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Best Tools and Tips for Conducting a Business Impact Analysis

Best Tools and Tips for Conducting a Business Impact Analysis

Investing in business impact analysis is an excellent way to improve your company’s processes and decision-making. It is an analysis that is supposed to help predict any outcomes of disruptions in business’ processes or functions and collect information to create prevention and recovery strategies. This is mistake control at its finest, but it is also quite a complicated process to introduce this analysis to an already existing business.

So when you equip yourself with Business Continuity Software and split the responsibility, you are only halfway there. To get to the finish line, and successfully conduct a business impact analysis, you still need to get yourself familiar with a couple of tips and tools that will help you prepare for the action. Without further ado, here is everything you need to know.

Business Impact Analysis Requirements

Typically, business impact analysis uses traditional processes involving a stakeholder interview, dependency reviews, lively discussions, applications, and scoring for calculating RTO. Even though it varies based on the circumstances, business impact analysis typically requires:

  • Maximum tolerable downtime – This term is used to describe the longest time a specific asset can be inactive before it starts affecting the business finances significantly.
  • Recovery point objective – It describes the quantity of data your company is expected to lose with each individual system. For example, if one of your servers crashes, you must manually recover all data back, which will come up to a certain amount of data lost in the process. Your employees at the managerial level are in charge of deciding whether the recovery point is acceptable or not.
  • Interdependencies – They are used to assess the dependency of other systems on a specific asset. The results are utmost significant since a few smaller systems can become crucial to the company’s success because many other systems need them to function properly.
  • Overall impact – It is nothing more than a list of things your business considers highly valuable in order of priority. Any risks to the IT security of the business’s digital assets could damage the company’s effectiveness.

Identify the Scope of Your BIA

Most BIA’s do not involve every department or business unit in the company, so determining the most critical departments and focusing on those is the best course of action. Trying to involve every business unit unnecessarily complicates the process.

It is also recommended that you identify experts on the subject for each of the units you choose. If possible, they should be people who do the job on a daily basis, so not exactly the managers. The workers doing the hands-on job are the most knowledgeable about problems regarding the processes and will be able to provide the most accurate assessment. When you start working with a business impact analysis, it is best to keep the groups smaller.

IT Representative Should Be Always Present

It’s most helpful to have someone from the IT department present during the BIA interviews to help out with the names of computer systems and applications, as well as other technical issues, in case your SMEs don’t know how to articulate or tackle IT-related problems, which are not uncommon. Involve an IT representative upfront to ensure accuracy and smooth communication.

Helpful Tools for the BIA

An effective business impact analysis depends on quality tools to accompany professional expertise. These tools come into play after you have reviewed your overall business and figured out which part of each function, process, and system is affecting the daily operations.

The most recommended tools for business impact analysis include interviews, dedicated software, organizational charts, data flow diagrams, and questionnaires. Each of these tools will help you collect the data needed to understand the size of an impact that an emergency could have on your company. You can use all of these tools or choose the ones that work best for your niche, just please remember to collect data regularly and with much precision.

Following the Process

Here is how a BIA should run. Use business impact analysis tools to list every business function and process. Then, group every process as non-critical or critical to your business running smoothly. Also, develop a list of people who can perform each function and will probably be your most valuable assets when facing a crisis.

When you’re looking at critical functions, it is recommended to collect data regarding how these functions are performed, whom they are performed by, and the financial/operational impact of an emergency. Next, choose the target recovery date for every process and function, as well as every business system. Find out the external and internal company’s dependencies. Lastly, include a safe space for the BIA data to be stored so it can be accessed in the future when a crisis occurs.

Final Thoughts

The business impact analysis allows you to prepare for the worse before it happens. It is all about making sure that you can recover from any stepback in the process of running your business. Conducting such an analysis is an excellent idea for businesses knowing that there are trying times ahead, but actually, any company can benefit from BIA’s findings. Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready!

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