Making sure your organization can survive an event or disaster is an important element of managing today’s businesses. Government agencies and many large businesses now require their subcontractors to have regularly tested recovery and business continuity plans to ensure that there is no, or only a small, interruption in operations. As a result, there is a continuing need to develop and improve plans to meet constantly changing business needs.
Important components of such a plan includes a description of the scope of the program to ensure a viable response capability, specific IT, facility, and business unit plans and procedures; possible alternate facilities; interoperable communications and notifications; vital records and database storage; testing, training, and practice exercises; logistics and administration; and security are all vital components of such a plan. There will be a continual process of transfer of knowledge throughout the process.
Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is performed to identify an organization’s critical resources and processes. The BIA is then utilized to produce the overall strategy for an organization’s business recovery program. A strategy can be implemented within a set of procedures consolidated into one easy-to-follow plan to keep the organization functioning, if a disaster were to occur or in several component plans, whichever better meets the enterprise’s needs.
JANUS experts understand the importance of the BIA as an effective beginning to a recovery or continuity program. In it, we focus on those business processes and technology needs within the scope of the recovery program. We work with you to assess the impact of interruptions on operations and business processes and analyze the ramifications of each identified process interruption. We then provide data on those processes necessary to reduce the negative effects of these potential disasters.
Recovery, Continuity Planning
The first step in producing a plan is in planning your needed strategy. This normally consists of three parts: emergency response, recovery, and resumption. Emergency response encompasses the initial actions taken to protect lives, limit damage, and communicate effectively to interested parties. Recovery refers to the steps that are taken to continue support for critical functions. Resumption is the return to normal operations.
The relationship between recovery and resumption is important. The longer it takes to resume normal operations, the longer the organization will have to operate in the recovery mode. After identifying critical missions and business functions, the next step is to identify supporting resources, the time frames in which each resource is used (e.g., is the resource needed constantly or only at the end of the month?) in order to include accurate information and establish goals for the plan that equate to the effect on the mission or business of the unavailability of the resource.
There is a consistent need to identify training or awareness programs geared to the maintenance of plans. Testing and exercising of current capabilities are essential to demonstrating and improving the ability of organizations to execute specific plans, under stress, during an event. They serve to validate, or identify for subsequent correction, specific aspects of plan, policies, procedures, systems, and facilities. This provides your employees with a better understanding of the plan, what its functions are, and how to work with it.
Periodic testing helps ensure that equipment and procedures are maintained in a constant state of readiness for the possible eventuality that they might be needed. The success of your plan can be measured by being able to validate, correct and implement plans, policies, procedures, systems and the facility components within your plan successfully. An on-going schedule of exercises and drills must be undertaken in order for your plan to work if, and when needed.
JANUS can help you focus on exercises and drills that are consistent with both the range of potential hazards to your operations and to the size and scale of events that may manifest themselves. The exercises and drills can take a variety of forms based on the intended purpose of the evaluation and the scale of the event being evaluated, including tabletops, drills and full-scale exercises. All of these form the basic building blocks that will ensure you have the knowledge and proper components of a successful plan in place and ready to go should a worst-case scenario emerge.
Once a plan is in place, some organizations believe that they have completed the project. They put the plan on a shelf and do nothing with it. This is a mistake. The business and IT environments change regularly; so must the plan. It should be brought up-to-date on a regular schedule, depending on how often your environment changes. JANUS staff have many years of experience in maintaining plans for our customers and can assist you to keep this vital process in good working order in the event it is needed.
JANUS is often called upon to review plans and advise our clients on the thoroughness, the clarity, the efficiency, and the accuracy of their plans. We have worked with a broad selection of plans across many industries and organizations and can bring expertise to your operation, advising you on the weaknesses of your plans and how to improve them.