Implementing Business Continuity

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Abstract

The objective of every business around us is not only to make the profit but also to ensure that it remains alive in this competitive world. Technology is one of the success drivers of business, since in the current world; businesses employ the use of information systems in almost every task. Every business has to implement continuity plan as a measure of its progress and also to maintain its existence in case a disastrous event occurs. Due to multiple threats, disasters and risk events that occur in businesses, there is a need for key decision makers to implement continuity plan in an attempt to manage outcomes of disasters. This paper intends to provide a discussion of the business continuity, the strategies that are appropriate when implementing the plan and the importance of implementing a continuity plan, as far as information security is concerned. The paper concludes by analyzing the overall benefits of business continuity plan in comparison to the cost of the plan.

Business Continuity

All Businesses are vulnerable to natural and artificial disasters, emergencies, and threats. Understanding that properly planning enables us to prevent an occurrence of certain events or minimize the impact of the hazardous events, it is essential to restore the normal cooking state of the business when a disaster affects business. Business continuity consists of identification of threats and vulnerabilities, priorities and related actions, and measures for creating plans to ensure the continuity and recovery of business before, after or when disruption occurs. Because most businesses get built around Information Technology, the business plans tend to consider information security as one of the major themes.

Critical resources in business include people, places, systems, and assets. These resources are usually subject to vulnerabilities. For example, disasters such as fire, flood, criminal/terrorist activities impact negatively to the resources. It gets well known that most of the business data and information lies under IT, and therefore the decision makers should plan on how they can manage the department so that in case a disruptive event occurs; the business will not be affected. The main objective of business continuity is to provide an organized method of deploying resources and processes to as to ensure that normal business activities are operating. Business continuity plans are very crucial elements of Information security tasks. The plans are carefully designed to provide solutions to disruptions or normal work. The business plan should provide guidelines on the assurance of security and confidentiality under abnormal situations. An efficient and effective business plan gets developed according to the organizational and federal guidelines (Nnolim, 2000).

Business continuity planning process is a step-by-step cycle of ten phases namely: institutional commitment, framework, and planning, role assignment, the scope of the plan, risk management, impact analysis, documentation, personnel, training, maintaining and testing, and finally documentation and analysis. The process then restarts after the final phase. The process is usually more of the technology plan, as it focuses on all aspects of business. IT assets are important, but without other assets the plan is incomplete. In the plan, we focus first on identifying priorities to get implemented and the acceptable risks to get addressed. The framework defines the structure of the processes and activities such as planning, testing, managing priorities, and dependencies. Documentation is a record of all the information regarding the plan, important resources, amenities, business organization, and priorities. Such information should be secured by all means possible.

Strategies of Implementing Business Continuity

While mainly focusing on information system security, the CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability) in information resources is very critical. Firstly, since data is very important, data should be replicated. By replicating data, we store copies of the same data in multiple server machines so that when a user wants to access the data, he/she may fetch from one of the servers. Of late, cloud-based systems are mostly used when storing company data and files. The software/data dependency is also very important. About data replication, we have backups which are also important. Businesses use different ways of backup like online backup, and also ensure that they were regularly automatic backup. With cloud services, companies will benefit from enhanced data security and privacy. A good business continuity plan also provides for alternative means to provide the important services in time of calamities such as flood, power loss or system failure. For example, backups are alternatives to the computing storages. When the computation data gets lost, backups will be used to provide all the required data. Similarly, during power loss, fuel generators and power banks will be used to provide power. Secondly, after a disastrous event occurs, there is a need to recover data. The strategy involved is troubleshooting. The recovery team first analyzes the level of damage and then restores the normal functioning of the system. Tests are very important in analyzing the plan. The team troubleshoots the plan through following the document plan until the point when the data/resource recovery is needed (Bajgorić, 2009). Finally, there is the need for emergency response drills, not only in minimizing damage but also to ensure business continuity and minimize theft or fraud chances. By putting the processes in place, companies can notify decision makers, rescue important data, contain damages, and perform actions to reduce chances of injury and death.

Importance of Implementing Business Continuity

Implementation of business plans may seem very tedious and long process. It is true. If you want to come up with a good business plan, you will highly invest in it. In this competitive world, you have to get smarter than you think; by eliminating the idea of finding a ‘plan B’ after you realize that your business is approaching a dead end. Big and corporate business thrives more simply because their businesses get built on a continuity plan; that accounts for all aspect of the company. With a good plan, you are ready to face any risky situation and your business stability will not be affected by natural disasters, bad publicity, and business turndowns. First and foremost, a business continuity plan is necessary for that it provides the necessary procedures of dealing with an emergent and severe market changes (Rittinghouse& Ransome, 2005). The plan can address even the simple issues such as the chain of command during an occasion when leader passes away. Also, it provides an analysis of weaknesses and threats to the business from a given perspective. The plan may raise concerns which the leaders may not easily find their solutions. Since the plan gets developed from an expert’s insight, it covers the entire business based on the professional overview. The process may also highlight a likelihood of occurrence of an event and the best way to correct it before the issue arises.

Conclusion

Business continuity plans are important. They are the platform for key decision-making processes in the event of disasters and to ensure the stability of businesses.  The implementation of the plan may seem costly and lengthy but at the end, the business decision makers will realize that they did awesome work.

 

References

Bajgorić, N. (2009). Continuous computing technologies for enhancing business continuity. Hershey: Information Science Reference. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1605661619

Nnolim, A. L. (2000). A framework and methodology for information security management. Southfield: Lawrence Technological University. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0549427104

Rittinghouse, J. W., & Ransome, J. F. (2005). Business continuity and disaster recovery for infosec managers. Amsterdam: Elsevier Digital Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0080528333

 

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