Running a business isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, no matter how much we want to believe it is. Disasters can come from anywhere and blindside us, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown us. Unfortunately, not many companies were prepared. As a result, COVID-19 caused significant business disruptions and untold financial losses.
That’s why it’s equally important to have contingencies in place to ensure your business can recover from any setback. And this is where BCM (meaning business continuity management) comes in. Let’s start with the basics: what is BCM?
What is Business Continuity Management (BCM)?
To begin, let’s first define business continuity. Simply put, it’s the ability of an organization to resume business operations after getting hit by a major disaster, including fires, earthquakes, and (more commonly) cyber-attacks. This incident is often major enough to bring down critical business systems.
The process of planning and preparing for business continuity is called business continuity management. In a way, it’s similar to a disaster recovery plan but much more detailed. It also covers a broader scope and includes backup plans for all the business processes, assets, and staffing. The business continuity definition covers various disciplines and areas, including emergency response and crisis management, among others.
In a nutshell, the BCM process begins by assessing all potential threats that may happen and the worst-case scenario of each. Then, an action plan is drafted and tested to ensure that it can ensure a firm’s recovery. Regular review also guarantees that the plan works and is up-to-date.
Benefits of Business Continuity Management
The obvious benefit is that BCM ensures your business stays operational and delivers its commitments to customers, vendors, and stockholders. It can also help protect your organization’s reputation. Unfortunately, cyber-attacks and data breaches are far too common, and getting hit by one can be an embarrassing setback. However, being resilient enough to resume operations can make your firm more valuable in the eyes of the public.
In some critical industries, business continuity management is also a requirement to comply with regulations. Legally, you can also be sued for negligence for failure to have a contingency plan in place. But probably the most crucial benefit is that BCM can make you more competitive. Planning ahead and for the worst will force you to improve every aspect of your business, including your supply chain. This, in turn, makes you more resilient against market disruptions compared to your competitors.
Business Continuity Management Framework
Having a sound business continuity management system or framework in place is vital. It lays out the guidelines to help you better plan for business continuity systematically to make sure you cover all the bases. Here are the essential parts to include in your framework:
Assessing the risks and threats to your operation is arguably the most critical part of business continuity management. Thus, you should make sure to take your time and identify as many vulnerabilities as you can. After gathering, you should then also gauge the severity and threat details of each one.
Once you’ve identified the risks, you should now analyze what would happen if they impact your organization. Which parts of your operation will they affect, and how long can you recover? Explore all possible outcomes and detail each one.
This step is important because it forces you to look at your processes critically and see which ones are vital to your operation. These are the ones that you should prioritize when disaster does hit.
It’s important to be quantitative with your continuity plan as well. You can do this by measuring the risk before and after your framework is in effect, thus telling you how well your strategy is working and where to improve.
Business continuity requires funds because you’ll be investing in technologies and systems to help enforce it. For example, you might need to invest in cloud infrastructure to ensure you can operate virtually anywhere. Make sure you specify how much you’ll need in your framework.
Finally, we come down to the most practical part of your framework — the recovery plan itself. It’s essential to be very detailed here: outline every step for each contingency, including what needs to be done before, during, and after the disaster.
Testing your framework is equally important as creating it, to ensure that everything works as intended when the time comes. You can outline testing strategies in your framework, including drills and walkthroughs.
Tokenization and Business Continuity Management
More than fires and natural disasters, cyber-attacks are events that pose the most threat to businesses. That’s why part of any good business continuity plan is to set up contingencies once a data breach occurs. Tokenization is one of the most effective ways to protect your data. Swapping sensitive data in your database with a token means the original data is safe during a data breach. If you’re interested in tokenization and how it can help protect your data, contact TokenEx today to learn more.