Integrating Cybersecurity into Business Continuity Planning

By Kasey Hewitt

Posted on May 12, 2021

Organizations can no longer afford to wait until a threat is identified to start worrying about their cybersecurity risk management program. A cyber attack can cause a major business disruption across departments and severely impact day-to-day operations, both in the short and long term. For this reason, as organizations build their business continuity and disaster recovery plans, cybersecurity measures must be integrated throughout the entire process.

By integrating cybersecurity and business continuity planning, organizations can ensure that the proper processes are being put in place and resources are allocated to help facilitate a smooth transition as they recover from an attack. To ensure that cybersecurity is being effectively blended into business continuity planning, there are several best practices to keep in mind, including business impact analysis, cyber risk assessments, supply chain management, incident response plans, and continuous monitoring.

What is business continuity planning (BCP) in cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a critical component of an organization’s business continuity plan (BCP), and policies and processes relating to core technologies and the protection of sensitive data must be taken into consideration. It’s important to include standards for identifying, managing, and reducing cyber risks in business continuity planning. This allows for collaboration across departments and helps ensure that organizations have a timely plan in place to respond to potential attacks.

In many ways, the goals of the cybersecurity team are very similar to those of the business continuity and disaster recovery teams. Thus, these teams should work together to create a successful business continuity strategy that truly takes all aspects of the business into account. Through an integrated approach, teams can ensure effective security for critical areas of focus including overall data and asset management, recovery and response, and the people involved at every step of the process.

5 tips for integrating cybersecurity into business continuity planning

The integration of cybersecurity risk management into your organization’s business continuity planning should be done from the start. Proactive cybersecurity has quickly become the only option for keeping today’s growing networks secure, and this can be enhanced through collaboration between the IT security teams and business continuity planners. Explore 5 tips for enabling integration between BCP and cybersecurity:

Determine business impact analysis (BIA)

During the business impact analysis (BIA) process, the various elements of an organization’s cybersecurity risk management process must be taken into account. Teams should factor cyber threats and risks into their impact categories, including reputation, revenue loss, customer service and experiences, legal and/or regulatory standards, and increases in operational costs as a result of an attack. It’s important to have an understanding of the potential long-term or residual effects that the organization may experience over time. By outlining the full scope of impact, organizations can make more informed decisions about how to maintain business continuity in the event of a data breach or attack.

Conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment

Cybersecurity risk assessments provide your organization with a comprehensive look at its cybersecurity posture, as well as that of its third- and fourth-party vendors. When building out a business continuity plan, a cybersecurity assessment can help security teams determine not only their current level of security but also the steps that they’ll need to take to keep the entire network protected. A business continuity assessment should also be conducted within the specific context of an organization’s business goals. In doing both of these things, organizations can gain a deeper understanding of their security gaps, which can be used to better inform the BCP.

Consider supply chain and third-party risk management

Supply chain and third-party risk management are often overlooked by organizations until it becomes an active threat to their assets or reputation. This reactive approach is no longer sufficient. As organizations increasingly work with other organizations to carry out business operations, supply chain risk management is more important than ever. Teams need to think about the impact of various cybersecurity threats throughout the entire supply chain so that additional resources and plans can be put in place to respond appropriately to said threats.

Mitigate downtime with an incident response and crisis communication plan

As previously mentioned, cybersecurity attacks can have a range of long-lasting damages, to an organization’s legal, financial, and reputational wellbeing. To ensure that your organization can return to business as usual as quickly as possible, there needs to be an incident response plan in place. This plan should facilitate an efficient response to security incidents by clearly outlining what needs to be done and who needs to do it. When laying out this process, it’s important to think about all elements of the organization’s business continuity plan to help avoid redundancies and ensure that all areas are being effectively covered.

Maintain complete visibility and continuously monitor

The most effective way to proactively manage risk and mitigate business continuity concerns relating to cybersecurity is to enable both complete visibility and continuous monitoring. This allows IT security teams to have a true understanding of the organization’s cyber hygiene at any given time, allowing for more confident, informed decision-making as well as ongoing compliance monitoring - which is a growing concern in many industries. Organizations should leverage solutions that provide comprehensive visibility across their entire network infrastructure, including not only vendors but the entire supply chain. The threat landscape is growing at a rapid pace, and organizations can no longer rely on point-in-time assessments to effectively portray their level of security.

How SecurityScorecard can help inform business continuity planning

With SecurityScorecard, organizations can gain a better understanding of their entire network’s security posture, including suppliers and third-party vendors, and identify any gaps in security. Security ratings offer insight across ten groups of risk factors including DNS health, IP reputation, web application security, network security, leaked information, hacker chatter, endpoint security, and patching cadence. These objective measurements can be used to inform business continuity planning by identifying key areas for improvement based on priority and potential impact. Additionally, organizations can leverage Atlas, an automated questionnaire and evidence exchange solution to get a clearer understanding of business continuity preparedness amongst partners and other vendors.

Proactive cybersecurity risk management is critical for maintaining complete visibility into and control over an organization’s IT infrastructure. By integrating cybersecurity into business continuity planning, security teams can enable collaboration across teams to make more data-driven decisions about how to mitigate risks as well as respond to them.

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