Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Planning and its importance for Critical Infrastructure protection
While government and non-government institutions, non-profit orientated organization also render critical services, private enterprises must continuously render services and products for the satisfaction of shareholder, and for the purpose of survival. Although the functions and goals of these organizations differ from each other, business continuity planning can be used by all institutions and organizations.
Critical products and services are those which must be rendered or delivered for the purpose of ensuring survival, to avoid causing injuries, and to meet legal and other obligations that are applicable to an organization. Therefore Business Continuity Planning BCP is basically a proactive process of planning which ensures that critical products and services are delivered in the disruption phase .
This process includes planning, measurement and arrangements for ensuring that critical services and products are continuously delivered, which enables organizations to redeem their facility, assets and data. The process also includes the identification of the necessary resources that are needed to support the business continuity, including information, personnel, financial allocations, equipment, accommodation and infrastructure protection, and legal counsel.
Importance of Business Continuity Planning
Every organization faces the risk of potential disasters which includes accidents, sabotage, natural disasters, energy and power disruptions, failure of the communication, transportation and safety sector; environmental disasters like spills of hazardous materials and pollution; and the hacker activities or cyber-attacks.
Therefore, having a sound and comprehensive BCP, and maintaining that effectively will ensure that the organization has all the required information and resources to deal with such emergencies in an efficient and effective manner. Having a sound BCP also enhances the image of an organization with its employees, customers and shareholders by demonstrating and depicting a proactive approach and attitude.
Collaboration between Government agencies, private agencies and communities for protection of critical infrastructure
Over the years, critical infrastructure has been defined in a variety of ways. The reason is that the issues affecting critical infrastructure of a nation’s security and economic environment have changed drastically. Critical infrastructure generally includes the cyber-based and the physical systems that are essential for the operation of the governments, and the economy in terms of business in a country.
News reports and research have shown the use of social media platforms and communication platforms by terrorists for meeting their goals. This is the reason why government security department of the US (e.g. NSA) has caused the private owned infrastructures (like Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo, Gmail, and privately owned communication platforms) to collaborate with them for protection of the national critical infrastructure. NSA also stresses that such collaboration has caused them to keep a check on suspects and has caused them to prevent different criminal and terrorists activities.
Forming joint agencies for critical Infrastructure protection
For the protection of the critical infrastructure of a nation, an effective framework should be prepared for formation of multi-agency collaboration and integration between the public and the private sectors. The department of the Homeland security should be in close coordination with the private and public sector critical infrastructure stakeholders, for developing a multi-agency coordination platform through which a national effort can be made to mitigate the risks that pose a threat to the critical infrastructure. One evident reason for this need is that the private sector operates the majority of the critical infrastructure, and therefore they should form a joint agency with the government critical infrastructure security agencies to counter natural and man-caused incidents. Similarly, there is need to form a joint agency framework for increased and effective collaboration between the federal and the local agencies which counter natural and man-caused incidents. For this purpose, a country needs to first formulate a legal framework setting principles and obligations that make it mandatory for agencies to collaborate. Similarly the law should also set guidelines and obligations for the private sector partners to collaborate with the federal and local agencies of the government for the purpose of countering issues of critical infrastructure protection, and for natural and human-caused incidents. Setting such a framework forms the most vital essentials or basis for preparation of joint or mutual agency.
Joint agency training
For the occurrence of inter-agency training or joint agency training, there should be goals and a planning process before that happens. Craig Schroll in his article with the title “Emergency Response Training” has identified these goals and has demonstrated how to develop the training plan. The goals include training the responders to act in a manner that the safety of the responders is ensured, and the effect of incident is not compounded. This includes how to make the response effective for the incident.
The joint agency training plan must first address the requirements of training so that the resources needed for the purpose can be identified. A comprehensive methodological approach needs to be formulated where all the agencies that require collaboration should be brought on board, and the requirements and resources of training that are available and that need to be acquired, should be discussed .
Responsibilities or individuals and communities for protection of homeland security and critical infrastructure
The protection of the national infrastructure of a country and the homeland is the shared responsibility of individuals and public and private communities. Each of us can pay our part for this purpose, regardless of whether we work for the federal government, the local government, or in some private sector. We can do our bit in being prepared, to report any suspicious happening or activity, and to make efforts to learn everything we can about the protection of critical infrastructure, and the methods of resilience to incidents.
As individuals and communities living or operating in a certain town or area, the first responsibility we have is to be aware of the law. This will allow us to understand what is right and wrong. We should be keen about the happenings in our environment so that any suspicious activity comes to your notice. Public and private communities have an even added responsibility. They should not only protect the nation’s critical infrastructure themselves, but they should also create public awareness for this purpose through campaigns and programs. Individuals and communities should be aware of what constitutes as unlawful and what to do in case of some natural or human-caused incident. Nothing should be taken above the law and no one should be allowed to pose any threat to the homeland and the critical infrastructure of the nation.
Doughty, K. (2000). Business Continuity Planning: Protecting Your Organisation's Life. CRC Press.
McConnell, B. (2013, february 2nd). Working together to strengthen the nation's Critical Infrastructure. Retrieved from dhs.gov: https://www.dhs.gov/blog/2013/05/02/working-together-strengthen-nation%E2%80%99s-critical-infrastructure
Ministry of Public Safety Canada . (2014, february 20th). A guide to Business Continuity Plannig . Retrieved from publicsafety.gc.ca: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/bsnss-cntnt-plnnng/index-eng.aspx
Rogers, B. J. (2013). Collaboration: The Effects of Joint Agency Training for both naional guard and department of hoeland security. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University.