Your guide to business continuity planning for the new year

Your guide to business continuity planning for the new year

If, like many of us, you’re unable to stick to our New Year’s resolutions, then you’ll certainly want to make an exception for your business. January’s a great time to start rethinking your technology strategy for a fresh approach to dealing with the challenges ahead and a stronger competitive edge than last year.

Business continuity is often considered a necessary evil at best and an unnecessary overhead at worst. Given the amount of human resources and time it takes to build a robust plan, it’s often assumed that business continuity planning only detracts from your bottom line. That’s exactly the sort of attitude that sees businesses closing their doors for good following a disastrous event.

Faced with constant change in the technology landscape, business leaders are finding themselves under increasing pressure to take a proactive approach, and that means preparing for the worst, no matter how rosy everything might look now. Every company needs business continuity planning to do exactly that.

Rethink your business impact analysis

Every business continuity process starts with a business impact analysis (BIA) that identifies mission-critical functions and quantifies the financial and operational impact of losing one of those functions. This is a crucial stage of the planning process, and you simply can’t have an effective business continuity plan without a BIA.

Assuming you already have a BIA, now would be a good time to update it. After all, an old BIA that was drawn up when your technology and operational infrastructure looked completely different is practically worthless. And even when you think you didn’t implement any drastic alterations to your systems, there’s always a chance of missing things like small process updates that can have far-reaching effects. If you’ve made small to significant changes to your processes or systems, then it’s time to update your BIA. As tedious as it might be, the future of your business could end up depending on it.

Performing a BIA should be done with full support from senior management since this will help you achieve your goals without compromise. Furthermore, you should review your findings with other members of your team to ensure your findings are correct. Finally, consider using the new ISO 22317 standard as the basis of your BIA.

Evaluate, test, and optimize

You don't publish a business continuity plan only to hide it in a filing cabinet forevermore. Rather, it’s a dynamic plan that clearly explains the countermeasures to keep important business functions running during and after disruptive events, such as data breaches, natural disasters, or systems failures.

Because of its complexity and importance, your plan needs to be evaluated and tested regularly. It will only be effective if people understand and know how to follow it. To simplify the process, consider organizing and grouping your technology infrastructure by function, such as data protection, networking, and storage.

After evaluating each individual system for potential vulnerabilities and likely impacts, be sure to test them thoroughly. Map out possible scenarios so you can answer important questions such as “What if the power fails?”, “What if this machine gets infected by ransomware?”, or “What if our email server crashes?”

Ultimately, when making your plan, you need to consider both your objectives and the risks involved. For the most part, it’s a team effort that requires all relevant parties to understand their roles and responsibilities and to proactively guard against the threats facing your business. That way, you’ll be better prepared to mitigate the impact of an unexpected event.

From cyberattacks to natural catastrophes and human error, disasters are inevitable and out of your control. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t control the outcome of a disaster. That’s where Founders Technology Group comes in. Call us today if you want to create or update your business continuity plan for 2019.