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Why you should ‘supersize’ your business impact analysis

By Ray Abide.

It’s time to move beyond the conventional perception that many practitioners hold when it comes to the BIA – that it is simply how you decide which processes are ‘critical’ and what are the objectives for recovery time (RTO) and recovery point (RPO). This view seems overly myopic, so let’s explore an opportunity to improve.

The BIA has always been a core element of business continuity management.
It is Professional Practice Three of DRI International’s Ten Professional Practices. DRII provides a terrific explanation of the BIA and an outline for the practitioner to perform one. I refer the reader to the content on DRII’s website as I am reasonably certain it is copyrighted material: https://www.drii.org/docs/pp3.pdf.

Arguably, the BIA is the most critical of the Ten Professional Practices as it is designed to identify likely and potential impacts from disruptive events, and then measure (qualify and quantify) ‘the financial, customer, regulatory or reputational impacts’ of those events. It also serves to determine the RTO and RPO for each process to be included in the plan being developed. The BIA determines critical processes, resource requirements, and recovery priorities or sequencing of recovery tasks.

My local Association of Contingency Planners chapter once attempted to have a BIA working session and asked members to bring their BIA templates to a meeting to discuss and compare their BIA approaches. This would have provided a tremendous opportunity for all participants to learn and improve their practices. The meeting never materialized as several members expressed reticence to share their approach or citied ‘proprietary or confidential’ guidance from their employer. This was very unfortunate as it would have provided a great learning opportunity for most participants. Fortunately, the idea of sharing seems more widely accepted in the public sector and many good examples can be found by performing an Internet search.

Returning to the notion of ‘supersize’ – I refer to the additional effort which should be invested in execution of the BIA. Follow the guidance in DRII’s Professional Practice Three – then execute as an ongoing process and not as a project or point-in-time task. The continuous nature of a process should produce improvements with every iteration of the analysis.

This will enhance your insights into processes including those precedent and dependent upon a specific process under analysis, risks, risk mitigation and risk management.

This supersizing may elevate your BIA to a ‘super professional practice’ which, when conducted properly, has the capability and capacity to improve all the subsequent planning steps and professional practices in providing effective business continuity management and not simply a business continuity plan.

The author
Ray Abide is a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who lives in Dallas, Texas. He may be contacted at www.linkedin.com/in/rayabide or www.rayabide.com.

•Date: 4th March 2014 • US/World •Type: Article • Topic: BC general

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