As the contemporary environment for doing business evolves, tearing down frontiers and connecting people through the latest technological developments, new opportunities constantly appear; but so do new challenges and up until now unknown dangers. And in a world where time is money and speed is valued tremendously, companies have to stay ahead of the game by preparing proactive plans for keeping afloat in case of a disaster: today, having a business continuity plan is almost as bit as essential as having a business.
IT Vulnerabilities Could Have Devastating Effects on Business Continuity
One of the key areas you need to implement a detailed BCP is IT management and infrastructure. All companies nowadays maintain some sort of online presence and manage personal data – be it from users, vendors, or their very own employees. Your IT infrastructure is also home to your communications and sensitive information about your enterprise’s know-how, your upcoming business strategy and future plans, your product formula or services approach: in essence, all that makes your company a contender in the market.
The more data you process, the more devastating the consequences of a data breach: in September and then in December 2016, Yahoo announced two past data breaches that had compromised over 3 billion user accounts, including names, birthdates and email credentials. The company’s reputation took a big hit right in the middle of negotiations to be bought out by Verizon, which ultimately saw its final price drop over £250 million.
In 2014, JPMorgan Chase, one of the most powerful banks worldwide, suffered a hacker attack that affected 76 million households – over half of the US population – and seven million small businesses, making the hackers roughly £75 million richer. And this despite the fact that the bank spends almost £200 million on cybersecurity annually – which means that even if you have proper protection in place, you always need to account for the unforeseen.
Proactive is Good, but Disaster Recovery Is Necessary: the Cornerstone of Efficient BCP
Danish shipping giant Maersk has revealed that during the infamous NoPetya malware attack – which affected the company for two weeks and cost it roughly £200 million – the company’s employees were forced to communicate via WhatsApp on their private phones and communicate through Twitter and Post-It notes to keep the company going. That is not exactly a stellar approach – and the Danish enterprise has disclosed that in the hopes of raising awareness about the vulnerabilities that contemporary dependence on technology entails.
Implementing a comprehensive business continuity plan that focuses on disaster recovery is key to avoiding a bad experience like the one Maersk had. Recently, disaster recovery, which aims at ensuring full business continuity by supporting time-sensitive business processes and functions, has been treated as increasingly important in enterprise computing budgets, often rising to 20-25% of the total IT computing expenses.
Yet a good business continuity plan only works if everybody is in on it: employee training and clear assignment of roles are essential for a successful implementation of BCP. As always, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.