If you are new to continuity, risk, and/or resilience, you’ve come to the right place. These topics can seem overwhelming at first, but if you break them down into smaller components, they are much easier to absorb. Let’s start from the beginning.
What are business continuity, risk management, and operational resilience?
Business Continuity is the ongoing effort to understand, measure, and mitigate the risk/impact business disruptions have on an organization. The description and measurement of impact is often achieved through assessments (such as a business impact analysis).
Risk Management can be broken down into three areas:
- Operational Risk Management: The methods and practices used by organizations to manage the risk of potential loss related to internal processes, people, and systems, or from external events.
- Enterprise Risk Management: The methods and practices used by organizations to manage emerging or existing risks and capture potential opportunities related to the achievement of their strategic or enterprise-level objectives.
- Third-Party Risk Management: The process of identifying and managing risks associated with outsourcing to third-party vendors or service providers. This could include access to your organization’s data, operations, finances, customer information, or other sensitive data.
Operational Resilience is the ability for an organization to sustain and continue delivering critical products or services to its customers or clients in the face of operational disruption. This is achieved through anticipating, preventing, adapting/responding, recovering, and continually learning from these disruptions.
What does this look like for many organizations?
It’s different for every organization, but the ultimate goal is always to keep operations going and protect the business, which can be anything from cyber threats and financial losses to reputational risks. Generally, an organization’s continuity, risk, and resilience efforts and initiatives – or program – can be categorized as one of the following:
- None: no defined methodology or solution
- Intermediate: some methodology and structure
- Mature: defined methodology but without departmental integration, possibly using minimal technology
- Advanced: defined methodology and integrated approach, leveraging technology
A big key to success is avoiding unintegrated approaches.
Many times, business continuity, risk management, and operational resilience initiatives operate in different capacities within an organization. They can also be described in other ways or have even multiple departments, subsets, and teams such as crisis and/or incident management, enterprise or organization resilience, IT risk assessment, etc.
Even if the disciplines are managed by the same operating group, the activities are often performed as separate work streams. An unintegrated approach to these practices traditionally negatively impacts an organization’s resiliency and decreases program efficiency and effectiveness.
Integrating these business processes increases an organization’s resiliency and ability to respond to business disruptions while increasing program efficiency and effectiveness. This collaboration also helps promote a culture of resiliency throughout the organization, which really just means that as a whole, the organization understands the importance of resilience, and it touches every employee in some way.
Even with an integrated program, there are so many risks out there.
Some of these dangers and challenges include tornadoes, pandemics, supply chain failure, ransomware, stealing, equipment breakdown, etc. The list can go on forever, so how do you manage all of this? All risks, as we know in the world today, can be categorized into four different types of impacts, which is also known as the all hazards approach. These are:
Data provides a large benefit when managing and mitigating all of these risk categories.
As it’s important to integrate programs, it’s also important to integrate information. Basically, you need to understand how your organization works to protect it from breaking (from the risk impact types above).
Resilience must always be an ongoing initiative, which is why data is so key for long-term resilience, and ultimately, protecting your organization. You can use data and information to pivot as needed, making this approach much more effective than writing a book full of plans that becomes outdated almost immediately. Written plans don’t provide the agility needed in an ever-changing world − real-time data and technology do.
Start with the basics and go!
In short, start with educating and understanding, then build from there! Sooner rather than later is always better because like we’ve learned recently with the pandemic, you never really know what is going to happen.
New to all of this stuff and unsure where to start? Get more back to the basics of continuity, risk, and resilience information!
For more basics of continuity, risk, and resilience information, check out our podcast Building a More Resilient World that further discusses these topics, from getting started and understanding your organization to protecting your people.
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