These Should Be The Key Steps In Your Business Continuity Management Cycle
Strong business continuity management helps ensure that your company will keep functioning even when hit with a serious IT disaster. Businesses frequently name cyber attacks as a top threat, but there are other potential disasters as well, including IT infrastructure malfunctions and employee error and negligence.
How do you keep your business running under such circumstances? Consider how different steps of the business continuity management cycle come together to give you resilience against attacks:
Coming up with a coherent plan. Develop your business continuity plan based on the specific needs of your company and its key functions, the details of your IT-step, and the likelihood of various risks you face. The plan requires active involvement from your company’s management and should extend to partners and vendors; employee training is also an important part of it, with employees assigned specific responsibilities during disasters. Make sure to check that your plan works; for example, if part of your plan involves restoring data backups, does the restoration process go as expected, or is it slower and more inconsistent than you can afford?
Maintaining channels of communication. Before any disaster strikes, you’ll need to prepare channels of reliable communication between employees and between your company and individuals and organizations outside of it (ranging from customers to first responders to business partners). What kinds of messages will you send, and when? If your email system is down, can you rely on texts? Consider all possibilities.
Initiating a response. Once a disaster has struck, your plan should specify how your company reacts. This will depend on the nature of the disaster. For example, a physical disaster such as a violent weather phenomenon could prompt an evacuation, with employees ultimately working from outside your office to keep your business running. Your business continuity plan should specify responsibilities, so that there isn’t confusion about who needs to handle what.
Ensuring recovery. If a disaster has knocked your internet out, sent malware rampaging through your systems, or damaged your office equipment, what are the steps you need to take for recovery? At this point, you’d be retrieving or restoring data backups, for instance, or switching to backup systems. Disasters vary in the kind of recovery they require.
Resuming business. After the response and recovery, you should be at a point where you can function as a business, particularly when it comes to your most critical applications and services. This is also an opportunity to look back and see how your preparation and response could have been stronger; you can then make the appropriate changes to your business continuity plan.
Business continuity management encompasses this whole process; it’s vital, if you want to avoid prolonged downtime and permanent destruction of data following a disaster.
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