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The 8 Key Mistakes That Can Cripple Your Business Continuity Plan

The only way to continue your operations in case of setbacks is to enforce a well-thought-out business continuity plan. However, you’ll need to avoid several mistakes when developing your strategy.

Your operations may seem efficient and failproof, but the reality is that obstacles can happen at any time. Whether you’ve lost a major client or can’t achieve good team dynamics, it’s essential to keep going. 

That’s where your business continuity plan (BCP) comes into play. 

Your BCP outlines how your company will continue its operations during unplanned service disruptions. It’s more detailed than disaster recovery plans and features contingencies for processes, human resources, assets, and partners. It can also include checklists for equipment and supplies, data backups, and information on emergency responders. 

The contents may vary, but a BCP can help you overcome various issues and re-establish productivity to meet critical needs. However, the only way to reap the benefits of your BCP is to avoid making mistakes in the development stage. 

This article will outline the eight biggest mistakes you need to avoid when creating your business continuity plan.

The Eight Mistakes

Mistake #1 – Disregarding Your Employees

Organizations who want to get back on track after an unexpected incident should focus on the needs of their employees when devising a BCP. Otherwise, they may be running serious safety risks. 

So, plan for every situation that can affect your employees during disruptions. The list includes emergency communication protocols, evacuation routes, and many other key details. In doing so, you’ll ensure your team has all they need to weather the storm. 

Moreover, discuss the plan with your staff and elicit their input in critical safety matters. You can also tell them you’ll be there for support if a crisis takes place. This gives them peace of mind, knowing their leader cares about them. 

Mistake #2 – Not Considering Small Details

After creating a general BCP, many enterprises fail to think about specific details that ensure they can execute their plan. This is a huge mistake, as it can result in loss of data. 

The minor points you should incorporate into your BCP include logistical considerations, such as technology and medical aid support. 

For example, informing your medical providers about the plan is crucial because it enables them to make their arrangements on time. You should also tell your key personnel who to contact if they need medical assistance during accidents. Another great idea is to determine how your team can access data securely if they can’t make it to their office. 

Taking the smallest details into account can protect your data and even save your staff’s lives. Therefore, don’t leave the development to chance – go through the BCP regularly to make sure it’s effective and up to date. 

Mistake #3 – Failure To Show Your Staff How the Plan Works

While many leaders brood on downtime, they often fail to demonstrate to their team members how to execute the plan and minimize productivity decrease. 

As previously indicated, your employees are integral to the efficacy of your BCP. And the only way to perform their roles correctly is to become well-versed in the plan. 

To ensure this, explain how the staff should respond during crises. Tell them how to handle their clients if your systems go down. Don’t forget about the location and schedules that will be effective while the main office is off-limits. 

The final part is to have your team practice these tasks so they can complete them more easily when disasters strike. 

Mistake #4 – Prioritising Operational Continuity Over Team Safety

When accidents occur, it’s understandable why business owners focus on assessing the effects on their business. Nevertheless, considering operational continuity only and neglecting your staff’s safety well-being can have dire consequences. 

Your people are crucial to executing your BCP appropriately, so check on them first. Data plans that nobody can facilitate are useless, regardless of their effectiveness. 

You have to make sure your staff is safe and reachable after a crisis. The crisis management task force should be able to contact them easily and see if they can help them. 

This will help guarantee your team can bounce back after an accident and go back to work quickly.

Mistake #5 – Having Improper Tech Solutions

Waiting for natural disasters to strike before establishing toll-free hotlines for your employees is a huge mistake. Likewise, failure to set up data backups might render your systems useless in case of data breaches. 

If you have no proper technology to mitigate accidents, you could be exposing your business to higher risks, revenue loss, and prolonged downtime. 

To avert this, consult technology specialists or your IT sector to verify your system has all features and components that can keep your networks intact. Such a system should allow you to streamline communications, minimize downtime, and secure your workloads

Mistake #6 – Only One Person Manages the Plan

Developing a BCP all by yourself is possible, but it’s also more prone to error. A much better approach is to gather people across all your departments to account for all contingencies. Otherwise, you’ll restrict your team’s insight into all the processes and risks under your plan. 

Forming a BCP management team that involves multiple functions and departments offers a company-wide perspective to your planning. This diversity can help resolve problems and streamline your strategy.

Mistake #7 – Using Broad Generalizations

Continuity plans with broad generalizations often lead to uncertainty and confusion. A BCP needs to be concise and, if possible, explain each detail in short steps. Such forms enable anyone to understand the directions and visualize their roles. 

Mistake #8 – Skipping Risk Assessment

Risk assessments are a critical step that must take place before developing your BCP. As the name suggests, they can you help discover the potential risks in your area. 

Depending on the size of your organization, location, and activities, your company faces different risks. For example, there’s no need to plan for disaster recovery after a hurricane if your region isn’t prone to them. It would only increase your costs and waste time. 

Don’t Let Your Operations Grind to a Halt

A detailed BCP goes a long way in improving your response to disasters. Avoiding the above-mentioned mistakes will put you on the right track and help your staff cope with new conditions more easily. 

If you need help in creating your BCP, give us a call today. Let’s have an obligation-free chat to determine how we can help you.  


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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Creating an IT Compliance Policy – The 7 Things You Need to Consider

Conducting business operations in the digital world is prone to security risks. Mitigating them would be impossible if you don’t have an IT compliance policy.

Setting up a robust IT compliance policy in your business is more important now than ever. And it’s because most organizations now depend on digitized services. 

Online companies rely on e-commerce websites to do business by taking orders and receiving payments. Even brick-and-mortar organizations utilize software to perform various activities, such as order management and back-office accounting. 

In such tech-driven environments, a lack of proper security measures jeopardizes the business leader’s position. Their IT systems get abused, and their technology often becomes a source of scandals. 

The only way to avoid this possibility is to create a strong IT compliance policy. 

This article will cover key considerations when developing your system of IT compliance.

What You Need to Consider for IT Compliance Policies

Factor #1 – People, Processes, and How They Align to Tech

IT compliance isn’t just about technology – it also involves people and processes. And the reality is that many organizations focus heavily on their tech, resulting in failed audits due to their failure to consider the other two aspects. This makes the compliance world more complex. 

Taking the correct approach can help ensure your enterprise abides by the necessary standards.

Factor #2 – Relevant Laws and Regulations

Laws and regulations stipulate the policies that govern IT compliance requirements. Here are the most common ones: 

  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act – regulating financial reporting
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – governing non-public personal information and financial data
  • The Health Insurance and Accountability ACT – regulating health information that healthcare organizations process

Ultimately, you can’t start your compliance process without understanding the laws and regulations applicable to your organization.

You should also ascertain the controls that apply to these laws and regulations. They are process-oriented and technical means to adhere to your policies. 

There are various industry and government standards that specify them, including: 

  • Control Objectives for Information and Related IT 
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology 
  • Payment Card Industry Data 

These can have a massive bearing on your sector. Therefore, make sure to familiarize yourself with all relevant controls. 

Factor #3 – Raising Employee Awareness of the Importance of the Policy

One of the biggest threats to your data security is having untrained employees. Their actions can have a huge impact on cybersecurity. For instance, improper software upload, sharing, download, and storing can jeopardize critical information.

The reality is, many employees opt for insecure data transfer methods due to their convenience. Some of the tools they use are personal emails, consumer-grade collaboration apps, and instant messaging. All of these are ideal targets for cybercriminals. 

To prevent your business from becoming a victim, your users must learn and understand where various threats originate from. They should especially understand the actions that can give rise to vulnerabilities. 

Making file sharing a top priority and investing in proper education demonstrates the significance of IT compliance. Your efforts can help team members willing to adopt the best practices in this field. 

When developing your training plan, make sure to include several key topics: 

  • How insecure file transfer methods expose your company to risks 
  • Avoiding phishing scams
  • Precautions to exercise before using or downloading unsanctioned applications
  • The conditions for using and creating strong passwords

Factor #4 – How Your IT Policy Aligns With the Company’s Security Policies

Aligning IT compliance with your business operations involves understanding the culture of your organization. For example, your environment can revolve around either processes or ad-hoc ways of doing things. 

Enterprises aligning with the former are best off issuing in-depth policies to ensure compliance. 

By contrast, companies that match the latter require detective and preventive controls. They need to address specific risks associated with your policy. It helps various auditors understand why you’ve deployed a particular control or decided to face certain risks. 

Factor #5 – Understanding of the IT Environment

IT environments directly affect your IT policy compliance design. That said, there are two main kinds of environments: 

  • Homogeneous environments – These consist of standardized vendors, configurations, and models. They’re largely consistent with your IT deployment. 
  • Heterogeneous environments – The other type uses a wide range of security and compliance applications, versions, and technologies. 

Generally, compliance costs are lower in homogeneous environments. Fewer vendors and technology add-ons provide less complexity and fewer policies. As a result, the price of security and compliance per system isn’t as high as with heterogeneous solutions.

Regardless of your environment, your policy needs to appropriately tackle new technologies, including virtualization and cloud computing. 

Factor #6 – Establishment of Accountability

IT policy compliance doesn’t function without accountability. It entails defining organizational responsibilities and roles that determine the assets individuals need to protect. It also establishes who has the power to make crucial decisions. 

Accountability begins from the top and encompasses executives. And the best way to guarantee involvement is to cast IT policy compliance programs in terms of risks instead of technology. 

As for your IT providers, they have two pivotal roles: 

  • Data/system owners – The owner is part of your management team that’s responsible for data usage and care. Plus, they’re accountable for protecting and managing information. 
  • Data/system custodians – Custodial roles can entail several duties, such as system administration, security analysis, legal counseling, and internal auditing. 

These responsibilities are essential for IT policy compliance. For example, auditors need to carefully verify compliance activity execution. Otherwise, there’s no way to ensure the implementation is going according to plan. 

Factor #7 – Automation of the Compliance Process

Your IT continually evolves and grows. Internal auditors can only review a small number of user accounts and system configurations. 

Automation is the only way to ensure you can evaluate enough systems regularly. 

Breeze Through Your Business’s IT Compliance

Setting up well-designed IT compliance may be a long process, but it can make a world of difference in terms of business security. It keeps your business reputation intact and allows you to avoid penalties and fines. 

However, you’ll need to pay special attention to several aspects. And one of the most significant ones is your IT provider. 

If your IT isn’t living up to its potential, you’re bound to face compliance issues. This can cause tremendous stress and halt your operations. 

Luckily, there might be an easy way out of your predicament. Schedule a quick chat with us to discuss your IT problems and find out how to get more out of your provider. 


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.