Business as Usual

Security Core Concept 6: Business Continuity Management (BCM) & Business as Usual (BAU)

This will be the shortest of my blogs on the Security Core Concepts for a number of reasons;

  1. The majority or organisations will not raise their security program to the point that this is even possible;
  2. It will be assumed that this is all covered in the previous steps; and
  3. It’s often only perceived as a nice to have, but not critical.

…and so on.

But the biggest reason I’m not going to focus on this, is because the preceding Core cOncepts tell you what you need to know, and reading my additional thoughts should be unnecessary. If you introduce the first 5 Core Concepts, this will be the only logical next step, and the benefits clear.

Business Continuity Management (BCM) is; “…a compilation of processes that identifies and evaluates potential risks to an organization and develops the organization’s resilience by ensuring critical objectives are met the resources necessary to achieve those objectives are available.

I have emphasised resilience because this is really what it’s all about; staying in business. The Security Core Concepts deal with only one part of what Business Continuity is all about. Yes, a very important part, but your data, and the ability to process that data, is not all your business encompasses.

This is why BCM belongs under your Governance framework. As the gatekeepers of your change control, and focal point for conversations between all departments, they are best placed to manage the never ending adaptation of your resiliency processes in light of internal changes, and the external threat landscape.

It’s shocking just how unprepared most organisations are for this contingency planning. What would have been an inconvenience is now a full blown event, and what should have stayed an event, is now a business crippling disaster. All for the want of a few more conversations, a few additional processes, and an annual test.

Seems a small price to pay for staying is business, doesn’t it?

As for Business as Usual (BAU), it’s; “…the normal execution of standard functional operations within an organisation.”

How can something so blatantly obvious not be the Holy Grail of security? Why is getting to this point so difficult for every organisation I’ve even worked for?

Back to my Ikea analogy from a previous post; Let’s say the instructions to build a bed-side table are lost, and it’s your job to work out how it’s put together.  You will eventually work it out (unless you’re me), and you’ll be happy.  But now let’s say you didn’t write down HOW you did it, will you be able to put another one together as fast as you could if you had instructions? More to the point, could someone else who is new to the task?

BAU is the standardisation of all of your processes to the point that they become second nature, AND are documented in such a fashion that anyone can pick up where the previous person left off. The phase ‘Knowledge Management’, which is intrinsic to BAU, was a big deal in years past, but seems to been usurped by the next security-shiny-thing.

Either way, knowledge management is the difference between doing everything all over again every time (reinventing the wheel), and doing it properly every time. Or being able to safely and quickly transition your business towards innovation and market competition, and away from disaster or obscurity.

And now you know why policies and procedure are so important, and one of The 4 Foundations of Security?

Take a guess as to who is responsible for driving an organisational culture that embraces BAU?  Yep, the CEO, and I hope you weren’t surprised.

There is clearly more involved in both BCM and BAU, but we’re keeping things simple.

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