The global efforts to control and contain the COVID-19 pandemic is a blunt and brutal reminder of the necessity of solid Business Continuity Management. The widespread quarantine has suddenly made digital workspaces vital and cybercriminals are keen to take advantage. Do you have a plan in place to protect or recover the IT systems that are vital to keep your business running?
The old Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared" has never been more relevant. As global efforts to contain the outbreak of corona virus have effectively shut down nations across the world, organizations are scrambling to keep their businesses running. This includes shifting work efforts to digital workplaces as staff members are confined to their own homes and have to conduct business without access to many of the tools, they normally take for granted.
Business critical IT depends on the context
For some, the shift is fairly painless. Some industries are naturally suited for remote work and can maintain business as usual through video conferences and VPN's. For others, being denied access to vital production systems or physical equipment forces everything to a painful stop.
But even organizations in the best position to keep functioning are forced to reevaluate which of their IT systems that are most business-critical. How long are employees able to continue working if they lose access to their digital collaboration tools or cloud-based communications platform? The IT staff need to be able to provide remote support, ensure that there are enough licenses for everyone and keep security tight in an unfamiliar situation.
Heightened security is especially important, as cybercriminals are eager to take advantage of the state of confusion. There have already been numerous reports of phishing mails claiming to be from health authorities. The cybercriminals know that many employees are working outside the usually well-protected IT systems of their regular workplaces. Some employees may even use creative methods that do not comply with company cybersecurity procedures simply to get work done.
Preparation is everything
While few could have predicted the scale and rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event of a crisis disrupting business operations is not new. Every business should prepare and plan how to respond if business critical IT systems and networks become unavailable. Properly executed Business Continuity Management means the difference between a few heroic individuals trying to hold everything together and a well-prepared contingency plan being activated at exactly the right time.
First and foremost, Business Continuity Management is the art of due diligence and proper planning before a crisis strikes. IT systems need to be assessed and categorized according to how essential they are for business operation, so that the most important systems can be prioritized in the event of an emergency. A dedicated IT response team must be established and assigned responsibility for all tasks, such as ensuring backups and restoring operations. It should always be clear who has the authority and obligation to make decisions, so that actions can be taken with as little delay as possible.
Practice and evaluate
If a crisis hits, it is not enough to know which IT systems to prioritize and who is responsible for getting them back online. To ensure that the systems get restored in the right sequence and to avoid further delay and confusion, all procedures should be thoroughly documented in technical recovery plans.
The entire contingency setup must be tested regularly through drills and training sessions, which should of course be carefully evaluated. Not only will these drills reveal possible flaws in the contingency plans; they can also be used to refine and optimize both the contingency plans and business procedures.
With solid Business Continuity Management in place, your organization is much better equipped to handle a crisis, regardless of its scale and nature. This will allow you to quickly recognize, contain and counteract critical issues and get your business operations back to running smoothly in as little time as possible.
Take Business Continuity Management seriously today
If you want to know more about how NNIT can help you implement or improve your Business Continuity Management, do not hesitate to contact us and book an online meeting.