In a previous article we defined the role of a Business Continuity (BC) Plan following a security breach. This article will describe the importance and benefits of having a solid BC Plan in place before and after a Cyberattack or other security breach occurs.
The Benefits of A Business Continuity (BC) Plan
- It mitigates the risk of future Cyberattacks. In today’s world, everybody is at risk of becoming a victim, so it’s vital to actually mitigate that risk. A BC Plan can substantially aid in this process because you will be much better prepared to deal with a future security breach if in the unfortunate chance you are impacted yet again.
- It can help during an audit. If you are ever faced with any kind of compliance audit, one of the key things auditors will ask is if you have a plan in place to resume business operations following a security breach. If you have a BC Plan, you can produce it immediately for the auditor. In so doing, you may well avoid facing huge financial penalties.
- Cost prevention. By knowing ahead of time what you need, you will save great expense down the road should you need to restore your business and its associated processes/operations, literally from the ground up. This is the exact situation that we are facing with the Coronavirus pandemic today. Many businesses were caught off guard by not having a BC Plan in place ahead of time and practicing it. As a result, many of those businesses were left scrambling as they tried to figure how to best provision their employees in literally just a few days’ time.
- Brand reputation. No matter how large or small a business is, there is a common consequence of being impacted by a Cyberattack or other disaster: You will quickly lose your brand reputation and the faith of your customers. Remember, it takes a long time to gain a customer, but only seconds to lose them to your competition. The longer your downtime is, the worse it will get. But if you have the right BC Plan in place, you can rest assured that your business will be up and running in a matter of hours. Although there could be some damage to your company’s image, you should be able to restore your reputation fairly quickly.
- You’ll gain a better understanding of your processes. Part of crafting a BC Plan requires going through each and every process and operation in your business, see how it works in detail, and from there, formulate the steps that are needed when those processes are down. Although this can be a laborious and time-consuming process, there is a side benefit: You will discover which of those processes and/or operations are not running efficiently, giving you the opportunity to make them more efficient. This process will help you increase productivity and realize a positive return to your bottom line.
- You’ll discover where integrations that exist. When crafting a BC Plan, one methodology that you will likely use is what is known as the “Business Impact Analysis,” or BIA for short. Through BIA, you will get a very clear perspective on all of the technologies that are housed within your IT and Network Infrastructure. But importantly, you will also get a detailed view into how they all interact with one another. This can help in understanding exactly how the information and data flows into your business, how it is processed inside of it, and how it is stored in your databases. If any inefficiencies are discovered in the integration of your technologies, now will be the time to make the necessary improvements to them.
- You’ll identify points of consolidation. In the world of Cybersecurity, the common thinking has always been that the more security technologies you have in place, the better off you will be. In other words, to use the proverbial term, there is safety in numbers. As a result, many businesses have procured tools from many different vendors, which has led to a huge sprawl. Apart from being expensive to maintain, this scenario actually increases the attack surface for a Cyberattacker to strike. Thus, many CIOs and CISOs are starting to realize that it may be far better to have just a fraction of the entire total but place them strategically on the lines of defense where they can offer the most robust protection. Another key benefit of developing a detailed BC Plan is that you will see where all your security technologies lie, and to decide how you can consolidate them into perhaps just a few tools. As the CIO or CISO, if you can prove these kinds of cost savings to your Board of Directors, there will be a far greater chance that you will get a bigger Cyber budget.
- Organizational efficiencies. By having a rock-solid BC Plan in place, you can assure your customers, your outside vendors, and your all-important shareholders that your business is well-structured and organized, and well-positioned to recover from any kind or type of security breach that it may face. Equally important, it will help immensely in securing a good Cybersecurity insurance policy. In fact, many of the more reputable insurance companies look at all kinds of factors before they will issue an insurance policy. Having a BC Plan shows an insurance company that you are not in a high-risk category, and if and when you file a claim, there is a much greater likelihood that you will get all of your money.
- Faster response times. A critical component of the BC Plan is to not only have a communications sub plan, but also who will be responsible for what. Remember, everything cannot fall onto the hands of the IT Department, because not all your assets will be digital in nature; many of them will be physical. Therefore, your BC Plan will need to specify who will be responsible for what. You should rehearse all of these activities at least on a semi-annual basis. It would be preferable to this once a quarter, just to make sure that everybody stays on their A-Game. By having a BC Plan and practicing it, you will have very quick response times in getting your business back up and running, and confusion in the communications process will be greatly mitigated.
If you are the CIO and/or CISO for your business, your day is probably filled with stomach churning tasks to complete and questions from your higher ups. Having a solid BC Plan in place will leave you with one less major situation to worry about, giving you more time to focus on how to fight off those threat variants. Also, seeing how there is much more pressure being applied to CIOs and CISOs for accountability, you will be one step ahead of this by producing your BC Plan, on demand, if and when you are asked for it, whether it be your CEO, Board of Directors, or external auditors.
Ravi Das is a Cybersecurity Consultant and Business Development Specialist. He also does Cybersecurity Consulting through his private practice, RaviDas Tech, Inc. He is also studying for his Certificate In Cybersecurity through the ISC2.