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What Is Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Ensuring Resilience for Your Business

31/07/2023by admin0Read: 6 minutes

In today’s digital age, where technology plays a significant role, disruptions caused by natural disasters, cybersecurity attacks, or system failures can have devastating consequences. Hence, implementing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery practices is crucial for any organisation that wants to safeguard its critical systems and data.

By leveraging proactive risk management, comprehensive backup and recovery plans, continuous monitoring, and regular testing practices, companies can establish robust Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery strategies.

These strategies allow organisations to minimise downtime, prevent data loss, protect their reputation, and ensure the seamless continuity of critical systems and data.

Furthermore, a robust security posture should also include cloud computing to secure data on the cloud as major businesses are shifting data to it.

Business Continuity

Business Continuity is a comprehensive management process that assesses potential threats to an organization and their impact on business operations. It aims to establish a framework for enhancing organisational resilience, enabling the business to respond effectively to protect the interests of its stakeholders. Business continuity is a part of risk management.

Disruption

A disruptive event, also known as a disruption, is a major incident that cannot be controlled within an acceptable timeframe for the agency. It can be either expected (like a hurricane) or unexpected (such as a power outage, earthquake, or attack on ICT systems/ IT infrastructure) and can severely disrupt the usual operations at an agency location.

This disruption results in a loss of key business activities, which can have a significant impact on the organization. It’s essential to note that disruption is not the same as a minor interruption of services, such as system glitches, processing errors, or brief loss of communication links that do not significantly impact the agency’s operations.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Disaster Recovery

ICT Disaster recovery involves restoring an organization’s people, processes, information, and technology to ensure the continuity of critical business functions within a predetermined timeframe. It encompasses prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery from disruptions. Policies and procedures support the disaster recovery process.

ICT Disaster Recovery Plan

An ICT Disaster Recovery Plan is a clear and documented plan that outlines how to restore ICT capabilities after a disruptive event.

Incident Management

Incident management involves identifying, analysing, and resolving incidents. This process includes categorizing and escalating incidents that cannot be resolved, causing disruption and triggering ICT disaster recovery activities.

Recovery Point Objective

The Recovery Point Objective is the maximum amount of time that has been agreed upon for acceptable data loss from an ICT system.

Recovery Time Objective

Recovery Time Objective is the longest agreed period in which an ICT system can be unavailable.  This time is essentially the time ICT practitioners have available to restore an ICT system following a disruption.

Risk Management

Risk Management involves identifying, understanding, and managing the risks that an organization may face in a systematic manner. This includes the implementation, maintenance, and integration of risk management within the organization.

Risk Management Context

In today’s business landscape, ensuring continuous operations and meeting risk management obligations is paramount. To achieve this, information and communication technology (ICT) disaster recovery and business continuity management are critical components for modern organisations.

In Western Australian government agencies, corporate risk governance is in place to fulfil these responsibilities. By adopting a risk management perspective to ICT disaster recovery, agencies can make informed decisions and ensure appropriate planning, implementation, and resource allocation to meet business needs and risk appetite.

Oversight for this process is conducted by the peak corporate risk management body.

Crisis Management

In the face of a crisis, businesses need to have strategies in place to effectively manage and navigate through it. Crisis management techniques can help mitigate damage and minimize negative consequences.

Emergency Response and Preparedness

Being prepared for emergencies is crucial to ensuring the safety of employees, customers, and stakeholders. This includes having emergency response plans, communication strategies, and necessary resources in place.

ICT Disaster Recovery Policy

It is imperative that the government delivers seamless services and products to the public, even in times of disruption. For this reason, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a vital component of the government’s operations, and agencies must take proactive steps to prevent potential ICT system outages from causing any harm.

The purpose of the ICT policy is to:

  • support agencies in ensuring services are available:
  • at a level that allows them to fulfil their commitments and goals.
  • in accordance with fair community expectations.
  • Ensure that risk management and business continuity frameworks for agencies include ICT disaster recovery.
  • aid organisations in enhancing their ICT disaster recovery expertise and capacity. 

Policy Requirements

The requirements of the Policy are as below.

1. Establish Governance and Accountability

Agencies should:

  • Create ICT disaster recovery roles and responsibilities within the business risk management framework.
  • Assure that ICT incident management is used in conjunction with ICT disaster recovery management.

To ensure a cohesive approach and maximum executive support, agencies should connect their ICT disaster recovery efforts with their risk and ICT governance frameworks. Furthermore, agencies must establish a system and capability for identifying and analysing incidents that may escalate into disruptions and necessitate a disaster recovery response.

2. Formalise ICT Disaster Recovery Arrangements

To ensure that critical business functions dependent on ICT are not disrupted by disasters, agencies must develop and implement formal procedures for ICT disaster recovery. These procedures should include appropriate mechanisms to manage corporate risks. It is also important to document these procedures for future reference.

Agencies should have appropriate arrangements in place to:

  • minimise the disruption risk to ICT services (prevention).
  • mitigate the results of disruptive events (prepare).
  • respond to disruptive events (response); and
  • recover from disruptive events (recovery).

These arrangements should:

  • consists of documented procedures (e.g. a disaster recovery plan) to restore ICT systems in the event of a disruption.
  • Set system recovery priorities in accordance with their significance to the company, as decided through engagement with business service owners.
3. Continuous Improvement

It is essential for agencies to have proper mechanisms in place for continuous improvement of their ICT disaster recovery arrangements. Regular monitoring, review, and testing of these arrangements must be carried out. Any updates to the disaster recovery arrangements should be made based on the results of tests, changes in organizational needs, and evolving business processes. A risk-based approach should be adopted by agencies for their ICT disaster recovery arrangements, which should be reviewed and approved on an annual basis by the corporate risk management body.

4. Relevant Policy Obligations

As per Premier’s Circular 2016/03, all Western Australian state government agencies must comply with this Policy. This means that they are expected to implement the whole government Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategy and Associated Policies in all current and future projects, as well as normal operational procedures and practices.

To ensure effective risk management and business continuity planning, the Public Sector Commission and the Department of Treasury mandate certain obligations for the public sector. According to Public Sector Commissioner’s Circular: 2015-03, all public sector bodies must manage the risks associated with their activities.

This involves conducting risk assessment processes to identify risks, demonstrating the management of risks, and having continuity plans to ensure they can respond to and recover from any business disruption. Public sector bodies should ensure policies and continuity plans are maintained to ensure they are up to date with the activities performed by their organisation.

According to Treasurer’s Instruction 825: Risk Management and Security, the Responsible authority should ensure that:

  • There are processes in place for the routine evaluation, identification, and management of risks posed by the agency’s operations.
  • Appropriate risk management procedures and policies are created.

The Policy is an ICT disaster recovery-specific supplement to these existing policy obligations.

5. Standards

A wide range of business continuity and ICT disaster recovery standards are compatible with the Policy, which is intended to be used in combination with agencies’ current policy commitments.  No standards are required under this Policy due to the range and diversity of agency requirements.  However, organisations should adopt and put into practice the following business continuity and disaster recovery standards:

  • suitable for their particular situation.
  • in line with best practices in the industry.
  • in line with this policy’s criteria.
6. Reporting

Agencies will need to include self-assessment of their compliance with this policy in their annual reports to the Office of the GCIO.

Additionally, they may be evaluated as part of the Auditor General’s annual Systems Audit Report.

Tips for Businesses to be Prepared For Uncalled Security Disaster

1) They should comply with the IT policies and regulations.

2) Businesses should implement Cloud computing and application security to secure data and software.

3) They should have Firewalls and Anti-virus installed for further system security.

4) Organisations should strategise and implement a robust information security management system outlining ISO 27001 with the help of an experienced information security consultant like the one from Anitech.

5) Businesses should implement Access control systems to restrict unauthorised access during emergencies, safeguarding critical assets and data. These systems aid in maintaining operational integrity and minimizing disruptions by allowing controlled access only to authorized personnel during recovery processes.

6) Organisations should train and educate employees on the various threats, viruses, ransomware, malware and any trending cyber-threat so that they won’t fall prey to hackers’ traps and compromise the security of the Company.

6) Additionally, daily software maintenance and updates, backups and reporting any suspicious activity are recommended.

7) Furthermore, working with someone experienced in information security, business continuity and disaster recovery can further enhance your business procedure and secure systems.

Anitech’s expert consultants with exceptional knowledge and industry experience can provide you with the desired solutions to protect your business.

To book an appointment, call us at 1300 802 163 or e-mail – sales@anitechgroup.com for more details.

For more updates, stay tuned to the Anitech website.

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