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

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The Value of Convergence and Common Terminology in Effective Crisis Management

More than ever, it is important that organizations have a common methodology, approach and nomenclature to support meaningful dialogues on real risk for members of these groups. A simple example of how different perspectives and terminology can cause confusion, distortion of metrics and ultimately remediation efforts is this: A disruption to the business may be regarded by the business continuity professional as an outage, whereas the IT professional may consider it to be a service-level agreement failure, and an information security professional may view it as a denial of service attack. In order to have an effective crisis management program, it is important for key stakeholders to agree on a common terminology as they collaborate to ensure that the organization continues to perform and meet objectives.

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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