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Marcin Laskoś

IT risk management

How does Business Continuity protect against the unexpected?

The modern world increasingly relies on IT, and IT downtime can have serious consequences for businesses and their customers. IT risk management is therefore becoming crucial to the successful operation of organizations. One of the most important tools in this area is Business Continuity, which enables an organization to maintain business continuity despite unexpected events. How can a Business Continuity Plan protect IT companies from the consequences of incidents that are difficult to predict? In the face of increasing threats such as cyber-attacks or hardware failures, Business Continuity issues are becoming particularly important for maintaining business stability.

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What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A Business Continuity Plan is a comprehensive strategy that aims to ensure the continuity of an organization’s operations in crises. It is important to highlight the differences between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery – the former focuses on maintaining the continuity of key business processes. In contrast, the latter focuses on disaster recovery of IT infrastructure. The Disaster Recovery Plan mainly focuses on restoring the operation of IT systems after a failure or disaster, including servers and other IT equipment. The Business Continuity Plan, on the other hand, focuses on ensuring business continuity of key business processes in crises, such as server failure, through alternative solutions and action plans.


Why is Business Continuity crucial for uninterrupted operations?

Business Continuity, or business continuity, is a key element in IT due to many factors. Many industries are susceptible to a variety of threats, and the consequences of such threats can be catastrophic for businesses.

Firstly, the IT environment is dynamic and constantly evolving, which increases the risk of problems. Cyberattacks, hardware and software failures, and human error are common threats that can lead to business downtime. In the case of IT, where system availability and data security are key, any downtime can be costly and lead to financial losses and damage to the company’s reputation.

An example of the powerful impact of the lack of Business Continuity is the 2017 WannaCry attack. This virus quickly spread around the world, paralyzing the operations of many companies and institutions. The impact of this attack was enormous, resulting in losses estimated in the billions of dollars. Companies that did not have effective Business Continuity plans in place were particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences that followed this disaster.

As a result, implementing a Business Continuity solution is becoming essential for companies operating in more than just IT. Such a plan allows for a rapid response in the event of problems, minimizing downtime and reducing the negative impact on the business and customers. This allows the company to safeguard its core business and maintain the trust of customers and business partners, even in crises.


Elements of an effective Business Continuity Plan

An effective Business Continuity Plan consists of several key elements:

  1. Business Impact Analysis – this is the process of identifying and assessing the potential impact of business interruption on key business processes, it helps identify priorities for protecting IT assets and infrastructure.
  2. Identification of critical IT assets – this is the process of identifying the key elements of the IT infrastructure that are required to ensure business continuity. This includes identifying systems, applications, data, and other resources whose absence could cause significant business disruption.
  3. Risk minimization and rapid recovery strategies – the Business Continuity plan should include strategies to minimize the risk of disruption to IT systems and to quickly restore their functionality in the event of problems. These may include solutions such as regular backups, data replication, use of cloud solutions, or infrastructure redundancy.
  4. Regularly test and update the BCP plan – the plan should not be a one-off document, but rather a living tool that is constantly evolving with the company and changing threats. Regular testing of the plan and updates are essential to ensure its effectiveness in emergencies. Digital simulations, for example, allow the plan to work in practice and identify areas for improvement.
  5. Crisis communication plan – in addition to the Business Continuity plan itself, it is also important to include a crisis communication plan, which sets out the procedures and communication tools that will be used in such an event to ensure that information is shared quickly and effectively between the teams responsible for managing the crisis.

All of these elements together form a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan, which aims to minimize disruption to the business and quickly restore normal operations in the event of a disaster or crisis.

Having a well-prepared Business Continuity Plan is essential to minimize risk and ensure the stability of the business despite unexpected events. The implementation and continuous improvement of a Business Continuity Plan in organizations not only allows for an effective response but also forms an integral part of the business strategy, supporting the sustainability of the company.

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