As outlined in our previous blog post, development and implementation of an effective Business Continuity Management (BCM) Program is imperative to organizations of any size. Maintenance of the BCM Program is also necessary for the long-term viability of the program. While a BCM Program outlines policies, procedures and personnel involved in business services and functions recovery, it is only as successful as it is accurate. Here, we discuss the challenges that a BCM Program can experience after implementation, and how to overcome these challenges.
Some of the greatest obstacles that plague an otherwise well-implemented and streamlined BCM Programs are:
- Staff turnover
- Organizational changes
- Addition or removal of services/functions
- Technological changes
Most BCM Programs suffer from constant changes
Here, we identify how each of these individually can impact your BCM Program and how best to reconcile changes that would otherwise disrupt the program.
Staff Turnover. Key employees play an important role in the BCM Program operation. Specific employees will be selected to take on roles in business continuity planning based on their position and competency. However, employees are likely to move within or outside of the company for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s promotion, demotion, termination or even an extended vacation, personnel identified in key roles throughout the BCM Program must be accounted for and replaced in the event of their absence, or dismissal. Turnover happens in every organization and some industries are even more prone than most. For this reason, it is important to mindfully select, assign and train key personnel. These employees must be reliable, competent and able to perform their assigned BCM Program tasks and duties. Choose these roles carefully and consider adding a check-out sheet or another form of correspondence that prompts a BCM Program manager to revisit plans and positions when a staff member places a request for time off, a transfer or termination. And don’t forget that most of these roles will require alternate resources to ensure the viability of the program.
Some organization's experience transformation every 18 months
Organizational changes. Naturally, as a business matures and expands it will experience a change in many areas. Most companies have an organizational chart identifying the chain-of-command and the areas of responsibility of each department or division of the organization. As the business changes and titles adjust, an ever-evolving understanding of who is responsible for what is always necessary – especially in the event of a disaster that threatens the ability to meet objectives. We recommend the creation of easily accessible documentation that outlines the organizational dynamics and employee responsibilities within the BCM Program. We also recommend assigning roles in a way that makes communication during emergencies as quick and efficient as possible. As roles change within the organization, training must follow suit.
New services or functions. With new services or functions, come new responsibilities and new risks. Vulnerabilities exist in all business areas and organizations must be prepared to handle inevitable disruptions. When introducing new products or services, organizations often shift their focus entirely to the new service itself and not to how it relates to the organization’s operational dynamics and overarching plans. As with all other services already incorporated into the BCM Program, time must be devoted to the inclusion of the new service offering. The new services will change the risks faced by the organization, which in turn changes the business continuity planning requirements.
Technology also drives the BCM Program changes
New technologies. Of course, the type of work your organization does and the technology it uses will also impact the BCM Program. Organizations with complex technology systems will likely require a more frequent and thorough review process than those with simple technology systems. Businesses introduce new technologies to enhance data processing capabilities, automation of processes, and more. It is imperative to not only secure this data but also to have backups and other means of secondary or manual access in the event of a breach. Your BCM Program will need to identify and address these possible risks and technology recovery plans.
How your organization administers its BCM Program is ultimately up to you but maintaining BCM Program accuracy and relevance is crucial for your operational resilience. This is especially true considering the number of new technological innovations and personnel changes your organization will likely be exposed to. With an accurate and updated BCM Program in place, your company and its assets will be as prepared as possible in the event of any disaster or business disruption.
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