Business continuity management (BCM) encompasses preventing and recovering from adverse events and is essential for operational resilience.
The pandemic and Cisco’s recent ransomware attack and data breach are constant reminders of BCM’s role as the sentry of operations. The goal should be to consider what disruptive scenarios could occur and detect or prevent them from happening. And if there is a disruption, the BCM program also needs a plan to restore operations quickly.
For BCM to foster business resilience, especially given the operational reliance on digital and the hyper threat from cyberspace, you need modern technology that can map critical processes to interdependent assets, vendors, and other processes. That way, BCM can identify threats earlier and keep critical operations from being disrupted. The best BCM program tests likely event scenarios, continuously monitors for warning signs, coordinates response actions among stakeholders, as well as prioritizes plan changes and improvements.
Strategies for business continuity planning
There is more to business continuity planning than having the right technology. Successful BCM leaders ensure everyone is aligned with company objectives, which is essential for operational resiliency. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Does your BCM goal align directly with the company’s mission and values?
- Do cross-functional teams understand the objectives and goals of the organization? Do they recognize the interconnectedness required?
- Can your BCM program demonstrate value by quantifying ROI?
- Does your BCM team understand the objectives and key results senior management use in decision-making?
- Are you aware of the top issues the C-suite is wrestling with?
- Do you report scenario results and present metrics to showcase accountability?
A new framework for operational resilience
With operational resiliency as the goal, BCM leaders can focus on the drivers. In fact, the European Union (EU)’s Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) proposes mandating that all participants in the EU’s financial system have safeguards to mitigate cyber-attacks and other risks.
Business continuity planning starts and ends on its ability to prevent disruptions and restore services fast. How quickly should services be restored after an adverse event? By setting a tolerance level for outage time, business continuity can deliver on expectations. By applying a customer-centric approach, you can prioritize restoration that serves your internal customers’ best interests.
It’s best practice to test business continuity plans regularly and involve management in the reporting and signoffs. By carrying out test scenarios for likely disruptions, the BCM team can prioritize areas of improvement. Results and plans shared with stakeholders emphasize the importance of business continuity to the organization and contribute to operational resilience.
Enlist business continuity technology
Strategies and frameworks for business continuity management and operational resilience make sense on paper. In practice, digital technologies breathe life into BCM programs. Here are four things to keep in mind as you consider your technology options.
- Ensure technology can accommodate a cross-functional response team. Critical processes are supported by facilities’ IT assets, key personnel, third parties, and other processes. You’ll want a coordinated effort that incorporates the work of different risk area teams, including operations, information technology and cybersecurity, regulatory compliance risk, and third-party & vendor risk. A cross-functional team ensures that disruptions are managed holistically.
- Require a cloud-based option for storing a business continuity plan that also offers collaborative planning. With the trend toward remote work, stakeholders in far-flung places, and the fact that business continuity plans documented in binders can be destroyed in a crisis or become dated, reliance on the cloud is imperative.
- Demand tools that ease integration with your enterprise ecosystem.Your critical infrastructure relies on a bevy of tools for human resources, finance, operations, communication, collaboration, commerce, marketing, sales, and project management. Business continuity technology that emphasizes integration with tried/true processes will ensure deeper visibility into the enterprise when disruptions occur.
- Look for business continuity technology that excels at managing digital risk.Cyber threats are growing more frequent and more sophisticated. A cyber incident has an impact beyond disruption, but also reputational damage if sensitive data is leaked. Your cybersecurity risk program needs capabilities beyond compliance and onto extended detection and response. Still, you may encounter obstacles. In this case, download our Operational Resilience Handbook, which addresses the top five obstacles.
Scenarios and threats teach. BCM programs learn
Every scenario and threat of disruption provides opportunities for BCM program improvement. A resilience program constantly adapts to new threats and updates response procedures. Technology plays a critical role in facilitating processes like escalation paths, performance against recovery time objectives and incident responses. Managing the BCM program within a cloud-based platform designed for business continuity planning is the key to operational resilience, enabling the business to thrive, even when facing disruptions.