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Blair's ABC for a Successful Business Continuity Plan

April 12, 2024 by Blair Technology Solutions Inc.

In 2023, only 54% of Canadian businesses had developed a business continuity plan, while 22% reported incidents related to cyber threats. This is based on a 7th study we have conducted with Leger. It illustrates that Canadian businesses are falling further behind in protecting their businesses from unplanned downtime nor cyberattacks.

This is further exemplified by additional data from the National Cyber Security Alliance where it indicates that 60% of SMEs affected by a cyberattack close their doors within six months. Beyond mere data preservation, a well-designed BCP (Business Continuity Plan) is the cornerstone of operational resilience

In a world where cyber threats or hardware failures can strike at any moment, understanding and implementing the essential components of a business continuity plan becomes a strategic necessity for your company. From meticulously identifying risks to assessing their impact on your operations, each step plays a crucial role in preparing for unforeseen events.

This second article in our BCP series delves into the detailed steps necessary to construct it, helping you anticipate, react, and thrive in the face of unexpected challenges.

Need more reasons to create a BCP? Check out our previous article!

How to Develop Your Business Continuity Plan?

Blair offers a precise roadmap for developing a BCP that considers all risks and necessary plans. This methodology, based on that of the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII), is divided into four sections:

I. Comprehensive Analysis: Operational Risks, Business Impacts, and Continuity Strategies

·        Identify risks, threats, and vulnerabilities compromising your operations.

·        Conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) by assessing, among other things, financial, operational, and reputational consequences.

·        Identify strategies and countermeasures for business continuity, focusing on technology and recovery measures.

II. Proactive Preparation: Action Plans for Security, Business Continuity, and Employee Awareness

It would be unrealistic to say it is possible to prepare for every type of incident. Thus, the first essential question is to determine which incidents you want to anticipate. Do you prefer to prepare for potential ransomware attacks, identity thefts, or data center outages?

After answering this initial question, your team will embark on preparing three different plans:

·        Develop an incident response plan to ensure adequate preparation and coordination to respond to any informational incident.

·        Establish a business continuity plan to reduce recovery time and minimize operational consequences and their overall impacts on your company.
This plan is drafted with the assistance of each business unit of the company, which must answer the following question: "How would you continue your operations without IT?"

·        Implement a business continuity plan training program.

III. Comprehensive Preparation: Exercises, Audits, Communication, and Coordination with External Stakeholders

·        Establish a plan for exercises, testing, maintenance, and auditing.

·        Prepare a crisis communication plan for fast and effective communications.

·        Draft policies and procedures for external partners, in accordance with requirements.

It is important to note that the support of top management is imperative for the mandate, closely followed by the essential engagement of each business unit. It is crucial to understand each unit's specific needs, guiding them through thorough reflection.

In summary

There is still work to be done regarding BCP awareness. In 2023, business still underestimated the obvious risks for businesses and consumers as we saw from the IT Trends statistics. Beyond data preservation, a well-designed BCP has become essential in a world facing constant threats.

3 key points to remember:

  • It is crucial that each business unit is involved in the thorough reflection process to align needs with IT.
  • The mandate for a BCP must come from top management to define the company's strategic priorities.
  • Your company must be proactive in preparing its specific action plans and in raising awareness among its employees. This includes exercises, audits, and effective communication.

Anticipate, react, thrive – your operational resilience will keep you out of the headlines.

Download Blair's methodology document now to master the continuity of your business by completing the form!