A business impact analysis, or BIA, identifies areas that would suffer the greatest financial or operational loss in the event of a disaster or disruption.
A well-executed BIA offers a number of benefits, including:
However, many planners unknowingly create roadblocks to achieving a workable BC/DR plan. By following these tips, BC professionals can help their organization achieve a complete and usable business continuity plan.
Use the BIA process to gather input from company leadership. For example, you can ask your CFO to help define high, medium, and low financial impacts. The head of HR can help you decide consistent definitions for human resource impacts during a disaster. Getting executive buy-in during this process is a prime opportunity to build allies throughout your organization.
A BIA done right will drive spending in IT for years to come. If you don’t involve your IT team members and allow them to help you understand realistic recovery time and recovery point objectives, then you may end up with inaccurate impact and risk measurements.
Many professionals do make the BIA a conversation, which is more effective than sending out questionnaires and also a great way to build rapport. But the results of the conversation should always be documented during the interview; this will reduce the risk of collecting inaccurate information and help you stick to a consistent process.
Managers typically view their departments and processes as mission critical. Simply asking managers’ opinions on the criticality of their department’s processes is counterproductive. Opinions alone don’t establish meaningful differentiation between critical and non-critical processes. It is important to set up objective criteria to use when assessing each department and its processes. This way, you get a fair and reliable comparison across your organization.
Many software applications and methodologies make the BIA an add-on resource or simply a questionnaire that is separate from the overall planning process. This approach will inevitably cause you to repetitively ask the same individuals the same questions when building plans. A properly performed BIA should be the structure for your BC/DR plans. This will save you time, effort, and manpower in developing and implementing your continuity initiatives.