Gap developing business continuity strategies

ISO is a global standard for business continuity planning requirements to help organizations protect themselves against disruptions. The most current version isSecurity and resilience - Business continuity management systems - Requirements.

The requirements in ISO address disruptive incidents that can be natural or human-made, widespread or local, intentional or unintentional, such as a snowstorm, a broken water main, an epidemic, a data breach, or a phishing attack. Large or small, for- and nonprofit organizations alike can use ISO The ISO standard can provide benefits for your business continuity planning, even if your organization chooses not to pursue certification, or the review process that confirms your business continuity system meets all ISO requirements.

That way, you know that your business continuity management practices are in better shape. The ISO document contains 10 sections, which introduce the standard and definitions, as well as actionable requirements of the standard. As with other ISO requirement documents, ISO describes only what organizations must do to reach minimum proficiency — it does not prescribe how to achieve these standards.

Each organization must consider its distinct conditions and obligations to find the best way to follow the requirements. Some of the following key terms and concepts originate with ISO, some with ISOand some with business continuity and risk management:. If teams are already overwhelmed with their workload, they may not like to think about disasters. Furthermore, organizations might think that ISO standards include difficult jargon and that pursuing a continuity plan adds unnecessary work.

However, management systems practitioners suggest that continuity preparations produce substantial gains. As an example of the benefits that risk analysis and preparation can yield, Nichols relates his experience of visiting a small northeastern town during a widespread winter power outage.

The whole town was closed, with the exception of one restaurant that had a generator. And that organization cleaned up financially because they were able to provide what the customers needed. Experts also assert that ISO can be a simple and effective continuity tool. Oh, that's way too formal. It's too much.

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It's overkill. However, the size of organization really doesn't matter. Some also hesitate at the thought of certification. Both Nichols and Rovers stress that certification is not necessary for every enterprise. From the spreadsheet, consider whether full ISO adoption and certification are too complicated for your organization.

Regardless of your decision, you can always use the spreadsheet to conduct a self-audit. The following image provides a small sample of the possible outcomes to business continuity management. Rovers describes management systems as follows:. It has these spinning wheels, these gears. In the case of an ISO standard, you're looking at a number of requirements to put that watch together with all these spinning wheels.

That watch is a coherent system. You take out one of those gears, and then the watch fails. And every requirement serves a distinct purpose otherwise, it would not be a requirement.

If you don't meet a particular requirement, the watch, so to speak, may not function as it could or should. These ISO requirements are not just there to keep you busy. Organizations can use ISO to test continuity procedures, review outcomes, and implement updates or fix problems in a continuous cycle that leads to an increasingly resilient business continuity system. ISO does not have a maturity model.

Or better said, your business continuity management practices are not mature. The business continuity management BCM lifecycle represents industry best practices and some of the core requirements of ISO These practices offer a solid foundation for resilience, while offering flexibility to adapt to changes in the organization.These and other disasters can force your organization to shut down for days, weeks or months.

An effective business continuity and disaster recovery plan, however, can help you mitigate physical and financial damage, and get you back on your feet quickly. We can help you identify and remediate gaps in your current plan, build a plan from scratch, test your policies and procedures, train your employees and keep your plan current as your organization changes over time.

In short, we can help you avoid the mistakes that organizations make when developing business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Our approach is based upon years of helping organizations both prepare for unforeseen disruptions and demonstrate this readiness to business partners. This model allows us to leverage existing recovery-related processes and documentation in order to help our clients expand their recovery capabilities.

gap developing business continuity strategies

We are able to effectively support all aspects of your BCP plan. BCP is a living process that must be updated to reflect technological and organizational changes. Do your disaster recovery IT capabilities align with the recovery requirements that your business units have identified?

For example, if your production department needs to be up and running 24 hours after an event occurs to avoid significant penalties under a major contract, your IT team must be able to deliver on this requirement.

RSM has helped many organizations develop or enhance business continuity and disaster recovery plans. We are familiar with leading practices and guidelines and have worked with clients in both regulated and unregulated industries to prepare for unexpected events by thorough planning, testing and training. As an aim to enhance data protection and resiliency capabilities of U. In response to threats that are focused on destruction as opposed to data exfiltration, the new Sheltered Harbor framework provides a solution for financial institutions to build resiliency against prolific, systematic attacks.

RSM has partnered with Sheltered Harbor to provide comprehensive advisory services to help institutions implement a Sheltered Harbor resiliency program.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

We welcome the opportunity to learn about your specific needs and define an approach that aligns best to your organizational objectives and risk appetite. Evolving regulations and requirements and capability improvements have increased the expectations of your business continuity plan. Evaluating a Business Continuity Plan requires a level of subjectivity that cannot be obtained from checklists alone. Learn more. The member firms of RSM International collaborate to provide services to global clients, but are separate and distinct legal entities that cannot obligate each other.

Each member firm is responsible only for its own acts and omissions, and not those of any other party. Visit rsmus. Coronavirus Tax Issues. Resources Risk Bulletin Technology Bulletin. Resources Newsletters.

A methodology for business continuity gap analysis

Resources Case Studies Events and Webcasts. Automotive Energy. Technology Media and Entertainment Telecommunications.Whether as a step towards ISO certification or as a means to improve the current business continuity management program, a gap analysis is an effective method of identifying areas of the BCMS needing attention. For many organizations, it is a constant challenge to meet the current year goals and objective for the business continuity management program.

There are a plethora of causes and symptoms, including:. But there is hope. A set of fresh eyes to perform a gap analysis of your BCM program can highlight non-conformities and provide direction on how to reasonably move forward to meet your goals. With these variables in mind, an experienced practitioner can determine the requirements for the program, enabling the right level of people, time, resources and deliverables to be assigned.

A necessary start to an assessment is to review all relevant documentation associated with the BCM program. Of course the possibilities are many. Austin Risk Consultants has a four-page detailed list of possibilities that is shared with clients.

Although this complete list is beyond the scope of this article, general categories are as follows:. New technology can enable some additional productivity in the review process. File-sharing services e. Activity is captured automatically and limited access to folders can be defined as needed. The most important material may only be viewed at the client location; for example, confidential information or documents with special security provisions e.

Also, records associated with operational activities e. Good practices include recording enough detail so the source material can be referenced, as needed, at a later date, so it is unlikely and probably unnecessary to make copies. Title, date, revision history and responsible party should be included with all notes to allow later verification of details, if necessary.

Experience shows that interviewing key personnel is the best way to obtain the necessary detail. This process needs to be well organized and structured. The size of the organization may dictate that more than one person may be necessary to conduct interviews and the number of operations, people and locations can make present challenges in the consistency of data collection.

It is helpful to use structured sets of questions associated with well-known standards and to use technology to help organize and report on the findings. As the complete tool covers all aspects of the Plan-Do-Check-Act international standard, there is assurance that the complete life cycle of the program has been reviewed.Once an organization has developed its business impact analysis BIA and its risk assessment, it has, according to ISOto determine an appropriate business continuity strategy BCS to be able to resume and recover prioritized activities, at a specified minimum acceptable level.

This has to be done taking into consideration the time within which the impacts of not resuming the activities would become unacceptable. An appropriate BCS demands the usage of a methodological approach and creative thinking.

In this article the author presents a methodology for developing an effective BCS and the managerial aspects which need to be considered to stimulate a creative thinking environment. The objective of this stage of the BCMS process is to develop a business continuity strategy that satisfies the business recovery requirements identified in the BIA stage.

The BCS is composed of a set of recovery options to be utilized as alternatives in the event that existing critical resources become unavailable. The business recovery requirements can generally be grouped into four recovery areas Hiles, :. Work areas: Arrange an alternate work area for the crisis management team Arrange an alternate office work area for staff. IT systems and infrastructure: Arrange an alternate facility for recovering IT systems Recover damaged systems.

This article will describe a framework for developing the BCS. The approach begins by identifying business recovery requirements and ends with a set of recovery options for the BCS. Within the framework, several recovery options are considered as possible solutions to address the recovery requirements. For example, in the area of IT systems and infrastructure, potential recovery options include a hot site, cold site, or warm site.

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These options generally have different recovery times, costs, and capabilities associated with them. Only those options that meet the recovery time requirements are selected for further assessment. The framework compares costs and capabilities of the selected options and determines the most appropriate and viable alternative. The final assessment consists of deciding which is the most appropriate recovery strategy. A formal, structured approach should be used for evaluating the pros and cons of the various potential strategies.

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A strategy selection scorecard is presented which can be used to help ensure a balanced evaluation. Phase A of the framework determines the recovery requirements to be addressed by the BCS. Phase B identifies possible options as solutions to the recovery requirements. Phase C eliminates those options that do not meet the recovery time requirements. With the remaining options, Phase D assesses their cost and capability trade-offs to select the most viable and effective option. Figure one, below, illustrates the four phases of the BCS development framework.

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This phase identifies the recovery requirements to be addressed by the BCS. Phase A consists of five steps as shown in figure one. Step 1 produces a list of recovery requirements to be addressed by the BCS. These requirements, which are primarily derived from the BIA, identify:.

Step 1 can also produce additional recovery requirements not included in the BIA. It can be located in an office work area or a hotel conference room. Steps 2 to 5 of this phase group the recovery requirements, identified in step 1, into different recovery areas. The most typical four common recovery areas are:.

The recovery requirements for each category area are further divided into different categories. Steps 2 to 5 produce detailed requirements for each category corresponding to their recovery area. The list below shows the recovery areas and requirement categories for steps 2 to 5. Recovery area: work areas Recovery requirement categories:. Recovery area: IT systems and infrastructure Recovery requirement categories:.

Recovery area: Manufacturing and production Recovery requirement categories:.Many business continuity professionals can attest to the tension that often occurs between the business and IT when it comes to recovery capabilities. For example, Company X recently implemented a business continuity program, including determining recovery time objectives RTOs for key business processes.

Like all well-established business continuity programs, the business impact analysis BIA considered the loss of technology and helped the company develop recommended recovery time and recovery point objectives for technology resources. The business documented and presented these RTOs to management following the initial BIA, but never followed up with IT to ensure that the capabilities could be met.

Both the business and IT feel confident in their work; yet, neither have communicated with the other.

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Given that the groups have not undergone a joint exercise or actual disruptionneither group is aware of the underlying gap: Recovery priorities and strategies are misaligned between the business and IT. This perspective analyzes the symptoms and root causes of the business continuity and IT disaster recovery gap and proposes solutions to close it.

In order to address this gap, organizations must first be able to identify it. Logically, a lack of communication between the groups is often the biggest indicator of this problem. In some organizational cultures, IT and the business are even told by management that they are not allowed to contact each other — a huge red flag!

5-Step Guide To Creating A Business Continuity Plan That Works

More often than not, if the business and IT are not directly communicating, expectations and capabilities are not adequately understood. Another symptom is a lack of integrated testing. Both groups typically perform testing at some level, but do so independently.

Test results are not shared across groups or escalated to a collective management body, which does not allow for the identification of gaps. On the surface, this gap may seem easy to address just communicate! However, when analyzed further, the root causes point to issues that may be more difficult to tackle. Data is collected separately by IT and the business. During the business impact analysis, business process owners determine recovery time objectives for applications that are critical for their department to function.

IT management often selects which applications are the most important using other methods and criteria, such as the number of users accessing the system or type of information supported by the application. These methods often do not consider the impact to business process areas or internal department dependencies. Misalignment typically stems from management determining recovery expectations in silos with little input from other groups, while miscommunication typically results from a central body determining expectations but delivering the message in silos.

Additionally, the two groups often rely on separate program performance metrics, which makes it extremely difficult to align expectations and identify gaps.

Groups adopt different languages when talking about the same topic. The business and IT may use different names for applications and systems or have different definitions of recovery time objectives, which also makes it difficult to align expectations. Many times, the business believes they are clearly communicating objectives and IT thinks they are communicating recovery capabilities in an effective manner.

More often than not, both groups leave the meeting thinking the other understands the message, while no actual consensus was made. Groups become defensive in fear of appearing to have made the wrong strategy decisions.

Recovery capabilities are often moving targets; as the organization changes, business requirements change. A lack of communication leads to a lack of preparedness. When IT and the business do not share requirements and capabilities, applications may not be prioritized in a way that meets business expectations, which could lead to missed recovery objectives. Business process areas may rely on systems that are not even in scope for IT DR and lack adequate workarounds that could have been developed if capabilities were clearly communicated.To stay prepared, organizations must expect the unexpected.

Business Continuity Planning BCP addresses the need to have contingency plans in place to deal with potential threats that can turn an organization on its head. As a risk manager, CEO, or any party responsible for the long-term success of an organization, you need to have a plan in place to clearly outline what you would do if the worst were to happen tomorrow.

Here are four phases to putting your BCP in place. For example, a company in the finance industry may consider the role of the stock market, data breaches, or the possibility of a fraud scandal. The BIA helps you discern which processes are the most critical to recover or initiate in a state of a disaster and assigns a monetary value to the protection of assets involved in specific business processes. Upon identifying the impact of the risks facing various functions across your business, the next step is to determine the potential magnitude of these risks.

This is a critical assessment to perform, as it helps establish which risks should be most emphasized in the BCP. With knowledge of these gaps, you can analyze various threats to identify their respective impact. To aid in this process, it is helpful to work from a list of potential emergencies or viable threats as well as the likelihood and impact of such events such as to personnel, assets, or monetary impact.

These can help formulate different scenarios to plan for, such as natural disasters or terrorist threats, as well as minor events such a power outage. During this step, the BCP is developed, taking into account the likelihood, magnitude, and potential impact of the risks that were identified in the previous step.

The BCP preparation stage will take it a step further by documenting strategies and procedures to maintain, recover, and resume critical business functions as quickly as possible. Part of this preparation will entail a list of procedures to address priorities for critical and non-critical functions, services, and processes. During this final step, key staff members and management will come together to simulate their response to various emergency situations that were identified as likely risks.

Using the procedures outline in the BCP, these exercises will identify gaps in the plans to improve them in a controlled setting.

ISO 22301:2019 Business Continuity Management System

This process can also help establish the different roles and responsibilities across team members. When it comes to risk mitigation, hope for the best but plan for the worst. Take your risk planning to the next level by getting started with your Business Continuity Plan. Talk to a risk mitigation expert today. Toggle navigation.A business continuity plan BCP will give you the best shot at success after an unanticipated event.

Learn how you can create a BCP for your organization with this step-by-step guide to create a reliable plan that works. With a little creativity, dedication and planning, your organization will be on its way to a safer future in no time.

The main goal of a BCP is to protect personnel and assets, both during and after an emergency. An emergency situation is an event where business cannot proceed under normal circumstances. This could consist of a natural event, like a fire, flood or tornado, but could also consist of scenarios such as a power outage, bomb threat, compliance breach, intruder or active shooter, cyberattack, employee injury, or a change in the chain of command.

No matter the situation, businesses should review potential threats and devise a BCP to ensure that operations proceed should a threat become reality. Business continuity plans are complex and differ from company to company. Here are some general examples of what a BCP may include:. Business continuity plans are an important part of any business.

Threats, disruptions, and disasters can lead to a loss in revenue and higher costs, which in turn can affect profitability. If your organization does not yet have an effective business continuity plan, now is the time to create one. The effort involved is well worth your time and will give your company the best chance at survival after an unexpected event. Here are the five steps involved in establishing a basic business continuity plan for your organization.

The makeup of your team is dependent upon the size of your company and how you plan to roll out the program. At a minimum, your business continuity team should include a manager, assistant manager, and administrative assistant from each department.

These individuals will prepare standards for the project, train additional team members, and identify processes to make the project flow smoother. Every organization is different, but in general, your business continuity team should have at least one representative from each department.

Once your team is assembled, the second step of business continuity planning is understanding the operational, financial, and physical risks to your company should a disruption occur. At its core, an impact analysis helps organizations identify specific risks and threats to operations, financial performance, reputation, employees, and supply chains.

A BIA is a great starting point for risk identification and assessment. Have your team brainstorm a list of risks and threats to your business. By now, your business continuity team has conducted an impact analysis, which identified and documented potential risks to your company in the wake of disaster. Your analysis may have revealed discrepancies between the resources you have and the resources you still need. It also reveals recovery options and agreed-upon strategies. Knowing risks to your organization is important, but knowing how to react and recover is essential to bouncing back after an unanticipated event.

Step four of business continuity planning does just this; it identifies recovery strategies for your business and describes how to implement them.

Once your business is impacted and financial losses begin to grow, it can be difficult to recover without a plan. To illustrate, discuss the following question samples with your team:.

gap developing business continuity strategies

Concerns such as these will be addressed in your business continuity plan. For each disaster scenario compiled in your business impact analysis, discuss any questions and concerns you may have regarding the circumstance. Accurate floor plans and building data are crucial elements of business continuity planning. This information must be shared with local emergency personnel so they know how and where to access your building during a crisis.

The good news is that a data collection service and location-based space and asset mapping software work in tandem to deliver the following.

A data collection provider will expedite the implementation process by using cutting-edge technology to ensure accuracy and efficiency.

Step 5: Test results, present recommendations, and make improvements.

gap developing business continuity strategies

Rather, they change and adapt as the business grows. The subject of business continuity is expansive.