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By Brad Atkin – Shareholder, IT Advisory and Security Group

A robust business continuity plan not only ensures your business can bounce back from unforeseen disruptions, it also safeguards your digital assets. Below are five essential ways to incorporate cybersecurity into your business continuity plan.  

1. Conduct a Comprehensive Risk Assessment

Understanding the weaknesses within your organization is the foundation for setting the right controls within your systems. Identify potential threats, vulnerabilities and assets at risk. Focus on not only physical assets but also digital ones, such as sensitive data and critical systems.  

Start by evaluating your network security, software vulnerabilities and digital processes.  Engage a cybersecurity professional like those at Doeren Mayhew, to help you identify potential weaknesses and develop strategies to mitigate risks. This initial assessment will serve as the basis for crafting a well-informed and targeted business continuity plan.  

2. Develop an Incident Response Plan

An incident response plan is a crucial element of both cybersecurity and business continuity. It outlines the steps to take in the event of a cyberattack or data breach. Your incident response plan should include the following elements:  

  • Defined Roles: Determine who is responsible for coordinating the response efforts. Make sure all employees know their roles and the specific steps to take.  
  • Communication: Establish a communication plan that ensures all stakeholders are informed promptly and accurately of the incident. 
  • Data Backup and Recovery: Ensure regular data backups are performed and that you have a tested process for restoring data quickly. 
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Understand your obligations in terms of reporting incidents to authorities and affected parties. 
  • Employee Training: Regularly train employees on how to recognize and report potential threats, such as phishing emails or suspicious activities. 

3. Implement Strong Controls

Controlling access to your digital assets is a fundamental aspect of cybersecurity and should be a key piece of your business continuity plan. Only authorized personnel should have access to sensitive data and critical business systems. There should be strong authentication methods in place, such as multi-factor authentication. The access to these systems and data should be regularly reviewed and updated. When an employee leaves or moves roles, their access should be reviewed to prevent unauthorized access. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of insider threats.  

4. Backup and Redundancy Planning

You use data every day to make important business decisions for your company. Losing that data can be catastrophic. That’s why it is crucial your business continuity plan has a robust data backup and redundancy strategy. Regularly backup all critical data and systems, both on-site and off-site, to prevent data loss due to a cyber incident. Consider implementing a disaster recovery site with redundant systems to ensure business continuity in case of a cyber incident. This redundancy allows you to switch to backup systems quickly, minimizing downtime and data loss. 

5. Continuous Monitoring and Testing

Regularly assess your cybersecurity measures to identify and address new vulnerabilities and threats. Penetration testing, vulnerability assessments and security audits are essential tools to ensure your systems remain resilient. You can simulate cyber incidents through real-world drills, assessing your team’s readiness and refining your incident response plan. A proactive approach to testing and monitoring helps your organization adapt to evolving threats and ensures your business continuity plan remains effective and up-to-date. 

Creating a thorough and detailed business continuity plan doesn’t have to be daunting. Doeren Mayhew’s IT Advisory and Security Group works with you to test your organization’s ability to detect and respond to data breaches or cyberattacks. Taking it to the next level, we also offer solutions to mitigate exposure and implement a proper business continuity plan. No matter your current cybersecurity position, we have the credentialed expertise to guide you through creating a business continuity plan to keep your organization safe. Contact us today to learn more.