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Making a Risk Management Plan for Your Business
It’s impossible to eliminate all business risk. Therefore, it’s essential for having a plan for its management. You’ll be developing one covering compliance, environmental, financial, operational and reputation risk management. These guidelines are for making a risk management plan for your business.
Developing Your Executive Summary
When you start the risk management plan with an executive summary, you’re breaking apart what it will be compromised of into easy to understand chunks. Even though this summary is the project’s high-level overview, the goal is describing the risk management plan’s approach and scope. In doing so, you’re informing all stakeholders regarding what to expect when they’re reviewing these plans so that they can set their expectations appropriately.
Who Are the Stakeholders and What Potential Problems Need Identifying?
During this phase of making the risk management plan, you’re going to need to have a team meeting. Every member of the team must be vocal regarding what they believe could be potential problems or risks. Stakeholders should also be involved in this meeting as well to help you collect ideas regarding what could become a potential risk. All who are participating should look at past projects, what went wrong, what is going wrong in current projects and what everyone hopes to achieve from what they learned from these experiences. During this session, you’ll be creating a sample risk management plan that begins to outline risk management standards and risk management strategies.
Evaluate the Potential Risks Identified
A myriad of internal and external sources can pose as risks including commercial, management and technical, for example. When you’re identifying what these potential risks are and have your list complete, the next step is organizing it according to importance and likelihood. Categorize each risk according to how it could impact your project. For example, does the risk threaten to throw off timelines or budgets? Using a risk breakdown structure is an effective way to help ensure all potential risks are effectively categorized and considered. Use of this risk management plan template keeps everything organized and paints a clear picture of everything you’re identifying.
Assign Ownership and Create Responses
It’s essential to ensure a team member is overseeing each potential risk. That way, they can jump into action should an issue occur. Those who are assigned a risk, as well as the project manager, should work as a team to develop responses before problems arise. That way, if there are issues, the person overseeing the risk can refer to the response that was predetermined.
Have a System for Monitoring
Having effective risk management companies plans includes having a system for monitoring. It’s not wise to develop a security risk management or compliance risk management plan, for example, without having a system for monitoring. What this means is there’s a system for monitoring in place to ensure risk doesn’t occur until the project is finished. In doing so, you’re ensuring no new risks will potentially surface. If one does, like during the IT risk management process, for example, your team will know how to react.
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Business continuity and crisis management, advantages of business continuity planning.
Unpredictable events happen regularly. From natural disasters to wilful and accidental damage, potential business crises can significantly disrupt your operations. This is especially true if you don't prepare to deal with emergencies.
This is where business continuity planning comes into play. As part of your recovery strategy, it allows you to prepare in advance the processes and procedures to help you cope with the unexpected. Planning can also help you realise many other important benefits.
Key benefits of business continuity planning
Business continuity planning can help you:
- keep your business trading during and after an incident
- recover operations more quickly after interruptions
- reduce costs and duration of any disruption
- mitigate risks and financial exposure
- build customer confidence and trust
- safeguard company reputation
- develop confidence within the business
- comply with regulatory or legal requirements
- insure against otherwise unacceptable risks
- save lives, if dangerous events (such as a fire) occur
If you don't have a business continuity plan in place, start by carrying out a business impact analysis . This assessment will help you to understand your business - including assets, people and processes that are critical to running it. It will also help you to consider the likelihood and the impact of potential business crises .
Why have a business continuity plan?
A carefully thought-out business continuity plan will make coping in a crisis easier. It will also enable you to minimise disruption to your business and customers, often at the expense of competitors. It is a way of proving to customers, insurers and investors that your business is robust enough to cope with anything that might occur.
See how to create a business continuity plan .
Importance of business continuity planning
Failure to plan could be disastrous for any business. At best, you risk losing customers while you're getting your business back on its feet. At worst, your business may never recover and may ultimately cease trading.
A clear, comprehensive business continuity plan will give you the best chances of overcoming a business disaster. Once you create it, remember to test your business continuity plan rigorously - you will want to make sure that it fulfils its purpose.
See also how to minimise the potential impact of crises .
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10 Benefits Of Business Continuity Planning
If you think the benefits of business continuity (BC) planning revolve solely around emerging unscathed from a seemingly unlikely, could-happen-but-might-never-happen disaster sometime down the road, think again. Companies that have a strong continuity program in place realize a number of benefits—many of which spring from the survival mindset required to plan, maintain, and carry out BC activities on a regular basis.
Based on what I’ve seen at the companies I work with, the importance of business continuity planning is most strongly reflected in the 10 ways listed below.
1. It has the potential to save lives.
I’m not talking about the life of your company—it’s about the lives of your employees. Fire drills, evacuation drills… if you can’t get people out of the building, who cares how many recovery plans you have? Take the time to create a strong emergency and evacuation plan that prepares people in advance; it will save lives when needed. Not only is this the most important benefit of any BC plan (if you don’t have the people, you can’t recover), it’s also a good way to show you care about the people you employ.
2. It builds confidence among your customers.
Companies that are transparent about their ongoing business continuity efforts are communicating something very powerful to their customers: We are putting the right pieces and parts in place so we can be there for you—no matter what. The fact that you’re showing a high level of commitment to business continuity builds confidence among customers, as well as other outside parties you do business with.
3. It builds confidence among your employees.
Internally, employees who are well-versed in the company’s continuity plans gain confidence, too—they know what they need to do should a crisis arise. But an unexpected benefit of business continuity planning is that employees are also more adept at handling daily, smaller disruptions. They automatically assess the levels of risk associated with new activities, and are better able to maneuver business operations quickly and smoothly.
4. It ensures compliance with industry standards.
If you’ve adopted a set of business continuity standards you can rest assured that your business is compliant with industry mandates. Even if you don’t have regulations to adhere to, compliance with standards provides proof to stakeholders that you’re running your business responsibly. It also gives you a blueprint that virtually guarantees the success of your program, and makes it easier to execute.
Need more help guaranteeing the success of your program? Use this guide to write a business recovery plan that will help your company survive any type of crisis.
5. it preserves your brand value and your reputation..
Companies that aren’t prepared to handle disruptions risk appearing incompetent to the public should an event arise, possibly stumbling over next steps and mishandling communication. Your BC program is the engine behind a smooth recovery, and preserves your carefully crafted brand value and the stellar reputation you’ve worked hard to achieve.
6. It cultivates a resilient organizational culture.
Several of the companies we work with have noticed an increased emphasis on resilience and recovery related to everyday tasks as a result of strengthening their business continuity programs. Employees are applying business continuity concepts automatically, whenever they develop a new product or service; or they are quicker to adapt when a process goes awry. The concept of continuity starts to apply in everything they do, particularly if there’s strong management support for the program.
7. It provides valuable business data.
Business continuity activities produce tons of data—critical business units, critical tasks, recovery time objectives, financial impacts of a disruption, etc. It’s like having an encyclopedia of valuable data about your company’s operations. Smart companies make use of that data in other ways, like the Arizona utility company that uses its data for process improvement, and to plan strategic activities that will help move the business forward. (Not to mention that said company also has a top-notch continuity program and could recover from any disruption in minutes.) Use the data. Refer to it often.
8. It helps mitigate your financial risk.
Among the benefits of business continuity planning is the mitigation of not only business risk, but also financial risk. By creating a more resilient network or putting the right backup processes and procedures in place, you’re lessening the risk of a data breach, for example, or a substantial power or data loss, or systems failures. The financial losses associated with such events—even minor ones—can be avoided with a good BC program in place.
9. It protects your supply chain.
If you’re familiar with the Business Impact Analysis , you know that it details the critical operations that are necessary to recover. Armed with that information and the plans to accompany it, every critical link in your supply chain will be protected in the event of a disruption, enabling you to continue delivering goods or services as promised.
10. It gives you a competitive advantage.
Even if you have a strong business continuity program, your competitors likely do not. Use that to your advantage. In today’s world, it’s a differentiator to be able to respond, recover, and resume business operations should a disruption occur, making you more attractive to potential business partners and customers.
Have you experienced additional benefits of business continuity planning? If so, tweet me @mhaconsulting and let me know.
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What Are The Benefits Of Creating A Business Disaster Recovery Plan
What are the benefits of creating a business disaster recovery plan .
Table of Contents
The biggest benefit of creating a disaster recovery plan is to ensure business continuity after a disaster. It is a known fact that the fallout of disasters can be devastating to a business.
Whether caused by natural events, hacking or human errors, you’re likely to incur major losses without a disaster recovery plan.
More than 90% of businesses that experience data loss will file for bankruptcy within a year. Further, more than 40% of companies that lack a disaster recovery plan will fold up after a disaster.
In this post, we’ll explain the benefits of a disaster recovery plan and how to create one for your business.
What Is A Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a set of procedures that helps a business with proactive support so they can recover after experiencing an unexpected event. In the end, the organization can continue to carry out its functions and projects.
A DRP is critical for every business and makes up an integral part of a business continuity plan (BCP).
To create a DRP, you will have to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) and risk analysis (RA). These are extensive analyses of all your business operations and continuity needs.
You will then get an evaluation of the necessary areas you need to focus on and the overall risks you need to manage.
A DRP also helps you meet compliance requirements for privacy legislation..
Benefits of Disaster Recovery
- Reduction of the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) of your business. RTO is the maximum time your business can use to recover from a disaster. While RPO is the maximum data your business can afford to lose.
- Revenue improvement by reducing the cost of possible damage due to data loss or downtime.
- Enhances business continuity by lessening the interruption of business operations.
- Maintains business integrity by preventing compromise and building trust.
- Acts as a treatment strategy to strengthen network security.
What Does A Disaster Recovery Plan Include?
1. To develop a Disaster Recovery Plan, you need to include the following elements:
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
An RTO defines the maximum time your business can survive after a disaster before it resumes its normal functions. While an RPO entails the highest amount of data your business can afford to lose after a data breach.
2. Records of All Hardware and Software
Keep an updated record of all your IT assets such as hardware devices and software programs. You will need it to create an effective Disaster Recovery Plan. Make sure that the DRP covers the most important IT materials first, before the least necessary ones.
3. Assign Disaster Recovery Processes to Qualified Personnel
Make sure to employ personnel to develop and implement effective disaster recovery processes. The specialists are accountable for detecting and managing unexpected disasters. And also recovering operations and sustaining business continuity.
4. Disaster Recovery Sites And Storage Facility
Disaster recovery sites are backup locations where business assets like data are kept in case of unforeseen events. While a storage facility stores copies of physical documents and storage media. These backup locations should be included when creating a disaster recovery plan.
5. Record of Disaster Response Strategies
This is an integral part of a disaster recovery plan. It contains a detailed action plan with clear measures to be taken at the onset of a sudden disaster. All the strategies aim at minimizing the effect of the disaster, securing data, and ensuring recovery.
6. Develop Tactics to Ensure Network Security
Network security is one of the most crucial elements of a DRP. This is because there is an increase in cybercrime, which is one common business disaster. All endpoint devices connected to your network should be protected with efficient security.
7. Develop An Effective Communication Plan
The effective flow of information in the workplace can go a long way to minimizing the effects of a disaster. A communication plan can improve the effectiveness of a disaster recovery plan. It can also build trust and assure your clients.
8. Conduct Disaster Recovery Plan Tests
Testing your disaster recovery plan is a great way to detect loopholes that may cause it to fail. Make sure to carry out tests at least once after every 6 months to a year. Do not forget to make adjustments and updates to your plan after running tests.
How To Make A Disaster Recovery Plan
Having known the importance and elements of a DRP, waste no time creating one for your business. Below are steps to guide you on how to make a DRP:
1. Identify Your Business Risks and Continuity Needs
Carry out BIA and RA analyses of your business to identify possible risks that can lead to disasters. This is a proactive step that exposes areas of weakness that should be managed. It will also guide you on how to create DRP strategies that will reduce damage and recover your business.
2. Create A Disaster Recovery Unit/Team
This unit should have skilled personnel who create and implement a DRP for your business. If you’re running a small business, you can employ the number of staff depending on your budget.
3. Develop DRP Action Plan with Clear Procedures
A DRP should contain clear procedures that are easy to understand and access. Outlined steps should be concise, legible, and well-organized. All threats, risks, and actions should be listed and communicated to all employees.
4. Audit Hardware and Software Resources
Keep an updated record of all hardware and software devices in your organization. This allows you to keep track of IT activities, identify cyber security threats , and manage network security. Also, an inventory can help you locate and store data in your disaster recovery sites.
Identify which data is of high priority and get rid of unimportant files. This way you’ll be saving storage space to secure more important data.
5. Create Recovery Goals
Recovery goals such as RTO and RPO are necessary to help guide you in designing your DRP. When combined with RA and BIA analyses, these goals help to improve your DRP.
6. Test and Update Your Disaster Recovery Plan
After developing your DRP, it is important to test it to know its efficacy. Run tests and exercises with your defined risks and record flaws in your DRP. This way, you will know which areas need fixing and modification.
How Often Should A Disaster Recovery Plan Be Tested?
It is recommended that a disaster recovery plan should be tested as often as possible. But the frequency of tests largely depends on the type of business you’re running.
In general, a disaster recovery plan must be assessed and updated at least once every year. For every major change you make in any unit of your business, you must conduct a disaster recovery test.
A DRP testing combines technology configurations and vendor platforms to test your procedures. Assessment results of DRP tests are generally passed or fail. You can also get certifications after testing your DRP in the vendor platforms.
Asides from using vendor platforms, you can run mini-exercises to improve your DRP. Some of them include testing and restoring data backups, fire and evacuation drills, and call tree exercises.
You can also take training courses if you want to improve your knowledge of BCP and DRP. This gives you insight into the best way to create and test DRP in your business.
The importance of testing your disaster recovery plan cannon be overemphasized. It shows you areas in your DRP that need improvements or modifications. Making these updates can reduce losses and even save your business in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a disaster recovery plan and why is it important.
A disaster recovery plan is a set of measures that helps a business bounce back after an unexpected disaster. It is important to ensure the continuity and success of a business.
What are the advantages of disaster recovery as a service?
Some of the advantages of disaster recovery are:.
- Minimize loss caused by disasters
- Ensuring recovery of business operations
- Securing valuable business assets
- Providing compliance with regulations
- Preventing possible threats and risks to a business
What are the most important aspects of disaster recovery?
The most important aspects of disaster recovery are:
- Identifying risks
- Backing up essential data
- Create an effective communication plan
- Set up a disaster recovery team
- Testing disaster recovery plan
What’s in a disaster recovery plan?
A disaster recovery plan contains procedures on how to recognize and minimize the effects of threats. Some of these threats are cyber-attacks, natural disasters, human errors, and more.
What is the purpose of business recovery plans?
Business recovery plans are special procedures used by operational teams to restore activities to normal after an unexpected event.
Final Thoughts On The Benefits of A Business Disaster Recovery Plan
The best benefit of having a disaster recovery plan is that it assures your business of recovery and continuity after a disaster. A DRP is a set of predefined steps that saves your business by helping you bounce back quickly.
This post explains the requirements and steps for creating an effective DRP for your business. After creating one, you would need to regularly test your DRP to improve its efficacy. Computronix is a Managed Service Provider that has been providing disaster recovery services for over 25 years. Contact us today to establish your disaster recover plan before disaster strikes.
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4 Benefits of Disaster Recovery Planning
Jul 16, 2018
Blog / Security / 4 Benefits of Disaster Recovery Planning
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Many disasters can quickly knock out your entire corporate network or database. If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place, chances are that the consequences will be severe. The National Archives and Records Administration reports that 93 percent of companies that experience data loss and downtime, extending for 10 or more days, will file for bankruptcy within 12 months. In addition, 43 percent of companies that do not have a disaster recovery plan will go out of business in the aftermath of major data loss.
A disaster recovery plan describes scenarios for resuming work quickly and reducing interruptions in the aftermath of a disaster. It is an important part of the business continuity plan and it allows for sufficient IT recovery and the prevention of data loss.
The obvious benefit of having a disaster recovery plan is business continuity, regardless of the circumstances. Having a strategic approach to business continuity can help a company in a number of other important ways.
Here are the top 4 benefits of disaster recovery planning:
Disaster recovery plans have multiple components. The most important elements include:
• Preventative measures that reduce the risk of a man-made disaster taking place
• Detective measures aimed at identifying unwanted events quickly
• Corrective measures that restore lost data and allow for business processes to resume in the aftermath of a disaster
To accomplish these goals, you will have to A) run analysis of potential threats, B) maintain IT systems in optimal condition, and C) seek innovative solutions that will guarantee business continuity and focus on cybersecurity.
On-time updates and opting for more innovative hardware and software can potentially save organizations a lot of money in the long run. Furthermore, an even bigger shift is being seen with more and more organizations adopting a cloud-based data management instead of local storage and operations. This pivot, as a part of disaster recovery planning, can minimize the cost of archive maintenance and the creation of comprehensive backups.
2. Increased Employee Productivity
A disaster recovery plan will have to be executed by the right people. When specific roles and responsibilities are assigned in advance, effectiveness and productivity will both increase.
In some instances, disaster recovery planning can mean having at least two people that are capable of handling the same task. Such redundancies can prove to be incredibly beneficial in the long run. When multiple employees are capable of handling a given task, organizations can benefit from peace of mind pertaining to overall the integrity of the network. Additionally, if someone is out on vacation or on sick leave, there will still be a qualified individual within the organization capable of dealing with the respective task.
Likewise, the same cross-training rule applies when an employee leaves the company. These are just a couple of scenarios that could be anticipated and addressed in a disaster planning strategy.
3. Greater Customer Retention
Clients today expect nothing short of perfection and reliability. They are not forgiving in the case of failures or downtime. When a certain business cannot meet their expectations, clients will simply move on to another service provider.
Disaster recovery planning enables businesses to maintain a high service quality, regardless of the circumstances. Reacquiring an old customer in the aftermath of an IT disaster can be nearly impossible – a disastrous effect that so many businesses have experienced firsthand.
In some industries, customers will be affected heavily by downtime. This is especially true for B2B service providers. The integrity of your business will affect the integrity of client enterprises. As a result, a chain reaction can lead to the potential failure of multiple businesses and a degraded reputation.
Reducing the risk of downtime and data loss means your clients can rest assured they will receive an adequate service even after disaster strikes. As a result, investing in disaster recovery planning is one of the imperatives when it comes to sustainable customer retention.
4. A Better Understanding of Scalability
One of the key things you will have to do when planning disaster recovery is identifying innovative solutions. Technologies like cloud-based data storage and backups simplify the process of archive maintenance, enhance the effectiveness of backups and reduce the cost of disaster recovery.
Because cloud options are easily scalable, they offer more flexibility than the maintenance of an onsite or offsite data center. A switch can be completed far before a disaster strikes (if ever) and as the technical demands of the company adapt, so too will the storage solution being utilized.
Disaster recovery planning begins with a thorough research and a comparison of possibilities. Businesses who engage in such a strategic process can quickly uncover data storage solution that makes a lot more sense than the one being currently utilized and that can be tweaked on the go.
Disaster recovery planning can streamline IT processes, help for the elimination of superfluous hardware and reduce the risk of human error. In a sense, you are not just preparing to recover in the aftermath of a disaster, you are working to make your business more resilient and profitable.
Today, the office is no longer just a physical place – it’s a collection of people who need to work together from wherever they are. Evolve IP partners with IT professionals to bring together their essential productivity and communication tools into a single, secure cloud-based solution, fine-tuned for the hybrid workforce and delivered as a service. By integrating these disconnected systems from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, and VMware, and filling in the gaps, we are improving the experience for both employees and customers, while centralizing technology management. So no matter how locations, tools, and partners shift over time, you have a solution that makes the future of work better for everyone.
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Business Continuity Planning Advantages and Disadvantages
Business continuity plan advantages and disadvantages.
“Always be prepared.” Business continuity planning ensures the organization is prepared for anything that could interrupt normal operation, but are there disadvantages to business continuity plans? Yes, there are both benefits of business continuity planning and disadvantages of business continuity plans. For example, think about what happens when you have a plan for a particular scenario, and it’s been documented and rehearsed over and over again. The staff can execute it in their sleep. Then something different that was not even on the organization’s radar occurs, and the business is brought to its knees. This is one disadvantage of business continuity planning.
Considering the advantage and disadvantage of business continuity planning is a core requirement to building a sufficient plan. Planners need to understand all the benefits or advantages of business continuity planning and prepare for the disadvantages of having a business continuity plan. These disadvantages are risks in and of themselves, and like other risks to business continuity, they too can be mitigated once identified and understood.
Advantages of Business Continuity Planning
There is a cost of not having a business continuity plan. It generally shows itself when people look at the businesses that are no longer in operation after a wide-scale business interruption. It could be a global pandemic, earthquake or tsunami, or broad-scale power outage. Who is no longer in business when things returned to normal? Generally, it’s the organizations that had no business continuity plan. The cost of not having a plan at all can be:
- Loss of revenue due to inability to provide customer-facing services
- Loss of reputation due to inability to operate
- Complete inability to cover the costs of the losses or obtain further investments due to the lack of confidence in the organization
The benefits of business continuity planning address these areas and include:
- The ability to reestablish operations after an incident or emergency : One of the advantages of business continuity plans is a level of organizational resilience that enables operations to continue in the face of events that could interrupt service or recover quickly, before there is a tremendous impact the business and its reputation.
- Confidence through improved communication : With a plan in place that includes clear communications to customers and investors, confidence in the organization increases even during a short service interruption. Customers will tolerate short disruptions when they understand the situation and know that there is a plan in place to restore service and when they know how long that will take. One of the advantages of business continuity plans is that they enable this clarity of communication.
- Improved compliance : Business continuity plans improve compliance by enabling the organization to secure private data from theft (both physical and cyber data) as well as generally providing controls the organization has in place to protect it from events that threaten its livelihood.
- Lower recovery and insurance costs : There is a cost to last-minute business needs. Advanced planning enables the organization to know what it needs for recovery and obtain or contract for its use in advance. While there might be maintenance fees associated with it, having a plan that includes additional working space or data centre capabilities frees the organization from having to find space or data centre services when they become high-demand items due to a widespread need. Additionally, business insurance costs are lower when the organization can prove lower risk due to better planning.
- Reduced risk to employees : Business continuity planning that includes drills keeps employees safe. Whether it’s post-pandemic office protocols or routine emergency drills, planning increases the likelihood of survival in a disaster.
These are only some of the highest-level advantages of business continuity planning, but even they make it clear that there are significant benefits to business continuity plans. But if that’s the case, why are there disadvantages of business continuity planning, and what are they?
Disadvantages of Business Continuity Planning
While BCP benefits are numerous, the disadvantages of business continuity plans stem from the planning activities themselves and from the traps the organization might encounter.
- The first of the disadvantages of business continuity plans was mentioned earlier: the trap of having a false sense of security . This false sense of security causes an organization to get complacent. They might not go back to the plan and ensure it addresses new risks with a plan in place. Thus, they have a plan, but it doesn’t take newer risks like cyber-terrorism or pandemics into account, even though these are now more commonplace.
- The resources needed for business continuity planning is also one of the disadvantages of business continuity planning. This is a time-consuming exercise, first for developing the risk assessment and then for developing the many plans that are needed. Rehearsals can also be time-consuming. In addition to taking time, executing portions of the plan may require funding with little apparent return on investment. Unless or until disaster strikes.
- Business continuity planning reveals weaknesses, and this can be confronting to the staff responsible. They may become afraid of losing their jobs for not having a backup plan already in place. They may become concerned for their safety or lose confidence in the organization.
By now, it might have become clear that the disadvantages of business continuity plans occur more as business continuity plan challenges. This is a good way to think of them, as identifying the challenges within your own organization makes it easier to begin addressing them. In fact, each of these business continuity plan challenges can be treated as a risk and mitigated.
How to overcome the Business Continuity Challenges
Complacency is easy to address by having a procedure to review all risks and plans annually.
This is also a good time to engage outside services in the program. It’s worth having a business continuity planning consultant review the overall set of risks and plans and having cyber-security experts conduct penetration testing and other security checks. This is one of the benefits of focusing on the disadvantages of business continuity plans; it forces the organization to think about complacency and how to address it.
The Costs and Resources
The costs and resources needed for business continuity planning can be addressed by fully understanding all the advantages of business continuity plans and building a business case for the program. This business case should include financial models for developing the plan, executing steps that must be done ahead of time as well as including financial models for the potential losses caused by each risk.
The Staff Confidence Challenge
The Staff confidence challenge requires a well thought out organizational change management and communications plan. Bringing staff into a business continuity planning effort without developing their understanding of the goals and objectives is a recipe for disaster. If they understand the goal is to protect the organization in the future and not to criticize them for not having a backup generator, for example, they will be more accepting of the program. It may also be worth bringing them together to talk about the fear and doubt that may occur during the planning process. This program is being put in place for their safety, and while it might be confronting to talk about building collapse, knowing where to go and how to help each other makes surviving the collapse more likely for those who are prepared.
To make good use of both the advantages of business continuity planning and the disadvantages, it is worth doing some internal brainstorming to see which challenges the organization will face and building a list of the ways the challenges can be addressed. This increases the likelihood of success for the overall program.
Contact us about creating a business continuity plan for your business or to find out how CG Technologies can help you with any business continuity challenges you may have.
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What is Business Continuity? (Overview, Definition, and Examples)
- By: Tim Vire
- January 11, 2023
Business continuity planning helps companies, nonprofits, and others outline steps to take during and after unexpected disruptions in operations.
Business continuity plans exist to ensure a business can survive and thrive in the face of any unforeseen disaster or disruption. Creating one is an essential part of any organization’s crisis management strategy, because even the most prepared and vigilant of companies are vulnerable to sudden threats.
Creating a solid business continuity plan requires effort, teamwork, and collaboration among leaders and board members . Read on to learn the foundational importance of having a business continuity plan, what should be included in one, as well as an overview of vital standards and software to help ensure successful implementation.
What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity refers to a business or nonprofit ’s critical operations and services continuing to function despite disruption or disaster. It requires developing a comprehensive plan for maintaining normal operations during unexpected events, such as natural disasters, cyber attacks, power outages, pandemics, and more. Business continuity plans are designed to help minimize losses in terms of revenue and reputation by enabling businesses to quickly resume day-to-day business activities following an unforeseen event.
The importance of having a business continuity plan cannot be overstated in today’s ever-changing business environment. Having one helps organizations mitigate risk and reduce downtime while increasing resilience.
The benefits include faster response times with minimized damage, improved communication between departments, better support for crisis management efforts, increased customer satisfaction due to quicker resolution time, and reduced costs associated with lost productivity and data recovery.
Ultimately, creating a comprehensive business continuity plan proves essential for any organization wanting to protect its assets from potential risks.
What to Include in a Business Continuity Plan
A well-developed business continuity plan acts as a roadmap for restoring normal operations after a disruptive event has occurred. Below are key elements to include in your business continuity plan.
1. Key Business Impact Areas
Business continuity plans should identify and prioritize the key business impact areas that need to be addressed in order for an organization to remain operational during a disruption or disaster. These include infrastructure, resources, data and information, processes, people, and technology. Establishing these areas of focus will allow organizations to create effective strategies for mitigating risks based on their individual needs.
By identifying potential threats and implementing appropriate countermeasures ahead of time, businesses can minimize the potential damage caused by unanticipated events.
2. Acceptable Downtime
Acceptable downtime is the maximum amount of time an organization can tolerate its critical systems or services to be unavailable. It is an important consideration when creating business continuity plans, as it provides a benchmark by which organizations can measure their preparedness and response efforts in the event of a disruption or disaster.
When determining acceptable downtime, consider factors such as potential revenue loss due to reduced availability, impact on customers and suppliers, operational costs associated with restoring services, public perception of an outage, legal liabilities related to data privacy laws, and any other risks posed by extended periods of unavailability. The general formula to calculate acceptable downtime is recovery time objective (RTO) plus work recovery time (WRT).
RTOs are targets set by organizations for how quickly they need to return their services back to normal following a disruption or disaster. These objectives typically vary depending on the type of system impacted. However, it is important that they are realistic and achievable within the available resources so you have confidence in your ability to recover from any unexpected incident without experiencing significant losses or delays in service delivery.
3. Plan to Maintain Operations
A plan to maintain operations is an essential component of any business continuity strategy. This plan should outline the steps taken by an organization to ensure key processes and systems remain operational during a disruption or disaster. It should include specific procedures for restoring critical services, such as customer service departments, IT infrastructure, and supply chain management, as well as detailed guidelines on how staff will continue working remotely if necessary. Additionally, this plan should identify alternative resources and personnel that can be used in the event of unanticipated disruptions.
Business Continuity Standards
Business continuity standards are essential for organizations seeking to ensure the resilience of their operations in times of disruption or disaster. The most commonly adopted standards include ISO 22301, ISO 31000, and NFPA 72.
ISO 22301 is an international standard that provides a framework for developing effective business continuity management systems. This standard outlines the principles, processes, and activities required to plan, establish, implement, operate, and maintain BCMSs so organizations can
- Identify threats and vulnerabilities
- Define roles and responsibilities
- Develop plans
- Conduct risk assessments
- Provide training on emergency response procedures
- Monitor progress in implementing BCMSs
- Review effectiveness of operational plans regularly
- Assess impact following disruptions or disasters
ISO 31000 is an international standard that provides a risk management framework for organizations of all sizes. This standard outlines processes, structures, and practices needed to identify, assess, and manage risks in order to achieve organizational objectives while also taking into account uncertainty associated with them.
ISO 31000 emphasizes the importance of implementing systems designed to detect potential threats before they occur, as well as establishing contingency plans in case incidents do happen. It promotes proactive approaches that allow organizations to anticipate future trends and changes in their environment, so they can be better prepared for any eventuality.
NFPA 72 is an industry standard developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which provides guidelines on fire alarm systems and other life safety measures in order to protect occupants of buildings. This document outlines requirements for the design and installation of different types of fire detection, notification, control, and suppression systems, as well as evacuation plans.
It also encourages regular testing and maintenance schedules to ensure these devices function properly at all times. NFPA 72 promotes the use of multi-sensory alarms that can be heard, seen, and/or felt to provide maximum warning in case an emergency arises. It also recommends installing smoke detectors throughout the building so potential hazards can be detected early. Additionally, this document contains provisions regarding training personnel responsible for monitoring the system regularly, as well as providing clear instructions on how everyone should respond when alarms sound.
Business Continuity Starts With Board Alignment
A business continuity plan requires the board of directors to collaborate effectively in its creation and review it regularly so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in case of unexpected disruption or disaster. OnBoard’s intelligent and intuitive board portal platform uniquely helps boards engage with the long-term strategic direction of their organizations by maximizing the value of time the board spends together and making discussions more meaningful and actions more deliberate.
In addition, its limitless system of record allows boards to securely store documents related to continuity planning that can be accessed by the entire organization no matter their location. With a unified platform, communication is simplified and decisions are tied to real, meaningful data.
Want to find a board management vendor that will help your board be more strategic and forward-thinking? Check out OnBoard’s Board Management Software Buyers’ Guide .
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the main goal of business continuity.
The main goal of business continuity is to ensure that an organization can continue operating through any disruptions or unexpected events, such as natural disasters, power outages, cyber attacks, and pandemics.
What are Examples of Business Continuity?
Business continuity is an essential aspect of any organization's operational strategy, and there are a variety of approaches that can be implemented. One example is the implementation of redundancy solutions, such as redundant servers or cloud-based data storage systems, which allow for continued operations even if one system fails. Another example is the establishment of remote working protocols in order to ensure employees can work from home during times of disruption or crisis.
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8 VANTAGGI DEL DISASTER RECOVERY PER IL BUSINESS
Why use a disaster recovery solution.
Since last week we have been talking about Disaster Recovery , an essential solution to protect data and business information systems from possible disaster , as natural events, human errors, hacking, thefts or other incidents. We have shortly defined the Disaster Recovery service and we have seen how it works and what are the parameters to be defined to make the solution as effective as possible.
Today we will talk about the concrete benefits of Disaster Recovery for companies. We have seen that a DR has the main aim of protecting business data and systems, but how? What benefits can the implementation of a DR solution assure? We have identified 8 benefits of Disaster Recovery for companies :
1. Drastic reduction of restore times and lower RTO & RPO Thanks to Disaster Recovery solution you have the warranty of restore systems, services and applications in short times and get significantly lower RTO and RPO. According to the parameters defined from DR plan, you could drastically reduce restore times on the basis of your needs, which would be completely impossible without using a Disaster Recovery solution.
2. Limit the losses due to revenue reduction or other costs By reducing restore times of business information systems, you can limit the losses not only in terms of revenues, but even related to, for example, costs for possible damage caused by downtime and management or technical assistance expenditure.
3. Minimize the interruption of Critical Processes and safeguard business operations Each company has critical processes that must be always active and are vital for the business continuity. Through a Disaster REcovery solution these kinds of processes will be preserved and possible interructions minimized, by allowing a short resume to operations.
4. Avoid to compromise the business reputation As shortly said in the last posts, downtimes caused by unexpected incidents seriously threaten the firms’ reputation. A short recovery avoid to compromise the business strength as well as to cause irreversible damage to the corporate image.
5. Define symplified processes of action to face unexpected situations and predict a controlled resume to operations Thanks to a detailed plan of Disaster Recovery, any action of intervention in case of emergency will be planned previously, by allowing a short restoration, controlled in all its stages.
6. Granular management The DR solution enables to manage replications in a granular way (wich means restoration of data at file level or even smaller units), with tha aim of assuring a complete recovery of data and services.
7. No impact on performance Replication of business infrastructure on one or more Disaster Recovery sites ensure no impact on performance. Indeed, thanks to the activation of Disaster Recovery, systems are constantly online.
8. Control and custmization of your own Disaster Recovery Tha last benefit we talk about is the chance to customize and monitor your own Disaster Recovery. With the personalization of DR solutions, you can choose the replication frequency and establish the best recovery times for your business. In addition, you can control constantly your Disaster Recovery site.
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The benefits of a Business Continuity Plan
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The key to a successful, long-term business is not only to ability to serve your market and retain customers, but also the ability to withstand the unexpected that could knock your success off-course.
While COVID-19 is at the forefront of our minds these days, it is worth considering that this is one of many events that have had impacts on business over the past few months. Cyber attacks, pandemics, flooding, fires and multiple storms highlight the need for planning for the unknown and the requirement to keep business operations active during times of stress.
The use of a business continuity plan or BCP, provides companies with a roadmap and processes that support the company and its strategy in times of the unexpected. An effective plan enables any organisation to react quickly and efficiently in the event of unpredictable events. The goal is to keep essential services up and running and in the event of an incident to provide for recovery in the shortest possible timeframe.
The benefits of a BCP include supporting the organisation’s strategy, creating a strategic advantage compared to your competitors, demonstrating to stakeholders such as investors and customers that you are taking their needs seriously and addressing operational vulnerabilities.
The framework that supports BCP is a Business Continuity Management System or BCMS. The de-facto standard for BCMS is ISO-22301. This lays out the requirements for a standardised management system, and highlights ten clauses to assist in developing a plan. The key considerations when developing a BCMS include:
- Decide which services are essential to keeping the business operational, this will be done through risk assessments/business impact assessment – The scope
- Understand the people element as a key part of this are identifying the correct people to be part of the reaction team, i.e. the first responders to an incident. This is a vital part of the plan as the right people need to be in place to respond and deal with the incident. – The Leadership and Support
- Plan for the testing, refining and updating of the BCMS, as this should keep abreast of how your business and strategy changes. – Planning, Performance evaluation and Improvement
Then there are the practical elements of the plan that should be agreed prior to any incident occurring. You should keep up to date contact details of all key stake holders. You should schedule for plan reviewing, testing and updating. Testing should be done regularly, from walk through, table top exercises and full emergency exercises to see how team members and execs react under stress.
Plans can look great on paper but until they are firstly fully tested in an exercise environment and lessons are learned and applied they may not operate as expected in an incident. There should be easily accessible check-lists in-situ – both in soft and hard-copy –that outline what is to be done, by who, by when, how that will be achieved and where the activity is to take place. As such understand and agree the guidelines for how and when to activate the plan
If an organisation prepares a plan in advance of an incident occurring, be it a pandemic, an act of nature or a cyber attack, then the organisation stands a better chance of emerging from the incident with its operations intact.
How to keep business continuity in a crisis However, if an organisation doesn’t have a BCP, then there’s no need to panic. You can still implement the most important phase of a BCP - this is the response phase, and for many the least effectively planned phase of a BCP.
The response phase comprises of the following 6 key steps:
- Mobilise your incident response team. This should be led by and comprise of senior management and company experts who manage the operations and staff at this time. Critical decisions are agreed on by this taskforce. Meetings should be held at least daily with interim phone calls involving sub-teams occurring more frequently.
- Decide if additional expert support is required at this time. It may be the case that the organisation is ill-equipped to deal with the incident, so now is the time to ask for help. If they don’t ask then the response to the incident may be inadequate and may prevent recovery in the long-term.
- Safeguard your critical assets – during a crisis or incident ensure that your operational assets are monitored for unauthorised access or usage and that you have a full inventory completed.
- Implement a communications plan to keep all stakeholders – internal, external, governmental and customers aware of what you are doing, why you are doing it and when you are doing what you’re doing
- Plan on how the organisation will restore to pre-incident operational effectiveness. This can include a glide-path for bringing systems or staffing on-line in a controlled manner. The big-bang approach can usually lead to more issues as systems become overloaded if done too quickly.
- Complete a lesson’s learnt report and publish this through internal and external communications. Another incident or crisis will occur in the future, so plan on re-using your hard won knowledge.
If an organisation takes these steps into consideration during an incident or crisis it can formulate a recovery plan that will assist it with keeping itself in a viable situation during the incident and also recovering to hopefully pre-incident state after the incident is over.
Authors: Neil Redmond, Senior Manager and Mark Gallagher, Manager, Risk Advisory
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Colm is a partner in our Risk Advisory practice specialising in security risk, regulatory and control assurance and consulting assignments. Colm has been an Authorised Officer for the Central Bank of ... More
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