How Cybersecurity Preparedness and Business Continuity

How Cybersecurity Preparedness & Business Continuity Planning Support Operational Resilience

December 20, 2023

Originally published in FinTech Global and RegTech Analyst on December 5, 2023. 

Organizations continue to evolve how they conduct business based on the introduction of a slew of new technology solutions — and if they’re wise, adapting to the risks that come along with those solutions. This dynamic shift across the RegTech, FinTech and InsurTech landscape is creating a much more agile and fast-paced environment where processes, systems and regulations change rapidly, which can feel almost impossible to keep up with. Operational resilience is not only critically important for businesses, but also becoming an area of interest for many regulatory bodies. The ability to pivot and recover quickly is key to an organization’s success and longevity.

Two cornerstones of operational resilience are cybersecurity preparedness and business continuity planning. Both aid a business in its ability to prepare for and, ideally, prevent potentially disastrous events. With appropriate and well-tested plans in place, organizations can continue to operate under temporarily troublesome circumstances and recover more quickly than those with a more reactionary approach. When adequately prepared for, risk events create less strain on resources — both human and technological — and overall business operations.

Successful Cybersecurity Programs Are Constantly Evolving

Cybersecurity preparedness becomes increasingly pivotal as organizations conduct more of their business through technological interfaces, with many new resources needed to fuel that move. It’s true that technology allows businesses to work faster and more efficiently, boosting productivity and revenue. But along with the benefits of various technologies come many new risks, particularly related to handling sensitive consumer or B2B data.

Guidance on successful cybersecurity programs is available in abundance and it all boils down to:

  • Education
  • Preparation
  • Prevention

The best way to steer clear of a cybersecurity incident is to create an environment of vigilance via systems and staff training so you can prevent an issue from ever happening. But being realistic and prepared to handle an issue when it does occur falls on the same scale of importance. The right preparation can limit strain (particularly on IT resources) and enable organizations to react confidently and remain resilient in the face of a data breach, hack, malware attack, or other cybersecurity incident.

Business Continuity Plans Must Be Tested

Business continuity planning is another critical underpinning of operational resilience. While cybersecurity preparedness addresses data risks, business continuity plans formalize processes to minimize disruption from human errors, natural disasters, and a myriad of other unforeseen events. The development of an effective BCP system comes down to analyzing the risks facing the organization, designing strategies to prevent and react to them, implementing those strategies, and then continuously testing and improving them.

Some disrupters like the COVID-19 pandemic or a local weather event are unavoidable, but businesses with thought-out strategies can recover faster and become more agile, minimize financial losses, maintain customer trust and safeguard overall operations. The key is to test business continuity plans to:

  • Identify weaknesses and gaps to address them before an actual crisis occurs
  • Validate assumptions and ensure the plan works as intended
  • Provide opportunities for employee training
  • Meet regulatory compliance requirements

Creating and monitoring programs to support cybersecurity and business continuity can be daunting and many organizations turn to technology to aid them. GRC technology can facilitate the identification of emerging risks, whether they be incident-driven or a result of changes in the macro environment.

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