Guest Blog: How to Implement a Business Continuity Plan at Your Company
What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity encompasses both the management and the formulation of a plan for continuing critical business functions should a potential disruption or disaster ever occur. It takes into account the minimum business functions and identifies the threats and vulnerabilities that could impact them. Business continuity is all about building a plan to mitigate risks in the event of an incident. Afterward, the goal is to recover the business operations from a disaster to a functioning state. The two, business continuity and disaster recovery, are often included in what is known as a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) plan.
What is a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan?
Business continuity is the proactive process of planning the maintenance of business functions should disruptions occur, while disaster recovery is the reactive process of restoring loss of data, access, and IT infrastructure once an event has occurred.
A BCDR plan will take into account what risks might be considered, from physical disasters to cyber attacks that occur during a crisis. Next, planning will consider the impact that a threat will have on business functions. Finally, procedures in a BCDR plan will look at mitigation of risk and allow an organization to recover processes to the minimum acceptable level within a timeframe deemed appropriate.
The plan ensures that all employees and company assets are protected and able to function at minimum capacity. It considers minimum capacity operation due to the potential for disruption of major operations as the result of a disaster.
Why Do You Need a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan?
The need for a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan (BCDR) is much like the need for insurance. A BCDR Plan addresses the most important functions of the business, the factors that ensure the health and safety of the employees, the dependencies, and the required steps to keep your business functioning during a crisis.
Some threats and disasters can severely impact business functioning, even going so far as putting a full stop to business operations. Without a business continuity plan, both your business and its employees are at risk of complete failure. Having a plan in place ensures that vital systems are still accessible and that the business can still maintain operations even at minimal levels. In addition, this allows employees to access the systems they need to do their jobs and recover and protect your company assets’ data.
It is important to ensure that you have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place to anticipate threats and risks, protect your business and your customers, and recover from losses quickly when disaster strikes.
A good example of this is seen in the changes we’ve all had to make to our working routines during the Coronavirus pandemic. Many cities are still currently on lockdown, which has set a precedence for remote working conditions. Most employees of major companies have had to adjust to accessing their systems over the web from remote locations at home. The pandemic could have put a stop to operations altogether, but plans were in place to keep businesses functioning and to focus on the financial health of both the business and its employees.
4 Core Objectives of Business Continuity Planning
- Ensure the health and safety of employees.
- Maintain critical business functions.
- Ensure employees have access to necessary hardware, software, and services.
- Protect data Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability from activation until the deactivation of the BCDR Plan.
What Should be Included in a Business Continuity Plan?
- An Introduction: An overview of the document.
- Risk Assessment: A list of threats and risks.
- Critical Business Functions and Business Impact Analysis: A business impact analysis looks at critical business functions and analyzes the impacts of a disruption to these functions and processes.
- Plan Activation Procedures: How the plan will be implemented.
- Alternate Business Site: Details for moving offices or remote locations.
- Employee Communication Procedures: How the plan will be communicated to employees.
- Delegation of Authority and Responsibility: Designation of which employees have access to and are responsible for certain assets.
- Plan Deactivation Procedures: Steps to return to normal operations
How Often Should Business Continuity Plans be Tested?
This will depend on several factors, from the size and complexity of your organization to the nature of your business and its services to the systems you have in place to maintain business continuity. Complex industries may require frequent continuity plan review as they tend to have more complex business continuity and disaster recovery plans. The more frequent review ensures that compliance and regulatory standards are met during disruption. Smaller businesses with less intensive business continuity plans may only need their plan tested on an annual basis, while more complex business continuity plans may require testing twice per year.
There are also different types of tests and reviews you can conduct based on your business continuity plan components. For example, a business might conduct emergency drills yearly and a tabletop review bi-annually.
When Should a Business Continuity Plan be Implemented?
You shouldn’t leave the implementation of your business continuity plan until disaster strikes. Instead, it is important to implement your plan during drills and scenarios that test and exercise the effectiveness of responding to potential threats that might impact the business. Some business continuity includes monitoring and other automation for continuous upkeep of systems and ongoing business continuity implementation.
Our post on disaster recovery here.
Our Business Continuity Plan Builder solution:
This guest blog was written by a member of the Securicy team. Securicy is an information security management platform for businesses selling to large enterprises. To learn more about them, click here.