How Business Continuity, Information Security and Risk Management Collaboration Bolsters Business Performance

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Driving Trends

Trends Driving Collaboration and Convergence

According to the 2013 Ernst & Young survey on Global State of Information Security, business continuity and disaster recovery has been defined as the top priority information security area over the next 12 months. The three disciplines – IT security, risk management and business continuity – are now beginning to converge in the way that they analyze, identify and evaluate threats and risk when it comes to the common goal of continuity and resilience in business operations.

Several trends in business today drive this convergence:

  • Tolerance time is shrinking: Disruption tolerance times are shrinking from hours to minutes to nano seconds. As our work lives become increasingly "always-on," we expect responses immediately.
  • Impacts occur and cascade very quickly: Today businesses operate across a digital, social, mobile, and hyper-extended landscape where the impact of an incident can have a ripple effect that can expand very quickly. Be it electronic fund transfers or data transfer from clients to suppliers, transactions are increasingly electronic, moving through a complex and interconnected global supply chain and service delivery ecosystem.

By Yo Delmar, vice president GRC Solutions at MetricStream, and Harvey Betan, associate principal at Risk Masters Inc.

Business continuity programs are often considered on a standalone basis, but recent incidents that involve security breaches highlight how business continuity, disaster recovery, security and risk management teams are compelled to work more closely together in order to understand the true likelihood and impact of potential disruptions to the business. Let's consider the situation, for example, when an IT infrastructure is compromised or made unavailable (e.g., DDoS attack) to an online banking site or an online retailer. Companies that have been impacted by these types of incidents have experienced, in some cases, dramatic effects on their business operations and revenues. To ensure that the business sails smoothly, more and more organizations are beginning to converge IT security, risk management and business continuity teams in order to establish and agree upon a common framework and processes for crisis management.

Today, business continuity planning and management goes beyond the physical continuity of the business, encompassing areas such as e-continuity, as well. We live in an era of e-business, with a growing percentage of business transactions moving through the Internet, extranets, virtual private networks and cloud service providers. The complexity of this ecosystem has given rise to a larger threat surface, with a higher number of threats to digital information and traffic flows. Over the last two to three years, the rise in cyberattacks has driven an integration of security with operational and enterprise risk management. More recently, business continuity and disaster recovery teams have become an increasingly key partner in these collaborative teams as a natural fit in the larger concept of a 360-degree risk management.


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