In the prevailing IT environment, every single enterprise has become more susceptible to disruptions. Cybersecurity breaches, in particular, have become quite ubiquitous in our present digital landscape. The only way businesses can weather these unforeseen catastrophes, is by having a robust Business Continuity (BC) plan in place. This will help them “strike a balance” between preparedness and flexibility, to resiliently operate amidst any crisis, disruption, or cybersecurity incident.
Today, the majority of businesses have become smart enough to proactively formulate their Business Continuity Plans (BCP). Still, a lot of enterprises lack any such contingency plans to address the ramifications of disruptions in their IT environment. If your enterprise falls in the latter category, now is the right time to “pop your oblivious bubble”, and work on your BCP.
What Is Business Continuity Planning?
A well-crafted Business Continuity (BC) plan is a critical component of any organization’s overall risk management strategy. A Business Continuity (BC) plan can be referred to as a set of procedures and protocols, that an enterprise has in place, to deal with any unforeseen disruptions.
These disruptive events include a lot of possibilities, from a natural calamity and cyber assault to service failures or other security hazards. The purpose of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is to restore crucial business functions and to accomplish this feat with minimal interruption, disruption, or downtime.
In other words, a BCP helps enterprises make sure that their operations are up and running, even after a crisis has struck. It also ensures that the enterprise’s reputation, revenue, and long-term viability remain secure and resilient.
Key Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
A wide array of risks and disruptions can potentially harm the IT infrastructure of a business. This is the reason why the development of a BC plan becomes really vital. In the following points, we have highlighted some key benefits of formulating a BCP for businesses.
- BC teams run risk assessment tests so that businesses become aware of potential external threats and existing internal vulnerabilities in their IT environments.
- A BCP helps businesses quickly and efficiently respond and react to any disruptions, without wasting any time.
- BCPs also allow businesses to prioritize critical processes and systems and develop strategies to restore these elements, in an efficient manner.
- It reduces the probability of customers getting attracted to competitors, as enterprises continue to serve customers, with minimum downtime.
- A BCP demonstrates the business’s commitment to preparedness and stability, improving its reputation and building trust with key stakeholders.
Elements that make Business Continuity Plans (BCP) Successful
Staying optimistic about the future is generally an encouraged practice. However, today’s volatile market environments demand businesses be prepared for the worst. This starts with maximizing the resilience of their ITarchitecture through BCPs.
Read on to know more about the elements making a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) successful for your business.
1. A Well-Defined Team Structure
Often, an overlooked aspect of a BCP is to designate a clear decision-making hierarchy. Businesses should create a pool of potential leaders, as well as successors, in the event of an emergency. This way, everyone will know who is responsible to take charge of which operation, resulting in fast and effective decision-making.
2. Documentation of a Solid Contingency Plan
Businesses should develop an updated “game plan” to handle any emergency situation. It involves the following steps.
- Figure out all the disruptions that might potentially harm your business processes.
- Think about all the worst-case scenarios, and document a solution for each one of them.
- Identify the most mission-critical operations that must be secured on a priority basis.
- Assign specific tasks required to be performed by specific people. In addition, work on a backup plan, redirecting people if someone is unavailable.
- Make sure you have figured out your remote working options, in case employees cannot show up at work.
- Keep your BC plans updated to the best extent possible, and develop a mechanism for their periodic review.
3. Testing and Validation
It is one thing for a plan to look good on paper, and entirely another thing to successfully execute any such plan in reality. Businesses must test and validate their contingency plans through emergency simulations, safety drills and crisis communication strategies.
These test results must also be measured for continuous improvement. Some businesses make the lethal mistake of taking this step lightly, and it ends up costing them huge sums in their recovery efforts.
4. Develop a Strategy for Crisis Communication
It is vital for businesses to promptly communicate during an emergency situation. For this, they should establish a plan that utilizes both push and pull methods of notification. This plan should consider all relevant stakeholders, such as employees, regulators, contractors, clients, vendors, media, and executive management.
To ensure prompt and accurate transmission of information, it is recommended for organizations to have pre-written scripts. Businesses should ensure that these scripts can be easily updated and quickly disseminated.
5. Spread Awareness and Educate
The only way businesses can smoothly pass through the “turbulence” of cybersecurity disruptions is by cultivating an ingrained and forward-thinking culture. This will allow employees to be open to change, and adapt to the situation. Employees should be trained in ways to deal with an emergency situations.
Businesses can also seek the assistance of local and federal agencies, to gain additional insights on emergency response training and guidance. As mentioned earlier, businesses should try to familiarize their employees with emergency procedures by conducting regular drills.
Business Continuity Plan – The Implementation Phase
After the development and documentation of a plan, the next important step is its implementation. It all starts with Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and Risk Assessment (RA). RA involves figuring out the likelihood of an unpleasant event, be it internal or external, along with the damages associated with it.
BIA, on the other hand, deals with prioritizing mission-critical functions that must continue even during a crisis. It also identifies all the required resources to keep things up and running. Then comes the task to figure out the best possible response to limit damages.
A Businesses Continuity Plan (BCP) does not have to be excessively intricate or overly complicated. Instead, a “brief and crisp” document, containing just adequate information would suffice.
At present, almost every business has adopted innovative tools and technologies in its processes. However, a lot of them overlook the part where they create a plan to prepare for disruptions in these technologies. What’s more, a lack of ownership for BC initiatives, at the leadership level, often tends to land businesses in a huge mess, one that could have been easily avoided through Businesses Continuity Plans (BCP).
We say that no one can accurately predict the future, or forecast what businesses might exactly experience in a catastrophic event. However, having a BCP in place will guide enterprises about ways to handle adverse situations, and emerge even stronger than before.
Feel free to get in touch with ATSG, for highly secure managed IT services and intelligent technology solutions for your business. The robust Business Continuity (BC) posture of ATSG’s Cloud Computing services and solutions will help your enterprise stay “up and running”, in case of an unexpected event. Additionally, our Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions will greatly reduce unnecessary downtimes, and protect the critical data and applications of your enterprise.