Cyber-attacks can happen when least expected, causing work disruption, data breach or worse, data loss. In order to reduce the damaging and costly effects of data loss, it is important for companies to have a business continuity plan in place.
What is Business Continuity Management?
Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a series of processes that guides an organization in identifying business risks, determining solutions for such risks, implementing a plan and measuring its effectiveness. A BCM plan will help an organization anticipate, prepare for, respond, and adapt should an unexpected event that causes disruption, data breach and/or loss occurs. An IT consulting firm offering BCM services and solutions can assist a company in creating its BCM plan.
What are the Steps in Creating a BCM Plan?
A sound BCM plan will help a company avoid unforeseen threats. If threats do occur, causing disruption and/or data loss, business continuity and disaster recovery measures will guide the company on how to recover data and continue its operations. Here are the key steps in BCM planning:
Management Support and Ownership
Securing the executive management team’s approval and support is the first and most important step in building a BCM plan. Without management support, it will be difficult to implement a BCM plan, no matter how carefully designed it is. The company should form a committee composed of representatives from the company, including the management team, who will be involved in budget approval, data analysis, and the creation and approval of policies and procedures. This step also involves the formation of a crisis management and disaster recovery response team who will carry out the BCM plan.
Risks Identification and Impact Analysis
The next step in BCM planning is determining potential risks and threats that may impact the business. Risks and threats must be categorized according to urgency and importance. Once all possible risks have been identified, the corresponding solutions for each risk must be determined. The business impact of each risk should also be established in order to allocate the necessary resources for each risk.
BCM Plan Design
The risks that have been identified and the solutions determined for each risk are critical in the development of the BCM plan. The BCM plan should include the following:
- Comprehensive set of policies and guidelines
- Members of the Crisis Management and Disaster Recovery Response and their specific roles
- Response, Recovery and Restoration activities and the required resources for each activity
The BCM plan should be aligned with the company’s IT infrastructure to determine how continuity and recovery will be achieved using the existing technology or if new software is needed.
BCM Plan Training and Testing
Once the BCM plan is developed, it should be communicated to the employees. Training should be conducted so employees will become more familiar with their responsibilities. Simulations should be done in order to measure response times and determine any improvement in the plan.
A BCM plan is an ongoing cycle. As technology continues to progress and business directions shift over time, an organization should regularly review its BCM plan to determine whether there is a need for changes or updates.