. 

Our BCaaS Timeline and Tool Suite 

The typical timeline MHA’s see with our BCaaS customers it that it generally takes one to three years to build a sound program, depending on the organization’s size and complexity.  

The work is divided into four areas: program administration, crisis management, business continuity planning, and IT disaster recovery planning. The majority of the heavy lifting taking place up front. Typically, a road map sets forth goals for each area for Year 1 and for Year 2. By Year 3, most organizations have entered the maintenance and continued improvement phase, which the customer can take control of, if desired. 

Our BCaaS service centers on the use of MHA’s proprietary BCMMETRICS software suite, which includes tools to help in conducting BIAs, building your continuity plans, storing and accessing plans, exercising your plans, maintaining them, complying with standards, and other critical areas. 

Our BCaaS customers receive a license to the suite, giving them visibility into their program at every stage as we move from development to implementation to maintenance. 

MHA BCaaS as an Investment 

MHA Consulting’s Business Continuity as a Service offering can yield a significant return on investment by building a sound program foundation from the start, eliminating the errors, missteps, and confusion often encountered in developing a BCM program. 

The financial investment for MHA BCaaS to initially develop the program varies based on organizational size, complexity, and need, but the investment once the program is in place is typically less than the cost to employ a full-time senior-level BCM professional. 

Using BCaaS to Achieve Resilience 

Drawing inspiration from models such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS) solutions offer services related to continuity planning, disaster recovery, and data backup, and other elements crucial for maintaining business operations in the face of disruptions. The growing popularity of BCaaS reflects the efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness it brings to the realm of business continuity.  

MHA Consulting’s approach to BCaaS is to become the customer’s BC office, taking the burden of BC program development and implementation off their shoulders. MHA’s experienced and knowledgeable consultants, focus on establishing a road map, and ability to leverage the power of BCMMETRICS have allowed us to build a BCaaS offering that is efficient and cost-effective in helping our clients achieve resilience. 

Further Reading 

Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.

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