Business continuity management–preparing for an unpredictable future

Column box-Integrity Initiative

Being deeply involved in data management and data privacy protection, it is my pleasure to share information provided by Straits Interactive and its DPEX Network on the above subject.

We need to realize that regardless of the size of the organization, unforeseen incidents can have massive implications. From the loss of revenue to damaged brand reputation, the consequences can be potentially catastrophic, especially if the business is unprepared.

Business continuity management (BCM) is an essential component of any business that wishes to continue its operations in the face of a disaster. At its core, BCM is about creating and maintaining a plan that allows the business to continue business processes even if some or all its resources are lost for an extended time. To avert disaster and ensure business survival, it is critical to understand the full scope of risks at every level in the organization.

What exactly is BCM?

BCM is a process that identifies potential threats to an organization, their impact on business operations and creating plans to mitigate these risks. These threats might cause a negative impact on the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand, and value-creating activities. BCM provides a framework for building organizational resilience and effective response that safeguards an organization’s interests. It integrates the disciplines of emergency response, crisis management and disaster recovery to ensure business continuity.

Data protection laws and business continuity

With the implementation of data protection laws such as the European Union’s GDPR, the Philippines’ Data Protection Act and Singapore’s PDPA, it may be required for organizations to report data breaches depending on the jurisdiction that it operates in. Also, the fines for breaches will depend in part on the effectiveness of the company’s response to the breaches.

Thus, it is vital for the business continuity plan to be in sync with the organization’s breach response plan since the breach will inevitably have an impact on operations. For Data Protection Officers (DPO), disaster preparedness and incident response are vital responsibilities.

What does a business continuity plan include?

The main aspects and good practices of a continuity plan include:

Identification and analysis of potential threats—The first step in developing a plan is to identify potential threats and develop a suitable strategy to mitigate them.

Management’s commitment—It is vital for the organization’s management to be committed to managing business continuity and appoint appropriate personnel with the designated power and create the business continuity plan and policy.

BCM team—It is necessary for roles and responsibilities to be established in the BCM team so that people are aware of what they need to do in the event of a disaster.

Plans to address and mitigate the risks—The organization should determine and provide the resources needed for the establishment, implementation, maintenance, and continual improvement of the BCMs. When planning, it is also essential to factor effective crisis communication to internal employees as well. Employees are deeply involved in the data processes in an organization and therefore need to be specially trained. It is essential to realize that many data breaches are “created” by people in operations.

Business Impact Analysis (BIA)—The BIA predicts the consequences of disruption of a business function and process and gathers information needed to develop recovery strategies. It also quantifies the impacts of disruptions on service delivery, risks to service delivery, recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs). These recovery requirements are then used to develop strategies, solutions, and plans.

Recovery procedures—At this stage, the organization should identify and select business continuity strategies and solutions that help to mitigate the risks identified earlier. The organization should implement and maintain a response structure that will enable timely warning and communication to relevant interested parties and provide plans and procedures to manage the organization during a disruption.

After the plan has been developed, it is vital for the organization to evaluate it through internal audits, management reviews, and so forth. After identifying gaps and areas that need more support, it is necessary to improve the plan accordingly.

With the rapidly changing world that we live in, BCM is an integral part of any organization that wants to survive through periods of change or disruption.

In conclusion, allow me to reiterate that employees are the company’s biggest risk and greatest assets as many data breaches happen in operations. This means that a major component in BCM must be the training of employees and providing the data protection management with automation processes.

Extensive training for employees is readily available. Excellent automation of data processes for Data Protection Officers is available from Straits Interactive (DPOinBox) too. Let me know whether you need assistance.

Feedback and requests for support can be directed to hjschumacher59@gmail.com

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