Business continuity planning is not just about overcoming disruption. It’s about ensuring that your organization can continue providing products and services to customers during an unexpected event.
In this article, you will learn why business continuity is vital for your business, the key components of a business continuity plan, and how you can use GRC tools to achieve resiliency.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What is business continuity? The foundations
- Why is business continuity important for your business
- What is business continuity planning? (key components)
- Developing a business continuity plan with GRC
- Advantages of using StandardFusion’s GRC software
- Key takeaways
What is Business Continuity? The foundations
We can begin with a short, formal definition. According to ISO 22300, Business Continuity is the capability of an organization to continue the delivery of products and services within acceptable timeframes at predefined capacity during a disruption.
Let’s simplify this.
We can analyze this definition from a company’s perspective so you can better understand what business continuity is and how to approach it.
The first step would be defining what is absolutely important for your company to operate and deliver its services. In order to do that, a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) can help you evaluate the impact of a disruption in your organization, including:
- Causes of potential disruption, such as natural disasters or cyber attacks.
- Departments that are core to your business operations.
- People that would take the lead in responding to incidents.
- Products or Services (based on revenue or other criteria) that would impact your organization’s reputation and profitability the most.
After defining priorities, it should be part of the foundational work to document your Service Level Agreements (SLA) that can translate into acceptable timeframes. These SLAs are, most of the time, predefined in Master Agreements.
For SaaS companies, you can translate into RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and/or RTO (Recovery Time Objective). These two mean that you need to define what is the acceptable time of data loss your client would accept/expect and service outage time that would not impact revenue.
Here is something important:
ISO 22301: 2019 – Security and Resilience – sets a very reasonable and internationally acceptable baseline for Business Continuity Management Systems (BCMS) that you can be certified against.
A BCMS Manual is the basic document used to guide an organization to respond to disruption and resume, recover, and restore the delivery of products and services.
Why is Business Continuity Important for Your Business
You should look at Business Continuity from different perspectives, as a disruption might have different areas of impact.
From a business perspective, a Business Continuity Management System can:
- Support the organization’s strategic objectives considering resiliency is a requirement for most SaaS providers;
- Create a competitive advantage in case you become ISO 22301 certified, as your program provides better RTO and RPO than your competitors;
- Protect and enhance its reputation and credibility, since the inability to respond to an incident can impact your customers’ trust.
From a financial perspective, a consistent Disaster Recovery Plan can contribute to:
- Reducing legal and financial exposure;
- Reducing direct and indirect costs of disruptions;
Most likely, the client will love to see that your BCMS considers their expectations, as it will also give them confidence in the organization’s ability to succeed. On the other hand, internally, a Business Continuity Program will enhance your processes by:
- Improving your teams’ capability to remain effective during disruptions;
- Demonstrating proactive control of risks effectively and efficiently addressing operational vulnerabilities.
What is Business Continuity Planning? (Key Components)
Business Continuity Planning is about identifying risks and ensuring your internal teams know what to do when a risk materializes.
Some key components of a Business Continuity Plan are:
- You must prioritize a Business Impact Analysis to determine potential risks and people or departments.
- Identify internal and external stakeholders that will take a lead on the processes or will be impacted by a disruption.
- Business Continuity Objectives: based on SLAs, what is the level of reliance you aim to provide.
- Incident Response Plan that covers everything from roles and responsibilities, playbooks (call-tree), and incident risk levels.
- Operational planning must review the necessity of redundancy and other required resources.
- Exercising is core. Training provided in different scenarios and documenting lessons learned is vital to evaluate the efficiency of a BCMS.
Developing a Business Continuity Plan With GRC
A Governance, Risk, and Compliance tool must be your centralized technology to manage your Business Impact Analysis.
There are significant benefits to consider when using a GRC tool in your risk management practice as part of your Business Continuity program:
- You can embed risk assessment methodology in your GRC tool for consistent assessments. A risk assessment can help you identify and prioritize risks based on their potential impact and likelihood.
- Access and visualization across departments and risk owners.
- Improved ability to assign risks and document mitigation strategies or corrective action plans.
- Reporting capabilities to better communicate risks across the organization with many different stakeholders (including top leadership).
- Incident management capabilities to document disruptions and service outages.
A GRC software can be strategic if you want to simply keep your organization “alive”. Learn below how a GRC system can do that.
Advantages of Using StandardFusion’s GRC Software
There are several advantages to using StandardFusion’s GRC platform for business continuity management, including:
- Comprehensive Risk Assessment: Identify and prioritize potential risks that could impact your business’s ability to operate. This helps you develop a more effective business continuity plan by ensuring that all possible risks have been considered.
- Customizable Workflow: Create and manage a set of procedures and protocols to ensure your organization can continue to operate in the event of a disruption. Customizable workflows will enable you to tailor your processes and protocols to your specific needs.
- Continuity planning: You can design, create, and manage business continuity plans using our templates and following the industry’s best practices. You can also automate the process of developing and updating plans, ensuring that they remain current and effective.
- Compliance: Ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards related to business continuity. You can automate compliance assessments, track compliance with regulatory requirements, and provide reports on compliance status.
- Business Continuity refers to an organization’s capability to continue delivering products and services within acceptable timeframes during a disruption.
- A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) would help you evaluate the impact of a disruption on your business’s operations.
- ISO 22301:2019 is a reasonable and internationally accepted baseline for Business Continuity Management Systems (BCMS).
- Managing business continuity correctly will help you support your organization’s objectives, increase customer trust, reduce legal exposure, reduce indirect disruption costs, improve your team’s capability, and demonstrate control over risks.
- Key components of a Business Continuity Plan include a Business Impact Analysis, identification of stakeholders, Business Continuity Objectives, an Incident Response Plan, operational planning, and training.
- You can use a Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) tool to manage Business Impact Analysis, prioritize risks, assign risks, document mitigation strategies, and communicate risks across the organization.
- StandardFusion’s GRC software provides comprehensive risk assessment, customizable workflows, continuity planning support, and compliance capabilities.
The bottom line?
An effective business continuity program will help you demonstrate to your clients that you want to provide the best possible service to them, even during potential disruptions.
Looking for Better Compliance?
Track compliance to multiple frameworks simultaneously, including SOX, HITRUST CSF, GDPR, CCPA, and FedRAMP, and manage the entire risk and compliance lifecycle with a single tool.
Book a demo with our team and learn how a GRC software like StandardFusion can help you improve your ability to manage risks and prioritize corrective actions. Our GRC tool will enable you to design, create, and manage business continuity plans using templates and following the industry’s best practices.
Also, you will be able to ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards related to business continuity.