How To Update Your Business Continuity Plan in 2023

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Information Technology business continuity plans (BCP) are critical safeguards to reduce business risk despite increasing threats and highly limited security resources in 2023. BCP, when updated and practiced, drastically reduces the impact of disruptions to IT systems and data and can help ensure that the next incident is a disruption, and not a disaster.  

When a business continuity plan is current and reflects your current capabilities and risks, it is a highly effective tool to maintain your most critical operations for your workforce, clients, and broader community during disaster scenarios. While no amount of investment can fully prevent a disaster, even small amounts of time and intentional effort can have powerful impacts to natural disasters such as heat waves, loss of power or fuel, pandemic, or cyberattacks. It’s  critical for organizations to conduct an annual business continuity plan update, and it’s equally important to understand doing so can be achieved, when properly led, at surprisingly low cost and level of effort. 

Why Updating Your Business Continuity Plan in 2023 is Important 

Business continuity plan image

In 2023, the risks to businesses continue to increase both in terms of their frequency and severity. Headlines continue to reflect the continuity growth and sophistication of cyber threats; extreme weather; global supply chain issues, pandemic, and political events all of which can pose risks of disruption to the IT systems you depend on daily.

Conversely, and critical for driving the reason to ensure you update your plan, is that despite the increased threat environment, there’s a low cost of entry for dramatic results. When led by experienced leaders, the BCP update process does not require new investment, nor a substantial drain on workforce and leadership time. A limited effort and time-gated “sprint”, can produce all of the updated plan development that you need to equip your business with the safeguards needed to maintain your most important business workflows and data, even during extreme disruptive events.

New capabilities, such as cloud and web based technologies, the ability to quickly shift to a remote work model and highly available systems  should be considered an essential part of a business continuity plan. Whatever your plan is going to include, it is important that all decisions made are backed by evidence .  To start, it’s critical to conduct a business impact analysis.

Performing a Business Impact Analysis for Your Continuity Plan

The business impact analysis (BIA), is a foundational element of any best practice business continuity analysis. During a business impact analysis, organizations will complete a review  of their business workflows to identify and prioritize business systems and data. This includes a capabilities analysis to ensure alignment between the IT systems deployed is and the business recovery time and point needs. After completing this risk analysis, organizations can design a continuity  plan that addresses prioritized recovery of business operations.

1. Account for Mission Critical IT InventoryBusiness executives in a meeting looking at powerpoint

2. Prepare Data Backups

Every organization needs to invest in regular data backups that prioritize mission critical data. How organizations choose to store these backups varies.  Some organizations protect against natural disasters such as fires and floods by storing backups in alternate sites in addition to the primary business location. Others prefer a cloud backup to protect data from natural disasters or depend on a third-party service provider to backup data.

3. Develop an Acceptable Recovery Timeline

A recovery timeline should include organization-specific information outlining how long the business can withstand a disruption before critical business operations are impacted. With this timeline, organizations can design a very specific recovery plan.

4. Identify Alternate Methods for Accomplishing Business Objectives

Explore whether alternate systems are available or whether a business partner could perform the function.  As noted above, if there is an issue at the office, can employees effectively work from home?  As with other business continuity plans, these require testing.

5. Get Buy-in for Your Plan

Successful business continuity planning requires the buy-in of the entire workforce, from new hires to executive level staff. Organizations must communicate the value of continuity planning to team members and regularly test their recovery plan to increase buy-in. 

Training Teams for Your Business Continuity Plan

Employees talking to each other

Regular training sessions with  employees can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to responding to an interruption in business operations.

Effective training programs give teams the resources they need during a disruption. For example, clear emergency procedures as well as designated roles and responsibilities improve response times. Training programs should also emphasize backup forms of communication in case of disruptions. With regular planning and training, organizations can identify additional vulnerabilities and continue to improve their business continuity plan. 

Speak with Hartman Executive Advisors about your business continuity plan

Does your organization need to update its business continuity plan for 2023? The experts at Hartman Executive Advisors can help you conduct a business continuity plan project and design the continuity cap and their impact to your critical business needs.

Contact Hartman Executive Advisors to protect the business continuity of your organization. 

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