Disaster Vigilance: Three Critical Measures for IT Leaders

Disaster Vigilance Three Critical Measures for IT Leaders-01

One of the most sobering lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that disasters can strike at any time and in any place. The requirement to be prepared for a wide range of possibilities is one of the most difficult aspects of catastrophe, or emergency, management.

Businesses can’t plan for every “black swan” event – consider the current supply chain disruptions affecting the holiday season and causing inflationary pressures. Even well-intentioned technological upgrades or minor configuration tweaks might have disastrous results.

Disasters, especially black swan events brought on by a pandemic, are difficult to forecast by their very nature. However, by focusing on three critical areas: enforcing change management controls, managing risks, and maintaining business continuity governance, an IT leader can better prepare for them and mitigate the business impact.

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Implement change management controls

Many audit findings for publicly traded firms concern change management controls. It’s all too tempting to approach this with a “check-the-box” mindset in order to satisfy internal and external auditors. Even one badly managed, untested, or unauthorized change, on the other hand, could have a significant inimical impact.

System modifications should contain the necessary risk-impact assessment, planning, approval, automation, testing, documentation, and communications strategy to prevent potential internet outages due to configuration changes. Test all changes thoroughly before putting them into production, and be careful not to stifle creativity – Based on the company’s culture, industry, and risk appetite, rightsizing the risk-impact assessment and testing is crucial.

On platform disruptions, several cloud providers provide status page reports. Businesses should ensure that their teams subscribe to these status pages and that their contracts contain suitable clauses requiring providers to promptly alert teams of any major planned upgrades or issues.

Performing risk assessments and business impact analysis

Risk assessments – both internal and external, involving important technology providers can help identify risks before they become disasters. A risk assessment is a component of a risk management program that identifies threats and vulnerabilities to assets that are used to achieve business goals.

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Determine the possibility of a risk occurring and the potential business impact if a risk occurs, while keeping in mind resource, time, and financial constraints. Financial, reputational/brand, consumer, legal/regulatory, and operational implications are all possible business consequences.

Businesses should implement an effective risk response after identifying risks and evaluating and scoring their implications. Accepting the risk, mitigating the risk with new or existing controls, transferring the risk to third parties – frequently through insurance or risk-sharing or avoiding the risk by terminating the business activity linked to it are all possibilities for risk treatment.

A risk assessment can be combined with a business impact analysis (BIA), which gives information for disaster recovery and business continuity planning. A business impact analysis determines recovery time objectives (RTOs), recovery point objectives (RPOs), important operations, critical system dependency, and many other factors. It comes down to the 80/20 rule, which states that rather than developing costly recovery methods for 100% of all key business operations, firms should concentrate on the 20% of business processes that are the most critical and should be recovered promptly in the case of a disaster.

Establish a framework for managing business continuity and crisis communications

Finally, create a governance structure for business continuity management (BCM). For focusing correctly on organizational structure, roles and duties, policies, and finances for BCM programs, the tone at the top counts.

The involvement of appropriate stakeholders in BCM and explicit crisis management plans are examples of governance. Planning for a crisis, responding to a crisis, and communicating during a crisis are all important aspects of crisis management. Consider what information employees, customers, board members, vendors, and the media should have access to, and allocate the proper spokesmen to address the issue.

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Umme Sutarwala is a Global News Correspondent with OnDot Media. She is a media graduate with 2+ years of experience in content creation and management. Previously, she has worked with MNCs in the E-commerce and Finance domain