What is Business Continuity Planning?
Earlier business continuity plan were-a-nice to have literature. The sophisticated document helped organizations portray their preparedness and impress clients. In the contemporary landscape, the business continuity plan is a necessity. A cyber-attack robs businesses of funds and data but the worst it can do is rob them of an opportunity to rise again. While 93% of companies that suffer data breach go out of business within 1 year, 96% of companies survived ransomware attacks because they had trusted backups.
A business continuity plan is a series of steps to follow after a disaster occurs. Earlier, BCP was limited to natural disasters, man-made disasters, utility failures, and intentional sabotage, but in the modern days, it includes events like a data breach, cyber-attacks, and hardware failure.
As a significant component of risk management, BCP identifies and classifies internal, external threats along with processes that need to be applied in case of an attack. The process also inculcates the responsibility of ensuring an organization’s competitive edge after the mishap. Ensuring smooth and swift restoration is perhaps the biggest concern of Business Continuity Planning.
Why Business Continuity Planning Matters?
A comprehensive Business Continuity Plan not only safeguards a company from going bust but also saves a startling amount of time and money. The continuity plan can also double as a pivotal paradigm for businesses that are suffering loss and needs to cut cost.
Apart from clearly mentioning succession roles, individual responsibilities, and resource management, the plan also urges enterprises to create and safeguard multiple backups of data. Business Continuity Planning is better than insurance because it covers the damages and also offers a second chance.
A business continuity plan is comprehensive in nature and includes everything from a plan for data restoration to the roles and responsibilities of every individual in case of an attack or calamity.
How to Create an Effective Business Continuity Plan?
Creating a continuity plan can be troublesome if you don’t know the business inside out. The planner must spend sumptuous time understanding the processes, revenue model, important functionalities, security details and external controls of the company’s hardware.
One must pay heed to these six steps when creating a continuity plan:
- Identify the purview of the plan.
- Label the significant business arenas.
- Traverse and discover business-critical functionalities.
- Identify dependencies if any. Internal and external dependencies, both are important.
- Calculate downtime in the relevance of business and profitability.
- Devise a plan to get the system up and running.
The importance of testing your Business Continuity Planning
It will be foolish to wait for an attack to check whether the BCP is viable or not. Testing BCP in advance can answer a lot of questions. By testing the plan on varied metrics, organizations can strengthen it further. When the system is attacked under a controlled environment and contingency plan is applied, the loopholes and vulnerabilities will reveal themselves.
Some of the other reasons why you should test your BCP rigorously are:
- Individuals with responsibility will gain firsthand experience in handling crises.
- Details that were left out can be identified.
- Businesses can discover areas that require attention but initially was missing in the plan.
Some of the common practices used to test BCP are:
A table-top exercise: The team collectively looks at the plan and discusses the possible loopholes and vulnerability. Possibly the first step towards strengthening the continuity plan, table-top exercise collects suggestions and criticism of important stakeholders.
A structured walk-through: Individuals with responsibilities are expected to traverse their area and look for missing pieces. When individuals cover their area and submit suggestions, the continuity plan grows stronger.
Disaster Simulation Testing: A fake environment is created where the system is attacked mildly. Once the attack is under process, the individuals are expected to perform their duties. The system fall is monitored, the potential loss is calculated and improvements are suggested. All individuals submit a report, which includes hurdles they faced while taking the system back online.
What is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster Recovery is a significant part of Business Continuity Planning. The area disaster recovery concerns are taking the mission-critical functions as soon as possible after an attack.
The nature of attack can be a natural, man-made, hardware failure or external attack, disaster recovery will function in a defined manner and will ensure that all-important functions are taken online immediately.
Since Disaster Recovery is responsible for ensuring that the company’s responsibility is fulfilled under all circumstances, they may have a physical as well as an online site for restoration.
What makes Disaster Recovery so Important?
In contemporary times no enterprise is safe from cyber-attacks hence employing disaster recovery makes. Some of the important components of disaster recovery are RPO and RTO.
Recovery Point Objective: RPO can be defined as the maximum age of a process or data that a company must store in backup to ensure normal functioning. RPO is also commonly referred to as the minimum frequency of backup a company must store.
Recovery Time Objective: It is the maximum time an organization can wait to recover files and resume normal functionality. Once the recovery time objective is over, enterprises cannot recover files. RTO is commonly referred to as the maximum downtime a company can afford. If a company’s downtime goes past its RTO, it will start losing business and start incurring a loss.
How is Disaster Recovery different from Business Continuity Planning?
Both Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery are important for the business. It is tough for businesses to resume their processes and get back to normal after a disaster or an attack with BCP and DR.
While business continuity planning looks over the human resource, business process, revenue generation and business reputation part, disaster recovery ensures proper protection, management, and redemption of data. The disaster recovery department is responsible for maintaining backups and deploying them within RTO after an attack or disaster.
23%of businesses never test their business continuity plan and almost 93% of them go bust within one year of suffering disaster or cyber-attack. With cloud storage becoming popular among enterprises, businesses have found a new way of safeguarding themselves against natural disasters but the threats from cyber-attack are still prevalent.
The technological advancements promise a safe functioning blanket but some challenges are still at large. Businesses must establish a BCP and ensure that the team is working diligently to protect all data under all circumstances.
Any business that invests wisely in BCP and DR will suffer loss but in the long run, they will acquire their lost momentum and make for all the losses.