It’s Business Continuity Awareness Week! According to the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), this week “is an annual global event that is facilitated by the BCI and is a key vehicle to raising the awareness of the profession and demonstrating the value effective business continuity management can have to organizations of all types and sizes.” In honor of the week, we’ve put together a list of business continuity best practices and risks to look out for.
Business Continuity Best Practices:
Map Out Your Business Continuity Risk Profile
It behooves you to have an awareness of your organization’s risk profile. In knowing the possible threats to your business, such as ransomware, you will be able to better plan for a potential disaster. In addition to this, it’s helpful to have an idea of how long your business can withstand system downtime. An understanding of external and internal threats can also assist in determining which systems are the most critical to your organization. Consider using this information to identify which data and systems should be recovered first in the event of a disaster. Divide the systems and data into tiers based on the priority of recovery.
Make Use of Automation
Using automation is also an approach that is growing in popularity in order for organizations to streamline processes more easily. Workload automation is a method which enables IT teams to have more time to focus on more pressing issues. Additionally, automation reduces the risk of human error, as employees are removed from the process. Because of this, remote data and power centers are useful for effective business continuity plans. However, employers and employees must have the ability to access the remote facilities for this strategy to be successful. During a severe disaster, remote data centers can become inaccessible, so it is essential that employees have the ability to get to them in order for them to remain effective.
However, implementing automation can be complicated initially, and therefore, it would be best to start with non-business critical systems. This way, you’ll be able to fix any issues before implementing on a full scale. Test these processes often to ensure that they’ll work if an actual disaster were to occur.
Examine Your Recovery Point Objectives
Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) should also be examined in order to determine which are business-critical. It’s likely that each RPO won’t be the same across every area of your organization. For example, in audits, it’s possible that you’ll need to store data going back years, whereas data in other fields that is only a few hours old could have little value. It’s critical to be able to restore the correct data when your organization is back to normal, which goes further than simply how long it takes to fully recover. Because of this, it’s necessary to align your RPOs with your operational needs in order to avoid potential financial losses.
Explore Emerging Technologies
Explore up and coming technologies to deploy the best plans possible. For example, in the past, if you used Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), you would need to start your virtual machine in the cloud manually, which can be an expensive process. However, today users can access the cloud and begin the failover process automatically. As DRaaS has improved, so have Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs). This creates a use case for protecting near-transactional and transactional databases. With new technological developments in DRaaS software, RPOs and RTOs can be as low as minutes and be easy to deploy, making for simpler recovery.
Business Continuity Risks:
Cyber attacks have the potential to ruin a business, so it makes sense that so many companies are concerned about becoming victims of cybercrime. Denial-of-service attacks, phishing, and viruses are the main cyber attack concerns of organizations. According to the BCI, cyber attacks and cybersecurity threats had the largest number of responses in their survey determining the business continuity concerns of organizations.
Though easily confused with cyber attacks, security incidents refer to physical security breaches. These can include vandalism to a building and its facilities, unauthorized building access, civil disturbances, and fraud. Because they are physical attacks, security incidents pose a different kind of business continuity threat than a cyber attack and should be dealt with accordingly.
Utility Supply and Supply Chain Disruptions
The risk of an interruption to utility supply is especially high. Particularly during hurricane season, it’s more likely that a loss of electrical service will occur, which concerns businesses. Backup power systems such as natural gas generators or batteries are a prominent strategy for handling these kinds of outages. As well as this, you should consider alternative utilities such as gas, water, or steam to combat possible disruptions.
Additionally, any damage to a company’s supply chain is a big concern. An important part of business continuity is the continuity of the supply chain itself. This is because it has a significant impact on the company in many ways. Organizations that offer services via the internet that have no manufacturing activities also need working internet in order to move their services.
Fires may not be the first thing anyone thinks of when they picture a business continuity threat, but they do happen occasionally. To defend against this possibility, be sure to have easy access to fully charged fire extinguishers. Mark their locations with signs as a means to make them easier to find. Additionally, implement fire detection and suppression systems as required by local building codes.
Keeping your corporate data safe is a necessity in order to stay afloat. The reality that a disaster could occur cannot be ignored. Therefore, you must keep your organization safe by preparing for any potential damage. This year, for Business Continuity Awareness Week, revisit your business continuity plan to make sure it’s up to date and in working order. To learn more about Business Continuity Awareness Week, visit the BCI’s website here.
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