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What If?

It’s the question that haunts any business continuity professional throughout his or her career. Of course, there are a million possibilities that might occur at any time. But creating a business contingency plan can at least help you to prepare for the unknown.

Here, we take a look at the basics of business contingency planning, as well as how to create a plan for your own organization.




A business contingency plan is a course of action that an organization would take if an unexpected event or situation occurs. Sometimes a contingency can be positive—such as a surprise influx of money—but most often the term refers to a negative event that affects an organization’s reputation, financial health or ability to stay in business. These include a fire, flood, data breach, major network failure and more.

Contingency plans are an important part of your overall business continuity strategy because they help ensure your organization is ready for anything. Many large businesses and government organizations create multiple sets of contingency plans so that a variety of potential threats are well-researched and their appropriate responses are fully practiced before a crisis hits.



Think of contingency planning as a proactive strategy, whereas crisis management—the other piece of the business continuity puzzle—is more of a reactive strategy. A contingency plan helps to ensure you are prepared for what may come; a crisis management plan empowers you to manage the response after the incident occurs.

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