Improve Your Business Impact Analysis tip 5 – Concentrate on Consequences

A successful Business Impact Analysis (BIA) will harness knowledge from throughout the organization to compile accurate comprehensive data needed create practical business continuity plans. These tips will help the business continuity management professional focus their efforts on collecting valid data from credible sources.

Tip #5 Focus questions on the consequences of non-performance

Avoid questions that speak about value or importance and concentrate on time-sensitivity and prioritization; the topics in Tip 3 should always be the focus of BIA data collection. Don’t ask questions for the sake of asking; every question must be pertinent to the ultimate recovery solutions in the recovery plan. Alleviate any concerns about how the information will be used by explaining how the results will constitute the input to the development of recovery strategies. Explain that resources could be substantially limited by a disaster and priority will be given to time sensitive functions but ultimately all functions will be brought back.

For each business function you will need to explore:

  1. How much data stored on computers can be lost. The answer will establish the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) or the tolerable amount of data loss measured in minutes, hours or days.
  2. How far under normal operating levels the function can operate during a disaster. This will give you a Minimum Service Level (MSL) or the level to which the process must be recovered during the recovery period. It is worth noting that the MSL can be a value expressed as a percentage above the normal level of operations; examples might be found in civil response organizations that will increase their capacity following a disaster.
  3. RTO:  This determines the Recovery Time Objective or the period of time within which systems, applications, or functions must be recovered after an outage (e.g. one business day).

Each function should be placed within a Recovery Time Objective category.  Define the category according to a restoration time frame (e.g. within 2 hours of a disaster) and prioritize the functions within each category. Prioritization should take into account dependencies, reputation issues and client expectations. The RTO is the primary determining factor when examining recovery strategies.

Return Tuesday for our next tip on Business Impact Analysis (BIA).

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

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