As cyberthreats and your organization’s needs evolve, it is vital that your business continuity plan (BCP) evolves alongside them to ensure your company remains resilient. There is no set time to review a BCP, as all businesses and their needs are different. However, there are events that signal it might be time to review at least part of your BCP to determine if changes are needed or perform a test of your plan to ensure efficacy.
When to review your business continuity plan?
Here are some key indicators your BCP is in need of review:
A year has gone by
This should apply to all businesses, regardless of how the year went. In the IT world, a year can be very eventful, so it’s important to take stock of advances in both business technology and cyberattacks. The threat of natural disasters remains more or less the same, but the ways a cyberattack can shut down your business grow in number and sophistication constantly.
Therefore, yearly reviews of your BCP are recommended even if it has been a “quiet year.” It may not be necessary to conduct a comprehensive, item-by-item review, but some level of assessment should occur.
Your regulatory compliance requirements have changed
If you are beholden to data security regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, or PCI DSS, you know that these regulations are not static and are constantly being updated. Keeping up with these changes is your responsibility. If you want to avoid fines, keep a close eye on any new regulatory developments, and adjust your BCP accordingly to ensure you stay compliant.
There has been a change in leadership
A BCP is only as strong as the leadership that directs and carries it out. If key personnel in IT or any other vital department have changed, then it is prudent to review your BCP, at least with the new team member. This will not only familiarize them with the BCP procedures, but also give them an opportunity to provide their unique insight to improve and refine your plan.
Your organization has undergone a restructuring
If your company has merged, been acquired, expanded, or just restructured, then it is an ideal time for a BCP review. Your plan should be tailored to your organization, its operations, and unique needs. If the organization changes, the BCP must change with it to ensure effectiveness. Depending on the scope of the restructuring, a full revamp of your BCP might not be necessary, but in most cases you’ll need to make significant changes.
Your supply chain has changed or you are working with new partners
If your operations depend on partners or strict supply chains, then your BCP should include them as vital considerations to your recovery. If your supply chain has gone through significant changes or you have begun working with a new major partner, then it is a good time to reapproach your BCP. This ensures it includes them and how to manage interactions and communications.
You’ve just gone through a disaster recovery process or held a major emergency drill
If you have to actually utilize your BCP, whether during an unforeseen disaster or a practice run, the last thing you might want to do is look at your BCP some more. But this is the best time for a review, as it enables you to incorporate what you have learned from the incident or drill immediately into your plan. There’s no substitute for actual experience, so don’t squander it by failing to review after a business continuity event.
Reviews can be tedious, but they don’t have to be
As time-consuming as BCP reviews might be, you can’t afford to neglect them, as your business’s survival is at stake. However, an experienced IT services provider can provide expert BCP review services that ensure a meticulous update to your plan with minimal effort required from you.
Fidelis has been providing these services to businesses of all shapes and sizes in the greater Seattle area for over 15 years, and we can keep your BCP updated and personalized to your evolving needs. Contact us today to get started.