Continual Evolution of Business Continuity
Continual Evolution of Business Continuity Whether you’re preparing for winter weather impacts, pandemic response, or any other interruption to business as usual, remember that it all starts with a solid plan.
When building your business continuity plan, take note of the different resources you’ll require to continue serving your customers and keep the business running – through technology like business continuity management software.
Examples of these resources include internet connection or technology, access to a facility or office, equipment, or supplies – what does each department or business function require, and how will you access these during a disruption?
Once you have a written business continuity plan, you’ll need to test that plan to make sure it does what you want it to do during a disruption. In other words, can you continue operating and serving customers?
In order to test, you’ll need to involve your people – are they ready, prepared, and trained on how to respond? Think about how you’ll communicate instructions, roles, responsibilities, and information to your employees and staff.
While testing your plans, you may uncover gaps or areas for improvement – be sure to document your findings so you can address them. And lastly, be sure to incorporate lessons learned from tests or real-life business interruptions into your plans for next year.
Gartner defines business continuity management program (BCMP) solutions as “the key tools used to manage business continuity management (BCM) programs. They provide risk assessment, business impact analysis, business process, vendor and
IT dependency mapping, and plan management functionality. Some products also offer plan exercising capability, resource modeling capability, and crisis/incident management ‘lite’ support.”
Forrester defines BCM software as “Tools used to create, maintain, test, communicate, and execute more structured, current, collaborative, and actionable business continuity plans.”
Why Do You Need Business Continuity Management Software?
Today, there are more threats to business than ever before that are happening more frequently and are more widespread. COVID-19 may dominate the conversation, but that doesn’t mean all other incidents stop; in fact, there has been an increase in interruptions like cyberattacks, severe weather, IT outages, and supply chain disruptions.
Incidents oftentimes have multiple impacts happening at once or one event triggering another. For example, in spring 2021, Texas faced ice storms that resulted in no heat or internet, which compounded the disaster.
Most disasters are dynamic and change over time. Because of globalization, the effects can be far-reaching. As a result, an organization’s response needs to be able to change course quickly and continuity plans need to be just as dynamic.
These incidents, on top of the pandemic, show the need to plan and exercise for disasters of different lengths, such as plans for less than a week, a month, multiple months, or even longer-term recoveries.
With different disasters, scenarios, and impacts come many types of plans to create, manage, exercise, and maintain, which will likely be owned by different people or departments within a single organization.
In today’s business environment, customer expectations are high. Digital business means business is 24/7. Data security laws and cybersecurity threats have necessitated additional planning needs, such as making cyberattack planning part of BCM.
Here is a diagram of the areas within BCM software you will need to populate for your program. There are a lot of different activities and inputs, which may seem daunting: