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Business impact analysis software: the pros and cons

Learn what you need to consider before choosing a business impact analysis (BIA) software product.

Do you recommend using business impact analysis software?
Although products are available to conduct a risk assessment and/or a business impact analysis, I wouldn't recommend this approach for everyone. I've been involved with many companies and organizations whose needs couldn't be satisfied by an off-the-shelf product.

However, using business impact analysis software is preferable to not performing a risk assessment or business impact analysis at all. When choosing a business impact analysis software package, look for one that provides some flexibility within the functionality. A product might list 70 to 100 threats within an organization, but you need to be able to gauge which ones are appropriate. Perhaps 20 of these threats don't apply to your business, but you may have 10 additional threats that the package doesn't specify. The ability to modify the package to evaluate threats and associated risks is important. Additionally, your organization may have threats that are more applicable in one geographical area and others somewhere else (for example, hurricanes or snow storms). Choose a product that has the flexibility to handle these types of scenarios.

Also, there are some intangibles that must be evaluated -- things that don't have a specific financial impact, but are an integral part of the organization. This concept may get lost in an all inclusive, business impact analysis template format. While performing a business impact analysis, look at dependencies across the board; a process may not seem important on its own, yet it may be critical to a more profitable process further down the line.

This was last published in August 2010

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