Businesses face cyber threats all the time, and every organization needs to have a business continuity and recovery strategy to mitigate against cyber-attacks and other disruptions. In the wake of data breaches that continue to hit both small and large businesses, organizations are required to comply with regulations regarding data security and consumer privacy.
Once you comply with these regulations, you’ll be certified by the relevant regulatory agencies. These compliance certifications prove that you uphold best industry practices, and that you’re prepared for eventualities such as data breaches. They also provide a roadmap for recovering from disruptions that result from data breaches and other similar events.
Business continuity planning is a vital component of IT compliance and governance. A data breach disrupts your business operations and can force you to close shop if you fail to address it accordingly. When you embed a business continuity plan in your overall risk management strategy, it will be easier to recover from disruptions.
Compliance Certifications and Business Continuity
The most effective way of ensuring business continuity when disaster strikes is acquiring compliance certifications from the necessary agencies. Different government and private sector agencies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have enacted guidelines that cover topics ranging from risk management to crisis management.
These guidelines provide frameworks which you can use as the foundation of your business continuity plans. Some of the compliance certifications that relate to business continuity include:
- ISO 22301:2019
- ISO 22313:2012
- ISO/IEC 27031:2011
- National Fire Protection Association 1600; and
- NIST Special Publication 800-34 Rev. 1
Most compliance certifications have templates with preset forms, which organizations fill out when preparing their business continuity strategy documents. These certifications are only handed to organizations whose systems have been audited and proven to meet the highest standards.
Testing your organization’s business continuity and recovery plan is the surest way of knowing that it will work when disaster hits. Even so, a real incident is the true test of understanding how prepared your organization is.
Before you get certified, your systems will be tested to ensure that they are compliant with relevant regulations, and thus can withstand a major disruption. Contrary to popular perception, business continuity certifications don’t cost a fortune. Indeed, time and money must be spent in acquiring and implementing most certifications. Nonetheless, your organization is compliant, you’ll have a broad range of options when it comes to dealing with disasters.
You should keep in mind that business continuity compliance certification isn’t a one-off undertaking. New regulations will always get enacted by the relevant bodies. Furthermore, there’s always something new to learn every day. Staying apprised with the new regulations keeps you on top of things as far as maintaining your compliance stance is concerned.
Integrating Compliance Certifications with Your Business Continuity Plan
At some point, your organization will encounter a disruptive event. How you respond to such events determines whether you will recover or not. Compliance certifications help you improve the way you prepare and respond to the eventualities. They also ensure that you have an effective business continuity strategy in place to respond to any disruption and resume normal operations within the shortest time possible.
To effectively integrate your compliance certifications with the business continuity strategy that you have in place, ensure that the overall business continuity program is built on the tenets of these certifications. Employee training and regular reviews ought to be done so that you keep up with new trends.
As part of your business continuity plan and ongoing compliance efforts, you should undertake business impact analysis regularly. This way, you will get a clear picture of the potential impact of a disruption on your business operations. Besides, the analysis helps you to identify the dependencies, resources, and critical activities that support your organization’s key services and products.
Before attaining any compliance certification from a regulatory body, audits must be undertaken. These audits help you to identify weaknesses in your operational setup as well as your organization’s resilience and ability to recover from business disruption.
Regulatory agencies also offer training courses meant to ensure that your organization meets all requirements and that you are up to speed with any new regulations. therefore, you set your organizations apart when you make compliance certifications part of your business continuity strategy.
Business disruptions can occur at any time. One way to ensure that your business continuity strategy succeeds is by integrating it with compliance certifications that apply to you. Rather than stifling your operations, these certifications are meant to help you recover from disruptions.
Likewise, keep in mind that service providers also play an essential role when it comes to business continuity and recovery. Therefore, you should try to find out what they do to ensure business continuity, and use that as a learning tool to prepare for business disruptions.