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Business continuity and risk management are two of the more important disciplines in business operations management. Business continuity professionals are in charge of planning for disasters and making sure that operations continue after a catastrophe strikes. Risk management professionals are responsible for preparing for disasters too, but they also have many other duties, such as buying insurance, minimizing contract and legal liability and workers' compensation. The disciplines are very similar. In some organizations, business continuity and risk management are part of the same department.
In general, business continuity concentrates on the many different catastrophes that could disrupt the operations of an organization. After listing these threats to business operations, the business recovery professionals then details plans for disaster recovery should any of these catastrophes happen. The goal is to continue running the business through the disaster or to restart business operations as soon after the disaster as possible.
Business recovery specialists are not just in charge of one facility, as large entities may have facilities all over a country or even the world. This means that these specialists have to worry about continuing operations in more than one locale. They must be concerned with disaster recovery at multiple sites. When an organization also has chain of suppliers and partners around the world, top-notch business recovery experts concern themselves with business recovery for each link in the chain.
Risk management professionals are often charged with the same tasks of business recovery. This is often the case where disaster recover specialists are part of the risk management department of an organization. Other professionals in the department handle personnel safety and workers' compensation, property and casualty insurance buying, emergency response and employee benefits. In smaller entities, the risk management department might have only one member. That professional would then be in charge of all of these tasks of business continuity and risk management.
Bigger national and international organizations might be sizeable enough, however, to have separate departments for business continuity and risk management. Depending on the business operations of the company, business continuity specialists, such as IT business recovery personnel, might be located in each individual department. Coordination between business continuity and risk management is still essential. Enterprise risk management is the practice of overseeing and managing all risks across an entire organization, not matter how large. Both business continuity and risk management could be the responsibility of enterprise risk management.