Business Continuity Best Practices: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
Author: Puja Ghiya, MBA, CSM
Ben Franklin was many things to many people, including a risk management visionary.
His famous quote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” is the cornerstone of modern business continuity management.
If you are seeing this quote for the first time, reread it.
We all know that if you don’t set goals and track your progress, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your ability to prepare for all potential threats will dictate the trajectory of your business. But here’s the rub, planning for every threat your organization may face is impossible.
So, what’s a savvy risk manager to do?
Modern Day Events Amplify the Need for Business Continuity Planning and Incident Management
Unforeseen events continue to highlight the need for a proactive approach to business continuity planning. Some of these include:
- The COVID-19 pandemic;
- The California wildfires of 2022; and
- Recent extreme weather events in states like CA and TX.
In each case, FIs had to shift to a remote work plan. This dynamic gave birth to a new wave of challenges related to how they would continue to:
- Effectively communicate and collaborate;
- Manage cyber risks; and
- Protect customer and member data.
Most banks closed their branches and offices during the height of the pandemic. This shift drastically changed how they interacted with customers. Activities that used to happen in person were no longer possible. For example, branch visits from borrowers to verify creditworthiness or sign a loan document moved online. As a result, frontline employees had to adjust quickly to the new normal!
This shift caused organizations to digitize some of their operations. To make this happen, they had to ensure 100% uptime for remote workers. Initially, financial institutions struggled with the wide-scale provisioning of laptops. In addition, security obstacles, network challenges, and data security and privacy risks were all major problems.
Extreme Weather & Wildfires in CA & Other Unforeseen Weather Events
Does your disaster recovery strategy include a remote work plan for all employees? If so, great! But don’t stop there. If workers are displaced, they may not have the correct mindset to focus on work. What then?
What happens when WFH isn’t possible in the wake of a disaster? Many FIs have found out recently.
- As wildfires ravaged California, thousands were displaced from their homes. As a result, many employees suddenly had to leave their jobs or relocate to a different branch.
- The historic ice storm that recently hit Texas is another example. Long-term power outages and freezing temperatures made remote work impossible for many workers.
- More recently, damaging winds, flash flooding, blizzard conditions, and landslides caused massive power outages and forced thousands of California residents to evacuate their residences. These events put an enormous strain on a region not typically exposed to such severe conditions.
Critical Components of a Successful Business Continuity Plan
A solid business continuity plan should focus on the following:
- Understanding your core business functions;
- Identifying dependencies; and
- Developing strategies to help combat the impact of a disastrous event.
Business continuity events have three critical impact areas:
- Operations; and
As senior management considers the potential impact of an event, they must identify risks within each category and determine how to mitigate them.
How to Stay One Step Ahead
Many organizations have had to reevaluate their disaster recovery strategies in recent years. Unforeseen events have forced them to:
- Reconsider their business continuity plans and disaster recovery strategies, and
- Amplify their preparedness for future events.
Solutions to Your Business Continuity Challenges
The world is changing fast. As a result, financial institutions must:
- Get more creative with their continuity plans.
- Select a passionate and focused team member to implement the plan.
- Place more emphasis on leveraging incident management solutions to deal with unplanned interruptions and mitigate the impact on their business.
BCP isn’t a one-person job; nobody can be on call 24/7. That’s where automated incident management solutions enter the equation. These tools make life easier for the person (or people) in charge of your BCP plan. They do this by improving the quality and speed of incident detection, reporting, management, and resolution.
Introducing WolfPAC’s Automated Incident Management Solution
WolfPAC’s Incident Management solution enables incident coordinators to:
- Simulate possible scenarios,
- Operationalize procedures,
- Enhance continuity plans and recovery strategies, and
- Coordinate and track activities for an unplanned event in real-time.
This offering is complementary to WolfPAC’s Business Continuity module. We built it to help you create and maintain business continuity plans and recovery strategies based on real-time data and post-crisis feedback.
Our customers love this tool because it helps them automate and centralize the tedious work of ensuring that they can quickly and effectively normalize operations in the wake of an unplanned event.