What is Business Continuity Management in Cybersecurity?
Date: 5 June 2023
Business Continuity Management, in the simplest terms, refers to proper planning that ensures smooth running or speedy recovery of operations after major natural/man-made disasters or cybersecurity events.
In the context of cybersecurity, of course, this refers to resilience of business operations after a cyber-attack.
In this blog, our cybersecurity experts share all the insights you need into Business Continuity Management (BCM) and how you can implement the same in your organisation.
In the next blog of this educational series on Business Continuity Management, we will get into the details of how to implement the ISO 22301 standard for BCM in your organisation.
Topics covered in this blog:
What exactly is Business Continuity Management?
Business Continuity Management essentially refers to planning for a disaster/ crisis situation. It’s about putting processes in place that can help you recover from that disaster as quickly as possible and resume your business operations to normal.
Business Continuity Planning basically entails the following steps:
- Identifying & assessing the specific security risks and potential threats to your business and its critical infrastructure.
- Conducting a business impact analysis to understand the potential impact of disruptions and defining the recovery objectives.
- Putting strategies, processes and recovery plans in place that help you respond effectively to a crisis situation including but not limited to cyber attacks, data breaches and ransomware attacks.
- Regularly testing your Cyber Incident Response Plans to make sure that they’re effective. This means ensuring that they’ll work to support and recover your business critical functions in case of a disruptive incident.
If the discussions so far seem daunting, it’s only natural. However, there is help at hand. Our cost-effective and remote Virtual Cyber Assistants can help you with Business Continuity Readiness and Review. They can offer the rich, experienced approach that you may be short of internally. Additionally, they can also add an objective outsider’s perspective and offer expert cybersecurity consultancy support to your existing internal capabilities.
Here are some of the services that are available in our readymade Business Continuity packages:
- Conduct Business Impact Analysis
- Create and/or Review Business Continuity Strategy
- Create and/or Review Business Continuity-related policies and processes
- Help in developing a Risk Management Methodology
- Risk Assessment
- Assistance in creating Business Continuity Plans & Crisis management plans
- Help in building Incident Response Plans
- Build and Optimise Incident Response Playbooks
- Create and/or Review Disaster Recovery Plans
The Business Continuity Management Framework
A Business Continuity Framework is a set of steps that a business must undertake in order to achieve at least a certain level of assurance that it can bounce back from a cyber attack.
The BCM framework comprises four main steps. We’ll now take a closer look at what these steps are and how they can help bolster organisational cyber resilience better:
1. Business Impact Analysis (BIA): Business impact analysis (BIA) is the process of assessing how a disruption of a particular service/unavailability of an asset may affect the entire business. It aims at understanding the interdependencies between different business functions and processes.
A Business Impact Analysis also helps to establish recovery time objectives. This refers to the ideal time frames within which the business operations should swing back to normal after a cyber incident.2. Risk Assessment: As the name suggests, the first step in BCM involves identifying the potential risks that can affect business operations. By understanding the relevant risks to your business, you can prepare ahead of time to mitigate their effects and continue to function optimally in the event of a crisis. A Risk Assessment typically involves the following steps:
- Cataloguing the business critical assets
- Assessing the risks to these assets. This may also include assessing the vulnerabilities that could impact the organisation’s operations such as natural/man-made disasters, supply chain disruptions, pandemics, Technology/infrastructure failure, etc.
- Analysing the risks and prioritising them
- Creating a plan to reduce the risks with implementation of appropriate controls.
- Evaluating the control effectiveness through testing and reviewing
3. Business Continuity Management Strategy: Based on the results of the risk assessment and Business Impact Analysis, a BCM strategy should be developed. The objective of this strategy is obviously to identify the steps to be taken to minimise the impact of a crisis/cybersecurity attack on business continuity.
This strategy could include the following:
- Developing alternate operating procedures, establishing backup systems and/or resources, defining emergency communication protocols, etc.
- Identifying the key stakeholders responsible for Crisis/Disaster Management. It can also include business decisions pertaining to hiring external Incident Response Management retainers in case of a major attack.
4. Implementation: Finally, the implementation of the Business Continuity Management framework is critical. This includes the effective implementation and communication of the BCM plan and constantly evaluating and updating it to ensure it remains relevant.
Implementation of the BCM framework involves authorising the continuity plan and ensuring all stakeholders are educated about the plan. It also focuses on creating business continuity plans, communication plans, detailed procedures and resources.
Ultimately, of course, testing, documenting the results of the tests and reviewing how to improve the BCM plans is critical to the success of the Business Continuity Management framework.
By implementing a comprehensive BCM framework, organisations can minimise the impact of disruptions and continue operating efficiently during a crisis. It is critical to monitor and regularly review the plan to ensure it stays relevant and effective.
In the current threat landscape, BCM is essential to a business's long-term success, risk management, and reputation. But most importantly, it is the cornerstone of seamless operations despite a cyber security disaster.