Smart companies along the U.S. southern coasts are testing their business continuity and disaster recovery plans in preparation for the upcoming storm season. For those who have outgrown their plans or struggle with outdated procedures, refining the plan is a top priority.
Companies invest time, money and resources to create solid business continuity plans in order to ensure speedy disaster recovery and enhanced information security. The planning process is a significant project requiring risk assessment, in-depth interviews with key employees, evaluation of business processes and technologies, backup and recovery strategies, and testing of the plan.
What happens when the plan is solid and ready to go? Don’t just put in on a shelf. Make the information gathered in the continuity planning process readily available, as a business guide. This information provides insights into the inner workings of day-to-day processes, which gives you a magnifying glass over each business function.
Three Ways to Leverage Your Business Continuity Plan
STRENGTHEN INFORMATION SECURTIY
During the continuity planning process, executives become aware of which employees hold the keys to certain information. Some discover that too many people have access to restricted data and proactively initiate steps to tighten information security.
Conversely, some realize that only one person manages payroll, contracts or authorization of banking procedures, which prompts them to take actions to ensure these financial capabilities are backed-up. The plan provides you with a high-level view of your infrastructure, allowing you to recognize potential technology risks, track incidents more effectively, monitor assets and enhance control of vendors.
PREPARE FOR MORE THAN NATURAL DISASTERS
Don’t limit your continuity plan to addressing only natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Data breach, power failures, network outages, disgruntled employees, computer viruses and software bugs should all be accounted for in the plan.
Data breach is the first concern regarding information security. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the total average cost of a data breach is $6.3 million, but can range from $225,000 to $35 million. Lost business due to interruptions in productivity accounts for more than 65% of the cost.
REDUCE BUSINESS RISK
Review the risk assessment performed at the onset of continuity planning. It gives you information about significant circumstances that could impact your company’s ability to meet strategic business goals. This knowledge allows you to evaluate the significance of such an event, and then prioritize based on the likelihood of its occurrence.
Consider issues regarding environmental compliance, safety regulations, business interruptions, financial inconsistencies and lacking IT infrastructure.