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BCPO Organizer Version 2
The second version of the Business Continuity Planning Organizer (BCPO) tool is now available, where several user suggestions have been included to improve usability and user-friendliness, and two brand new modules are added to allow BCPO to become the center of all relevant documentation relating to Business Continuity Management.
The two new additions included in this version are a module to assist in the planning, coordination and documentation of Plans’ tests; and a module to guide the execution of a formal Risk Analysis, from which the company’s Preventive Plans can be developed and documented.
The tests module allows the Maintenance Team to coordinate the execution of “Test Instances” (that may include one or several Plans) with all the Team leaders involve. Each of the Team leaders will have to approve their participation in the test, considered the estimated impact in business operations and their own time and resources availability during the planned dates. The whole process of entering the needed information to carry out the tests, coordinating the dates, estimating the business impacts and obtaining authorizations is automated by BCPO, keeping logs of every step. Once the planning and coordination is complete, each Team leader will have to document their test results in the tool, and a final consolidated evaluation is added by the Maintenance Team once the Instance is finished. All this information is stored by BCPO and associated with each Plan, so it becomes evidence of all tests performed, the results obtained and every relevant comment of the personnel that participated in the tests.
The Risk Analysis and Preventive Plans module offers tools to create risk matrices (using the standard COSO II methodology) where all objectives, risks and controls relevant to Business Continuity of the organization can be documented, and different scenarios can be analyzed as needed. Each of the risks is evaluated considering its inherent and residual probability and impact (using configurable tables) and applying exposure formulas (also configurable), and all relevant controls can be documented for each risk. This module includes a series a easy to use mechanisms for evaluating the results (filters by category, “color maps” with the exposures, full reports of objectives-risks-controls, etc.).
From this Analysis, it’s possible to identify and document actions that must be performed to minimize a risk (“Action Procedures”) and others that must be performed periodically to ensure a certain preparedness level (“Monitoring Procedures”). Both types of procedures together make up the Preventive Plan of the company.
Action Procedures are focused in the solution of weaknesses or problems detected during the Risk Analysis that put the organization in a situation where a contingency is more likely or compromise the success or quality of the contingency solution (e.g. the correction of a procedure that isn’t operating correctly and can increase the likelihood of a contingency or the implementation of a control that improves the preparedness level of the company), whereas Monitoring Procedures indicate how critical controls (those that reduce the highest exposures to acceptable levels) must be checked periodically to ensure that they are operating correctly and therefore maintaining the preparedness level.
Improvements over the previous version
On addition to the new modules described above, the new BCPO version includes a series of changes in the user interface to offer a more comfortable and easier experience to the user.
In the first place, the text editor used in the tool has been completely changed in order to provide better performance, more editing features and better integration with texts coming from different sources (e.g. Microsoft Word).
The user interface has been simplified in several places, removing some of the existing buttons in the previous version and consolidating all possible actions for each object in a single place, thereby improving usability.
Finally, a series of mechanisms for ordering and filtering all lists within the tool (e.g. user list) have been added, to allow for a quicker and easier access to all information.
BCPO and the BS25999 standard
One of the main objectives for this new version was to allow BCPO to guide organizations in their BCM processes so that they would be aligned with the BS25999 standard and, at the same time, be a central repository for all the required documentation to obtain a certification according to said standard.
In that sense, after adding the Risk Analysis and Test modules to the ones already included in the previous version, BCPO fulfills all the requirements established by the standard and allows any organization that integrates the tool with their BCM processes to be in an ideal situation to obtain a certification that each day becomes more valuable.