Answer

Assessing the business impact analysis software landscape

Is there software available for conducting a business impact analysis?

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Business impact analysis (BIA) is probably the most important initial research component of a business continuity (and disaster recovery) initiative.

Questions must be formulated, lists of people to interview must be prepared, interviews must be conducted and the interview results must then be analyzed. Output from a BIA helps identify the most critical business processes and the financial impact of a loss of those processes.

Specialized software can greatly simplify these time-consuming, highly detailed and often complex activities. Software tools to facilitate the BIA process may be embedded in business continuity software tools (examples: eBRP Suite and Resilience ONE from Strategic BCP).

Separate BIA-only tools are also available (example: BIA Professional from SunGard); a key consideration when buying such a standalone product is its ability to connect and share its output data with other BC systems (e.g., BIA Professional integrates with LDRPS, also from SunGard). That way, the BIA results can be integrated into the larger BC project, which is to identify mission-critical systems, identify their internal and external dependencies, identify potential threats to their operation (done by a risk analysis), identify recovery strategies to keep the systems operational, and design procedures to implement a recovery and resumption of operations following an incident.

Of course, you can also choose to perform your own low-cost BIA using a standard spreadsheet. The challenge is building the spreadsheet with relevant metrics and computations so the results will help you analyze the data and achieve the desired outcomes.

This was first published in September 2013

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