5 steps of business continuity plan against cyber attacks
The goal of Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is to put in place preventative and recovery systems to handle possible cyber-attacks on an organization as well as ensure process continuity after a cyber-attack. BCP’s secondary aim is to guarantee operational continuity throughout the disaster recovery process. By improving disaster preparedness and coordination, you can minimize the risks of scenarios such as earthquakes and industrial calamities. Planning for asset and personnel protection during a crisis ensures a quick return to normal operations in the event of a catastrophe. In general, basic business continuity boils down to keeping critical functions operational during a crisis while also minimizing downtime as much as possible. A business continuity plan takes into account a variety of unanticipated events, such as disasters, fires, disease outbreaks, cyber assaults, and other external dangers.
Importance of Business Continuity
At a time when downtime is harmful to any company, business continuity is critical for addressing client management, retention, and operational security. A plethora of reasons for downtime exist, but cyber-attacks and severe weather events are two of the most widespread problems that can bring down a company in a relatively short period. Business continuity planning (BCP) is a critical part of any organization’s defense against cyber-attacks. By following the five steps below, organizations can create a plan that will help them quickly recover from a cyber-attack and resume normal operations.
1. Conduct Business Impact Analysis & Risk Assessment
The first step in creating a business continuity plan is to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA). This analysis will help you identify which parts of your business are most critical to your operations and what would happen if those systems were unavailable. You’ll also need to assess your risk of being attacked, including the likelihood of an attack and the potential damage it could cause.
2. Develop Recovery Strategies
Once you have identified your critical systems and assessed your risk, you’ll need to develop recovery strategies. These strategies should include plans for restoring the systems that are most important to your business and minimizing the amount of data loss. You’ll also need to identify which staff members will be responsible for implementing the recovery plan and ensure that they are properly trained. 3. Solution Implementation
Once you have developed your recovery strategies, it’s time to implement them. This will involve installing the necessary software and hardware and configuring it to meet your organization’s needs. It’s important to test these solutions before you put them into production to make sure they will work as intended.
4. Testing & Acceptance Before you can rely on your business continuity plan, you need to test it. This should include both functional and disaster recovery tests to make sure the plan will actually work in a real-world situation. You will also need to get approval from all of the stakeholders before you can put the plan into action.
5. Routine Maintenance
Once your business continuity plan is in place, it’s important to keep it up-to-date. This includes regularly reviewing and updating your risk assessment, as well as testing and revising your recovery strategies. You should also ensure that all of your staff are kept up-to-date on the latest security threats and how to protect your organization from them.
By following these five steps, organizations can create a business continuity plan that will help them quickly recover from a cyber-attack and resume normal operations.
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Disaster Recovery and Cybersecurity: Integrating Cyber Security and Business Continuity
What is your organization’s disaster recovery approach in the event of a cyber attack? You cannot solely concentrate on cybersecurity and neglect disaster recovery preparedness.
You should devote resources and time to establishing a comprehensive cybersecurity architecture that minimizes the likelihood of cyber-attacks. Such architecture should also aim to establish a solid disaster recovery strategy that mitigates the overall impact of an assault on your firm.
Below, we present some typical cybersecurity measures and then describe how to develop an effective disaster recovery strategy.
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Disaster recovery approach, the need for business continuity and cybersecurity to work in tandem, integrating cybersecurity and business continuity.
Different firms require varying levels of cybersecurity protection. Depending on the size of their business, the complexity of their systems and networks infrastructure, the number of sensitive information they handle, and related other considerations.
However, the typical security solutions on which every firm should concentrate their efforts include the following:
- Real-time phishing emails filter
- Unauthorized access control
- DDoS attack prevention
- Identification and removal of malicious software
- Security auditing or network monitoring tools
- Data encryption
- Strong password policies and multi-factor authentication
These are a few of the most often used cybersecurity procedures that all firms dealing with massive data must use.
However, such practises are not one-time events. You must constantly evaluate your security procedures, patch your computer system, and install new security measures in response to evolving threats.
Cyber attacks are inevitable and likely to be destructive
Cyber attacks and breaches have become unavoidable as attackers become more organized and well-funded, frequently with the support of nation-states.
Cyber attacks could target any organization, regardless of size, as a source of information or a potential access method to larger organizations in the supply chain. The trend toward digital transformation , mobile working, and cloud-based services extends the attack surface, increasing the likelihood of an attack.
Early detection, response, and recovery are critical because of the growing tendency toward catastrophic cyber attacks that can put businesses’ survival at risk. Cyber attacks have surpassed fires, floods, and other natural catastrophes as the leading risk to company continuity.
Firms must embrace a new approach to business continuity planning and cyber security centred on a much closer working relationship between the two in the digital world.
Once a company has implemented adequate cybersecurity measures, it is better equipped to protect itself against cyber threats. However, because security gaps are always a possibility, the next area of concentration should be the disaster recovery plan.
Disaster recovery is inextricably related to your backup procedures.
Let’s assume your business is the victim of a ransomware assault. If you did not back up your data before the attack, you are now left with no choice except to pay the ransom to reclaim your data.
If you have already created a backup, you can quickly restore it and get your business back up and running in no time. This example illustrates the inherent value of a data backup and disaster recovery strategy.
Thus, even if your firm is victimized by a cyber-attack or suffers a severe computer network failure, your critical business data is recoverable. The ideal method for an effective disaster recovery plan would be to include both local and cloud backups.
Business continuity is about ensuring the continued operation of essential business functions, not just during a tragedy or crisis but also afterwards. Business continuity plans in the traditional sense cover potential disruptions such as natural catastrophes, fires, disease outbreaks, and cyber assaults.
As cyber-attacks become more prevalent, organizations must ensure that efforts to secure IT operations are tightly aligned with efforts to maintain/restore IT operations.
Such an approach should focus on risk management, resilience to support system and data availability, system recovery in case of system failure, and contingency planning, up to and including system failure.
Businesses must combine their cyber security and business continuity teams to guarantee that technology investments, incident response, and recovery processes are all coordinated. Continuity of operations and cyber security require an integrated strategy for access management, incident response, and catastrophe recovery.
Significant benefits of increased collaboration between cyber security and business continuity teams include:
- Continuity-focused technology investment
- A shift to DevSecOps
- A stronger emphasis on threat detection and response
- Clear playbooks outlining who should do what in the event of a cyber attack
Businesses should rethink their approach to business continuity management (BCM) and shift their focus toward maintaining/restoring business operations.
Cybersecurity and business continuity teams must interact, focusing on people, processes, and physical and virtual environments for operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT).
The methods for accomplishing business continuity and cyber security goals are inextricably linked. No business continuity strategy can be successful without incorporating cybersecurity and vice versa.
An integrated approach means that business continuity and security teams will collaborate to protect data against the most common types of cyberattacks.
To facilitate a more comprehensive and recovery-focused approach to BCM and cybersecurity, organizations must take three critical steps:
- Planning – Restructure the BCM and cybersecurity teams to improve integration and coordination across operations, processes, procedures, roles, and technology investments.
Establish processes for crisis communication, particularly for company leaders, that include many independent channels of contact.
- Technology – Prepare for the worst-case scenario concerning the enhancement of detection, reaction, recovery, and security and continuity capabilities. This involves safeguarding data backups against various assaults and enabling speedy recovery.
Assume that cyberattacks will occur and that network defences will be broken. Invest in security intelligence platforms and other artificial intelligence-supported (AI-supported) technologies to ensure some intelligence exists within the perimeter to identify hostile behaviour.
- Policy – Ensure that severe privileged access management (PAM) rules are implemented and enforced to execute a policy of least privilege. PAM is vital in the context of business continuity. The importance of strict access controls and the value of implementing a principle of least privilege and even allocating privileges only when necessary cannot be underestimated.
In general, it is essential to understand where data resides, how it is protected, and how you can recover to a safe state.
Remote work, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and agility software breakthroughs, among other innovations, have altered the typical working environment of enterprises.
All of this has resulted in more sophisticated. The best strategy to assure business development and continuity is prioritizing cybersecurity measures while simultaneously having a robust disaster recovery plan.
Organizations should prioritize deploying mature ways to have the most significant impact, beginning with the most effective.
These include business continuity planning, a zero-trust security paradigm, offline and offsite backup, endpoint detection and response, personal information management, and crisis communications processes.
Additionally, organizations should monitor potential solutions. These include AI-assisted anomaly detection, AI-assisted decision making, AI-assisted threat analytics, and automated decision making to determine which technologies are possibilities for early adoption as they mature.
Most of them are artificial intelligence-enabled technologies that can significantly lower the risk of cyber assaults affecting business continuity and may even replace some more established solutions.
Dimitri graduated with a degree in electronic and computing before moving into IT and has been helping people with their IT issues for the last 8 years. A regular contributor to BusinessTechWeekly.com, Dimitri holds a number of industry qualifications, writing on subjects focusing on computer networks and security.
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- Business Continuity Plan Basics
- Understanding BCPs
- Benefits of BCPs
- How to Create a BCP
- BCP & Impact Analysis
- BCP vs. Disaster Recovery Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
- Business Continuity Plan FAQs
The Bottom Line
What is a business continuity plan (bcp), and how does it work.
Pete Rathburn is a copy editor and fact-checker with expertise in economics and personal finance and over twenty years of experience in the classroom.
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What Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company. The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and are able to function quickly in the event of a disaster.
- Business continuity plans (BCPs) are prevention and recovery systems for potential threats, such as natural disasters or cyber-attacks.
- BCP is designed to protect personnel and assets and make sure they can function quickly when disaster strikes.
- BCPs should be tested to ensure there are no weaknesses, which can be identified and corrected.
Understanding Business Continuity Plans (BCPs)
BCP involves defining any and all risks that can affect the company's operations, making it an important part of the organization's risk management strategy. Risks may include natural disasters—fire, flood, or weather-related events—and cyber-attacks . Once the risks are identified, the plan should also include:
- Determining how those risks will affect operations
- Implementing safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks
- Testing procedures to ensure they work
- Reviewing the process to make sure that it is up to date
BCPs are an important part of any business. Threats and disruptions mean a loss of revenue and higher costs, which leads to a drop in profitability. And businesses can't rely on insurance alone because it doesn't cover all the costs and the customers who move to the competition. It is generally conceived in advance and involves input from key stakeholders and personnel.
Business impact analysis, recovery, organization, and training are all steps corporations need to follow when creating a Business Continuity Plan.
Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan
Businesses are prone to a host of disasters that vary in degree from minor to catastrophic. Business continuity planning is typically meant to help a company continue operating in the event of major disasters such as fires. BCPs are different from a disaster recovery plan, which focuses on the recovery of a company's IT system after a crisis.
Consider a finance company based in a major city. It may put a BCP in place by taking steps including backing up its computer and client files offsite. If something were to happen to the company's corporate office, its satellite offices would still have access to important information.
An important point to note is that BCP may not be as effective if a large portion of the population is affected, as in the case of a disease outbreak. Nonetheless, BCPs can improve risk management—preventing disruptions from spreading. They can also help mitigate downtime of networks or technology, saving the company money.
How to Create a Business Continuity Plan
There are several steps many companies must follow to develop a solid BCP. They include:
- Business Impact Analysis : Here, the business will identify functions and related resources that are time-sensitive. (More on this below.)
- Recovery : In this portion, the business must identify and implement steps to recover critical business functions.
- Organization : A continuity team must be created. This team will devise a plan to manage the disruption.
- Training : The continuity team must be trained and tested. Members of the team should also complete exercises that go over the plan and strategies.
Companies may also find it useful to come up with a checklist that includes key details such as emergency contact information, a list of resources the continuity team may need, where backup data and other required information are housed or stored, and other important personnel.
Along with testing the continuity team, the company should also test the BCP itself. It should be tested several times to ensure it can be applied to many different risk scenarios . This will help identify any weaknesses in the plan which can then be identified and corrected.
In order for a business continuity plan to be successful, all employees—even those who aren't on the continuity team—must be aware of the plan.
Business Continuity Impact Analysis
An important part of developing a BCP is a business continuity impact analysis. It identifies the effects of disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses the information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.
FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet to help run a business continuity analysis. The worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers who are well acquainted with the business. These worksheets will summarize the following:
- The impacts—both financial and operational—that stem from the loss of individual business functions and process
- Identifying when the loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts
Completing the analysis can help companies identify and prioritize the processes that have the most impact on the business's financial and operational functions. The point at which they must be recovered is generally known as the “recovery time objective.”
Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan
BCPs and disaster recovery plans are similar in nature, the latter focuses on technology and information technology (IT) infrastructure. BCPs are more encompassing—focusing on the entire organization, such as customer service and supply chain.
BCPs focus on reducing overall costs or losses, while disaster recovery plans look only at technology downtimes and related costs. Disaster recovery plans tend to involve only IT personnel—which create and manage the policy. However, BCPs tend to have more personnel trained on the potential processes.
Why Is Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Important?
Businesses are prone to a host of disasters that vary in degree from minor to catastrophic and business continuity plans (BCPs) are an important part of any business. BCP is typically meant to help a company continue operating in the event of threats and disruptions. This could result in a loss of revenue and higher costs, which leads to a drop in profitability. And businesses can't rely on insurance alone because it doesn't cover all the costs and the customers who move to the competition.
What Should a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Include?
Business continuity plans involve identifying any and all risks that can affect the company's operations. The plan should also determine how those risks will affect operations and implement safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks. There should also be testing procedures to ensure these safeguards and procedures work. Finally, there should be a review process to make sure that the plan is up to date.
What Is Business Continuity Impact Analysis?
An important part of developing a BCP is a business continuity impact analysis which identifies the effects of disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses the information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.
FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet to help run a business continuity analysis.
These worksheets summarize the impacts—both financial and operational—that stem from the loss of individual business functions and processes. They also identify when the loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts.
Business continuity plans (BCPs) are created to help speed up the recovery of an organization filling a threat or disaster. The plan puts in place mechanisms and functions to allow personnel and assets to minimize company downtime. BCPs cover all organizational risks should a disaster happen, such as flood or fire.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. " Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis User Guide ," Pages 15 - 17. Accessed Sept. 5, 2021.
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