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Understanding the Business Continuity Plan and Its Importance

Lukas Grigas
Cybersecurity Content Writer

These days, cybercrime is rampant. It's no longer a matter of “if” you're going to suffer an attack but “when” it will happen. All companies want to be ready for any crisis. And this is where a business continuity plan comes into play.

But what is a business continuity plan exactly? Why is it important? What should one include? Today, we're exploring all these questions in-depth.

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that sets guidelines for how an organization will continue its operations in the event of a disruption, whether it's a fire, flood, other natural disaster or a cybersecurity incident. A BCP aims to help organizations resume operations without significant downtime.

Unfortunately, according to a 2020 Mercer survey, 51% of businesses across the globe don't have a business continuity plan in place.

What's the difference between business continuity and disaster recovery plans?

We often confuse the terms business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan. The two overlap and often work together, but the disaster recovery plan focuses on containing, examining, and restoring operations after a cyber incident. On the other hand, BCP is a broader concept that considers the whole organization. A business continuity plan helps organizations stay prepared for dealing with a potential crisis and usually encompasses a disaster recovery plan.

Importance of business continuity planning

The number of news headlines announcing data breaches has numbed us to the fact that cybercrime is very real and frequent and poses an existential risk to companies of all sizes and industries.

Consider that in 2021, approximately 37% of global organizations fell victim to a ransomware attack. Then consider that business interruption and restoration costs account for 50% of cyberattack-related losses. Finally, take into account that most cyberattacks are financially motivated and the global cost of cybercrime topped $6 trillion last year. The picture is quite clear — cybercrime is a lucrative venture for bad actors and potentially disastrous for those on the receiving end.

To thrive in these unpredictable times, organizations go beyond conventional security measures. Many companies develop a business continuity plan parallel to secure infrastructure and consider the plan a critical part of the security ecosystem. Having a comprehensive BCP can significantly reduce the downtime in an emergency and, in turn, reduce the potential reputational damage and — of course — revenue losses.

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What does a business continuity plan typically include?

Organizations looking to develop a BCP have more than a few things to think through and consider. Variables such as the size of the organization, its IT infrastructure, personnel, and resources all play a significant role in developing a continuity plan. Remember, each crisis is different, and each organization will have a view on handling it according to all the variables in play. However, all business continuity plans will include a few elements in one way or another.

  • Clearly defined areas of responsibility

    A BCP should define specific roles and responsibilities for cases of emergency. Detail who is responsible for what tasks and clarify what course of action a person in a specific position should take. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities in an emergency event allow you to act quickly and decisively and minimize potential damage.

  • Crisis communication plan

    In an emergency, communication is vital. It is the determining factor when it comes to crisis handling. For communication to be effective, it is critical to establish clear communication pipelines. Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that alternative communication channels should not be overlooked and outlined in a business continuity plan.

  • Recovery teams

    A recovery team is a collective of different professionals who ensure that business operations are restored as soon as possible after the organization confronts a crisis.

  • Alternative site of operations

    Today, when we think of an incident in a business environment, we usually think of something related to cybersecurity. However, as discussed earlier, a BCP covers many possible disasters. In a natural disaster, determine potential alternate sites where the company could continue to operate.

  • Backup power and data backups

    Whether a cyber event or a real-life physical event, ensuring that you have access to power is crucial if you wish to continue operations. In a BCP, you can often come across lists of alternative power sources such as generators, where such tools are located, and who should oversee them. The same applies to data. Regularly scheduled data backups can significantly reduce potential losses incurred by a crisis event.

  • Recovery guidelines

    If a crisis is significant, a comprehensive business continuity plan usually includes detailed guidelines on how the recovery process will be carried out.

Business continuity planning steps

Here are some general guidelines that an organization looking to develop a BCP should consider:

Analysis

A business continuity plan should include an in-depth analysis of everything that could negatively affect the overall organizational infrastructure and operations. Assessing different levels of risk should also be a part of the analysis phase.

Design and development

Once you have a clear overview of potential risks your company could face, start developing a plan. Create a draft and reassess it to see if it takes into account even the smallest of details.

Implementation

Implement BCP within the organization by providing training sessions for the staff to get familiar with the plan. Getting everyone on the same page regarding crisis management is critical.

Testing

Rigorously test the plan. Play out a variety of scenarios in training sessions to learn the overall effectiveness of the continuity plan. By doing so, everyone on the team will be closely familiar with the business continuity plan's guidelines.

Maintenance and updating

Because the threat landscape constantly changes and evolves, you should regularly reassess your BCP and take steps to update it. By making your continuity plan in tune with the times, you will be able to stay a step ahead of a crisis.

Level up your company's security with NordPass Business

A comprehensive business continuity plan is vital for the entire organization's security posture. However, in a perfect world, you wouldn't have to use it. This is where NordPass Business can help.

Remember, weak, reused, or compromised passwords are often cited as one of the top contributing factors in data breaches. It's not surprising, considering that an average user has around 100 passwords. Password fatigue is real and significantly affects how people treat their credentials. NordPass Business counters these issues.

With NordPass Business, your team will have a single secure place to store all work-related passwords, credit cards, and other sensitive information. Accessing all the data stored in NordPass is quick and easy, which allows your employees not to be distracted by the task of finding the correct passwords for the correct account.

In cyber incidents, NordPass Business ensures that company credentials remain secure at all times. Everything stored in the NordPass vault is secured with advanced encryption algorithms, which would take hundreds of years to brute force.

If you are interested in learning more about NordPass Business and how it can fortify corporate security, do not hesitate to book a demo with our representative.

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