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Written by: Tracy L. Hall, MBCP
A business interruption can be detrimental to your institution’s bottom line and reputation. Having a strong, tested business continuity plan (BCP) in place now can help mitigate the risks and losses when a disaster unfolds, but developing and maintaining the plan may require time and effort that your institution does not have to spare. Here are some reasons why automating your business continuity solution can help you efficiently use your resources, while creating a strong and secure, risk-based plan.

Access and Security
The likelihood of your network being down during a serious interruption is high, and if your BCP is stored on the compromised network or in an affected building, you won’t be able to access it when you need it the most. Additionally, if hard copies of your plan are kept in multiple, unsecure locations, you also face the vulnerability of the sensitive information potentially being exposed to unauthorized parties. Securing your BCP on a web-based software solution allows for ease of access and protection of your institution’s information.

Minimizes Potential for Error
With in-house BCPs, necessary documents are likely scattered throughout many departments, taking extra time to coordinate and potentially leading to costly mistakes when an interruption occurs. Automating your business continuity solution centralizes all documents and allows your institution to build one plan that can be accessed quickly by stakeholders. It also ensures that all users can access the same, most up-to-date version of the plan.

Streamlines Maintenance and Reporting
When an update is made to a manual BCP, the rest of the document must then be checked to ensure that all necessary changes are also made throughout it. Automated solutions remove this effort by allowing the update to immediately populate in every relevant area after just one input. An online software solution also has an extensive dashboard and reporting functionality to draw forward important insights without the manual process of information collection and formatting, so you can analyze data faster.

Compliance
A good automated tool is designed to ensure that all facets of regulatory guidelines are addressed in the creation of the Business Continuity program, and it offers guidance on meeting the standards through trainings and proven templates.

Integration with Automated ERM Programs               
Automating both your Business Continuity solution and Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) solution saves you even more time. If you use the same software for both of those solutions, your people, processes, technologies, and policies will be held in a central repository that you can utilize to create your Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and BCP, without needing to reenter information. Risk assessment results from other areas of your ERM plan can then be utilized to build your plan, so you can focus primarily on your most critical business functions.

Minimizing error, streamlining maintenance, and utilizing ERM integration are just some of the reasons automated business continuity solutions can prove to be a more secure and time and cost effective option for your institution. For more information on how you can benefit from an automated solution, contact Tracy L. Hall, MBCP, IT Assurance Manager, at 413-726-6884 or thall@wolfandco.com.