Business Continuity Management (BCM) Explained (BCM)
Business Continuity Management (BCM) is essential for business resilience. It is part of a company’s larger plan to manage internal or external changes that disrupt or stop a business.
What is Business Continuity Management (BCM)?
Business continuity management is the set of proactive measures that a business takes in order to avoid losses resulting from major events that have a negative impact on a business. These events include hostile mergers or acquisitions, leadership changes, natural disasters, ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other changes that impact company data and assets.
Key areas to protect in BCM include, but are not limited to:
- Human ressources
- Hardware and software
- Products, both physical and intellectual
BCM involves several closely related activities. Some examples include disaster recovery, emergency management, incident management, and contingency planning. To maximize preparedness and resilience, some businesses purchase business interruption insurance (BII) after writing a business impact analysis (BIA) to estimate losses for various scenarios.
Despite all the right actions, like patching software, implementing a zero-trust policy, training employees, and other proactive security measures, a business can never fully protect itself. against natural or malicious events. When an attack occurs, businesses ideally have an up-to-date Incident Response Plan (IRP) in place.
A company prepares for and manages the inevitable event that upsets one or more aspects of its operation, but then what? A business continuity plan complements disaster planning by focusing on recovery and resilience.
To learn more about the impact of current work patterns on IT security, also read: Working from anywhere requires more resilient computing
Benefits of BCM
Implementing BCM has many benefits that are well worth the investment.
Reduce downtime and costs
With an effective business continuity plan in place, your business will quickly resume normal operations. Reduced downtime translates into less loss not only in terms of revenue, but also customers and employees. BCM decreases the likelihood that your business will come to a screeching halt or, worse, close.
The faster your business gets back up and running, the fewer losses it suffers. Implementing business continuity also saves your organization from being trapped in negligence litigation and having to pay hefty fines.
Successfully managing a harmful situation by protecting the data of customers, partners, employees and suppliers earns the trust of the parties concerned. BCM reassures stakeholders that their data, assets and investments are in good hands.
When incidents occur, they present valuable learning opportunities. Your business benefits from the wisdom to further improve its response metrics. You’ll also have a better idea of what to expect in the event of an attack or disruption to business operations.
A business continuity plan is not a one-time task. It requires continuous review as threats and your business evolve. As your business grows and evolves over time, you will need regular updates to your plan.
BCM Use Case Examples
BCM is more of a priority in some industries than others.
Financial institutions hold a lot of sensitive information about consumer and business finances, credit information, etc. Therefore, companies in this industry are subject to multiple governing bodies.
For example, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) enforces a set of standards with which US financial institutions must comply. One set of standards to follow relates to cybersecurity awareness and ensuring institutions identify, assess, and mitigate cybersecurity risks to their businesses and third-party service providers.
HIPAA requires healthcare companies to protect patient privacy, data and records. For example, the HIPAA security rule declared national standards that insurance companies, medical providers, etc. must follow to protect patient health information. This means that they need appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect patient data.
SaaS and the supply chain
Companies frequently vet third-party SaaS vendors, requiring a business continuity plan in order to do business with them. A company will want to know what preventive measures the SaaS company is taking. That way, if something goes wrong, the SaaS company will have a plan in place to minimize disruption to the downstream chain.
Learn more about IT Business Edge: How to prevent third-party vulnerabilities
Pro tips for BCM
- Brainstorm and write down as many potential and realistic scenarios as possible
- Have a plan and backup plans for every scenario
- Every plan within BCM needs goals and policies that align with those goals
- Measure the performance of each scenario-plan as part of the larger business continuity plan
- Continually assess and, if necessary, revise parts of your business continuity plan
- Invest in business continuity software to help manage and update business continuity plans
Not a question of “if” but of “when”: is your business ready?
Could your business, in its current state, face a dreadful event? Could he resume his operations without missing a beat, perhaps come out even stronger?
The effort and foresight you put into business continuity management will be a key factor in determining how quickly your business bounces back after a setback.
Read next: How to Create a Business Continuity Plan