The post-COVID world has woken up to a new reality — the undoubted importance of business continuity planning (BCP).
And while significant investments are being made in this area, much more must be done to ensure that expected or unexpected events don't disrupt what's known as "business as usual."
So what exactly is a business continuity plan? And why is it needed?
In this blog, we'll explore the answer to those questions and more.
What is a business continuity plan or BCP?
A BCP is a set of pre-planned, pre-decided steps your business will take to handle any operational disruptions brought on by an emergency.
By offering a checklist of risk-mitigating actions to be taken, it addresses disasters that may occur and halt operations. Natural disasters, workplace accidents, technical difficulties, breach incidents, cybersecurity problems, supply chain disruptions, and any other significant operational, system, or process failure that prevents "business as usual" can all cause catastrophes that affect your company.
Why do you need a business continuity plan?
Consider a tornado destroying the only third-party warehousing service you used to store your inventory or a ransomware attack that holds your customers' payment and account information hostage. When these incidents occur, a BCP outlines what to do, when to do it, and who handles it, reducing risks and keeping the business afloat.
Rapid adaptability in the face of adversity is essential. Still, successful businesses must also work to be more vigilant of impending threats to minimize risks before they materialize into crises.
What’s more, today's disasters may not be the disasters of the future. It’s crucial, therefore, to upgrade plans that expire from time to time.
What are the benefits of BCP?
The main advantage of a BCP is that it keeps your business operating during and after a disruptive event.
Other advantages are:
- Recovering operations quickly after interruptions
- Reducing costs and the length of a disruption
- Mitigating risks and financial exposure
- Fostering customer confidence and trust
- Protecting your reputation
- Fostering employee confidence
- Adhering to regulatory requirements
- Insuring against other risks
- Saving lives (during dangerous events)
What does a BCP include?
Regardless of the nature or sector of your business, every business continuity plan should include the following:
1. A business impact analysis (BIA)
This will forecast how a disaster will affect the company and identify potential loss scenarios. Evaluating multi-generational environment recovery needs is crucial to ensure you have the proper recovery tools for every environment. Companies must also set up disaster recovery priorities that specify where to start recovery to restore the more critical business applications quickly.
2. A business continuity team
During a disaster, the business continuity team assumes command. Each team member has a clear role that stakeholders and staff should know. Communication protocols should be established way in advance to maintain connectivity among all parties during a crisis. Alternate methods of communication should be in place in case the company's phone and email systems go down; emergency contact information needs to be shared with stakeholders. Regular training, testing, practice sessions, and mock drills are essential as well.
3. List of known and potential risks
It’s important to compile a thorough list of risks, ranking them from ‘highly likely’ to ‘not very likely'. Your list should include dangers like human error, clicking on malicious links, and unsafe internet usage. Add those to the list if your company is in an area vulnerable to hurricanes, floods, or frequent wildfires.
Cyberthreats are another frequent risk, so it's essential to keep track of any previous security breaches or attacks, identify known security flaws, and enact strict password policies and recovery procedures using the most recent tools.
4. A plan to minimize operational impact
Keeping service level agreements (SLAs) is of utmost importance in a disaster. Your BCP needs to be specific about how you plan to meet SLAs. Document the procedures necessary to replace or restore crucial tools and services, such as servers and email, in the event of a physical disaster.
Be prepared to support safe remote workstations as well. It is essential to set up an infrastructure for secure off-site access to company resources well before needing them, as COVID-19 painfully showed.
A practical step-by-step recovery plan and a comprehensive BCP are essential for safeguarding the resources, information, and financial health of your business. The best way to make sure your BCP gets operations back up and running quickly after a disaster is to enlist the aid of experts with experience assisting.
Cyber attacks and your Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity plans are designed to hasten an organization's recovery from a threat or disaster. The plan's procedures enable staff members and company resources to reduce downtime.
With around 2000 cyber attacks happening every day, it's crucial to ensure that your company's BCP plan places the importance necessary on dealing with a cyber-attack or data breach. The first step in doing this is ensuring that you understand the state of your current cyber health and any gaps in protection.
1Fort can help you do just that. We seamlessly integrate with a number of cyber security tools to give you or your client all-in-one visibility into their cyber health. With 1Fort, you can also monitor the cyber health of individual team members' devices.