What Is A Business Continuity Plan and How Is It Used?
A business continuity plan refers to the processes and procedures that experts follow to ensure status quo in the event of a disruption. Simply put, business continuity is an organization’s ability to maintain essential functions during and after a disruption has occurred. Disaster Recovery, on the other hand, is a subset of business continuity, which focuses more on keeping all engines of the business running despite the disaster.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, it is more critical than ever for businesses to deploy a robust business continuity plan to deal with any eventuality that they could be faced with, and how this plan will allow them to mobilize workforce and continue to run.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is created based on business objectives, thereby helping an organization establish a more coordinated secured and continued operations. Business continuity plans help organizations deal with risk and adjust automatically to ensure continuous business operation –
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What Are The Essential Aspects of A Business Continuity Plan?
Continued Access – A business continuity plan is necessary for accessing required processes and capabilities. It allows businesses to access applications, despite challenges due to their inherent failures. These failures could be due to business processes in the existing IT infrastructure or physical facilities.
Continuous operations – The Business Continuity plan helps organizations perform efficiently even during disruption and planned outages.
Disaster recovery – It establishes an itinerary to recover from a disaster and helps a data center that has become partially or fully inoperable, recover.
What Are The Key Components of A Business Continuity Plan?
Strategic objects used by businesses to complete day-to-day activities to ensure continuous operations.
Objects related to the overall structure, skills, communications, and responsibilities of employees.
Applications and data
Objects for crucial software applications and data necessary for businesses to operate.
Objects related to systems, network, technology architecture to assure continuous operations and secure backup of applications and data.
Objects seeking an alternate disaster recovery site when the primary site is destroyed.
Objects related to staff, employee’s turnover, and human resource management.
The business continuity plan is a blueprint to be referred during the crisis with defined strategies to deal with the effects. These key elements play a vital role in creating an effective business continuity plan.
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Identifying Business Continuity Risks
Understanding IT infrastructure is required to identify business continuity risks. The key points to incorporate when determining their scope are –
- Critical information to maintain business operations.
- Critical systems to maintain business operations.
- Critical part of the network to maintain business operations.
- Critical software to maintain business operations.
- Natural disaster risks that impact critical systems, software, and networks.
- Cyber risks that impact networks, software, and systems.
- Critical third-party services required to maintain business operations.
- In-place controls preventing cyber risks to the crucial systems, networks, and software.
- Off-site data center or data backup recovery service.
- In-transit encryption for remote access when the business is interrupted.
- Availability of endpoint encryption in case of business interruption.
- Defined process to implement emergency administrative authorizations.
Disaster Recovery: An Inevitable Subset Of Business Continuity
“A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a business plan that describes how work can be resumed quickly and effectively after a disaster. Disaster recovery planning is just part of business continuity planning and is applied to aspects of an organization that relies on an IT infrastructure to function.” – Techopedia
What Are The Types of Disaster Recovery?
- Virtualization Disaster Recovery
Virtualization provides flexibility in disaster recovery. Here servers are virtualized independent from the underlying hardware. Therefore, an organization does not need the same physical servers at the primary site as at its secondary disaster recovery site.
- Network Disaster Recovery
A network disaster recovery plan identifies specific issues or threats related to an organization’s network operations as a result of network provider problems or disasters caused by nature or human activities.
- Cloud-based Disaster Recovery
Cloud disaster recovery enables the backup and recovery of remote machines on a cloud-based platform. Cloud disaster recovery is primarily an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution that backs up designated system data on a remote offsite cloud server.
- Data Center Disaster Recovery
Data Center Disaster Recovery is the organizational planning to resume business operations following an unexpected event that may damage or destroy data, software, and hardware systems.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) involves third-party cloud-based replication and hosting to provide full environmental recovery in the event of a disaster, with SLAs defining the DRaaS provider’s role and recovery timings. The model is ideally suited to organizations that don’t have the resources to provision, configure and test their DR plans in-house, or invest in and maintain their own off-site DR environment, as well as those businesses with minimal tolerance for downtime.
“Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide failover in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe. Typically, DRaaS requirements and expectations are documented in a service-level agreement (SLA) and the third-party vendor provides failover to a cloud computing environment, either through a contract or on a pay-per-use basis.” TechTarget
Why Should Every Organization Have A Disaster Recovery Plan To Protect Itself?
Perceived and unforeseen threats to operations are always a concern for business owners. In the event of a disaster, the continued operations of an organization depend on the ability of the business to replicate their IT systems and data.
Disaster recovery depicts all the steps involved in planning and adapting to a potential disaster with a plan in place to restore operations while minimizing the long-term negative impact. Good business continuity plans are important to keep a business up and running through interruptions of any kind, including power failures, IT system crashes and natural disasters, and more, thus limiting the short-term negative impact on the company.
Disaster Recovery Plan Vs. Business Continuity Plan
What is the difference between a disaster recovery plan and a contiengency plan?
Though the terms ‘Disaster Recovery’ and ‘Business Continuity’ are used interchangeably, they are not similar. Both are different concepts with different strategies, contributing significant aspects of securing business operations.
What is Disaster Recovery?
A disaster recovery plan restores data and critical applications when business systems are unavailable.
What is Business Continuity?
A business continuity plan is more of a strategy. It enables operational continuance with minimal downtime and services, or outage.
Achieving a balance between the two strategies is based on the matter of priorities. When your business is mostly online, data security becomes your priority. In the case of a data breach, your business operations may freeze. The competitive intelligence would disappear, making it difficult to make transactions with vendors and customers, and access your inventory information.
The key difference between DR and BC:
The key difference can be identified when the plan is in the implementation stage. Business continuity enables operations to function during the event and aftermath. Whereas, disaster recovery defines how to respond to the event and to return to the normal business phase. While both functionally incorporate a measured response, disaster recovery aims to re-establish the business operations. Though a few areas overlap, they remain distinct in their operation.
Requirements To Incorporate Disaster Recovery Planning
After creating a list of risks associated with potential systems, software, and networks, the policies should be considered to enable business recovery from the interruption stage. The key points to be raised as a part of recovery planning are –
- Responsible individuals to require performing the recovery task.
- A timeline for recovery.
- Documentation that proves complete recovery.
- Defined process to implement data recovery.
- Documented chain of command for recovering from the event.
- Complying with a timeline for recovery.
- Measuring compliance with the user authorization policy.
- Measuring the efficacy of incident response.
- Documenting corrective actions.
- Managing the reinstation process aftermath of the event.
How Can AI predict Disasters?
The benefit of using Artificial Intelligence in Disaster Recovery
In a digital world where disasters are more certain, the amount of downtime may warn your business performance. Where the brands cannot afford to have unforeseen downtime, the disaster recovery plans should be aligned to handle and enhance AI-based strategies.
|AI can predict potential outcomes||The tools used by AI to assess potential threats like deep neural networks are far more advanced than what could be done manually. This makes it easier for the AI system to determine threats and create robust and powerful disaster prevention and recovery plans.|
|AI contributes to better protection||An AI-enhanced plan can help strategists draft a better plan for disaster recovery. It uses techniques like ‘business impact analysis’ and ‘risk assessment.’|
|AI automates the disaster recovery process||AI can be used to automate and control various parts of disaster recovery and business continuity plans. It does not only help prevent issues from arising, but also adapts to new data to make it predictive analysis effective.|
|AI enhances incident response actions||AI can quickly analyze the reason behind the attack and can be programmed to initiate an auto-recovery action.|
|AI learns from each incident||The more AI is exposed to data to handle downtime and outages, the better they will learn to register the issues of downtime.|
Emerging technologies shaping the business continuity and disaster recovery landscape
The concepts of business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) ensure continuity of business operations so that the organizations don’t need to face negative impacts. In order to continue the same, various technologies have entered the picture. Here are the few emerging technologies that will change the business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) landscape.
- Use of virtualization as it makes the restoration easier in case of an incident.
- Backing up data and recovery for mobile users that broadens the disaster recovery landscape.
- Disc-based backup solutions for the massive amount of data being stored on huge data centers.
- Cloud-based backup and data recovery with automation.
3 Things that can happen in the absence of disaster recovery plan
“94% of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss do not survive – 43% never reopen and 51% close within two years.” – University of Texas
|Effect on business continuity leading to a major loss.||Extreme financial and reputational loss.||The cost of a data breach creates an additional burden.|
As an organization, taking precautions against any ill-advised act is a must. So is maintaining a sound disaster recovery plan, important to ensure business continuity.
|Step 1:||Step 2:||Step 3:|
|Understand what is important||Choose a technique and document the plan||Constantly update your recovery plan|
Organizations spend a lot of money to build defensive security strategies, and yet they fail, leaving businesses vulnerable to the after-effects of security incidents. So, to build a risk and recovery plan for a cyberattack, firms need to plan ahead on how to stay prepared and protected from cyberattacks.
|Tip 1:||Stay safe from insider threats as they can cause as much damage as external threats.|
|Tip 2:||Involve the team in the attack mitigation plan.|
|Tip 3:||Document, implement, and regularly update the recovery plan.|
The recent pandemic – COVID-19 calls for a strategic business continuity plan
After the rapid spread of COVID–19, arguably, every organization around the world shifted its primary priorities dramatically. As a result, several concerns surfaced, such as disruption in the workforce, daily business operations, and supply chain. A recent report on “business responses to the COVID–19 outbreak” suggests, 51% of enterprises around the globe do not have a business continuity plan. Out of more than 300 businesses, half of the organizations are not ready to combat disasters. Well, with employees working remotely in the wake of coronavirus-themed attacks, companies need a sound IT disaster recovery and business continuity plan.
Business Continuity in the nOw work from home culture:
Significance Of A Certified and Skilled Cybersecurity Workforce
A certified and skilled cybersecurity workforce always helps strengthen an organization and implement strategic plans and principles to protect its assets. The role of a cybersecurity team majorly focuses on identifying, protecting, detecting, and responding to mitigate the gaps and vulnerabilities in the organization’s network. It is the responsibility of the cybersecurity team along with the disaster management team to implement the following:
A cybersecurity certified team (with a reputed certification like EDRP) to enable communication, collaboration, and co-operation in emergency/disaster management strategies to identify critical assets
- Mitigate the company’s vulnerabilities and threats
- Protect the organization’s data
- Networks and systems
- Perform weekly offsite full system back-ups
- The awareness and training to handle DR and emergency.
- Update the organization’s procedures and policies.
- Monitor internal and external threats
The cybersecurity awareness and training programs help disaster recovery or emergency management teams disrupt two essential operational threats during emergencies
- Vulnerabilities associated with intended and unintended organization’s internal threats due to lack of preparedness towards emergency responses.
- Internal or external threats that cause damage to an organization’s network could go unnoticed until a potential disaster forces an organization to perform restoration of operations.
Disaster recovery IT management and cybersecurity teams work together to train the workforce, create awareness plans, maintain resilience, and enforce operational procedures in the organization.
The question that arises is – how to select the best disaster recovery training from the available choices? One can opt for any business continuity online training. However, there are several points to consider before enrolling in disaster recovery and business continuity programs because the overall objective of the program is to equip us with a skill set that helps us to create a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. The most common assumption while creating such a program is about the audience; only a very few business continuity training is designed in a way that is suitable for beginners, and on the other hand, a few BCP Certifications are designed only for experts.
Primarily, the business continuity plan (BCP) certification/ training must be taken from a well-recognized cybersecurity credentialing body, and secondly, the institution that offers the certifications should have attained globally recognized industry accreditations such as the ISO 17024. An organization must ensure that the course outline of a program they select is aligned with their organizational learning goals.
What To Look For In A Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Training?
- Business Continuity Management (BCM)
- Risk Assessment
- Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
- Business Continuity Planning (BCP)
- Disaster Recovery Planning Process
- Data Backup/Recovery Strategies
- System Recovery
- Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Review, Maintenance, and Training
- Risk Management
- Recovery Time Objective
- Recovery Point Objective
- Minimum Time of Disruption
Industry Certifications On Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR)
Here are some of the more popular Business continuity and Disaster Recovery certifications that are recognized by the industry:
- EC-Council Certified Disaster Recovery Professional by EC-Council
- CBCI by The Business Continuity Institute (BCI)
- Business Continuity Management by Certified Information Security
- BCLE 2000, BCP 501 & BCP 601 by DRI International, Inc.
What Is EDRP? What Is Its Significance?
The EC-Council Disaster Recovery Program (EDRP) certification is aimed at educating and validating a candidate’s ability to plan, strategize, implement, and maintain the business continuity and disaster recovery plan.
EDRP provides a strong understanding of business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) principles. The program includes business impact analysis, assessing risks, developing policies and procedures, and implementing a plan. It also teaches professionals how to secure data by putting policies and procedures in place and how to recover and restore their organization’s critical data in the aftermath of a disaster.
Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Program
|Based on the job-task analysis||The program is developed after a thorough job task analysis and market research.|
|A program designed by SMEs||It is designed and developed by experienced SMEs and business continuity/disaster recovery experts.|
|Vendor-neutral certification||A complete vendor-neutral course covering business continuity/ disaster recovery techniques and solutions.|
|Hands-on lab||Detailed labs for a hands-on learning experience. It also offers the provision of the iLab cyber range. The program comes complete with classroom labs or cloud-based virtual labs (optional) enabling students to practice various business continuity/disaster recovery techniques in a realistic simulated environment.|
|Mapped to NICE Framework and covers various regulatory standards||EDRP covers all the relevant knowledge-based and skills to meets with regulatory compliance standards such as ISO 31000:2009, ISO 22301:2012, ISO 22313:2012, NFPA 1600, and many more along with the NICE Framework.|
|An additional benefit in the form of whitepapers||The student kit contains a large number of white papers for additional reading.|
|Case studies for conceptual learning||The course includes case studies for a better explanation of concepts.|
|Templates to practice||The program includes templates so that the students get a practical idea on how to perform the various analyses and assessments|