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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

11. Business continuity management (ISO)

Information security aspects of business continuity management

This category's objectiuve is to ensure timely resumption from, and if possible prevention of, interruptions to business activities and processes caused by failures of information systems.

Authorities: ISO-27002:2005 14.; HIPAA 164.308(a)(7); JCAHO-IM:2004 2.20; PCI/DSS:2005 12.8.3

Including information security in the business continuity management process • A managed process should be developed and maintained for business continuity throughout the organization, that includes information security requirements needed for the organization's business continuity. Control includes:

  • identification of information assets involved in critical business processes;
  • a risk assessment that addresses likely causes and consequences of information system failures;
  • identification and consideration of preventive and mitigating controls in light of these risks;
  • identification of sufficient financial, technical and human resources to address the preventive/mitigating control requirements;
  • development and documentation of business continuity plans and processes, including assignment of responsibilities and incorporation into the organization's general processes and structure; and
  • regular testing and updating of business continuity plans and processes.

Authorities: ISO-27002:2005 14.1.1.; HIPAA 164.308(a)(7)(i);

Business continuity and risk assessment • Events that can cause interruptions to business processes should be identified, along with the probability and impact of such interruptions and their consequences for information security. Control includes:

  • identification of all significant risk/risk categories, including the probability and probable impact on operations in terms of scale, likely damage and recovery period;
  • full involvement of owners of significant organizational assets in the assessment process;
  • identification of acceptable and unacceptable losses and interruptions; and
  • formal documentation of the assessment's results, and a plan for regular updating to ensure completeness and currency (see next).

Authorities: ISO-27002:2005 14.1.2.; HIPAA 164.308(a)(7)(ii)(E);

Developing and implementing continuity plans including information security • Business continuity plans should be developed and implemented to maintain or restore operations and ensure availability of information at the required level and in the required time, following interruptions to or failures of business processes. Control includes:

  • identification of and agreement on all responsibilities and operational procedures;
  • specification of the disaster recovery/business continuity procedures to effect recovery and restoration of business processes;
  • a data backup plan to ensure recovery of all data following process restoration, including the ability to replicate exact copies of data in its state prior to disruption of operations;
  • specification of alternative operational procedures to follow pending completion of recovery and restoration, including methods for accessing all critical data;
  • documentation of the above plan elements;
  • appropriate education and awareness efforts for staff on the plan elements;
  • testing and updating of the plan.

Authorities: ISO-27002:2005 14.1.3.; HIPAA 164.308(a)(7)(ii)(A-C); HIPAA 164.312(a)(2)(ii)

Business continuity planning framework • A single framework of business continuity plans should be maintained to ensure that all plans are consistent, consistently assess information security requirements, and to identify priorities for testing and maintenance. Control includes:

  • specification of conditions and criteria for activating the plan; and
  • formal assignment of responsibilities for making assessments about plan activation, choices among emergency procedures and processes, resumption procedures, etc.

Authorities: ISO-27002:2005 14.1.4.; HIPAA 164.308(a)(7)(i)

Testing, maintaining and re-assessing business continuity plans • Business continuity plans should be tested and updated regularly to ensure that they are up to date and effective. Control includes:

  • testing that assures that all persons with significant responsibilities under the plan(s) are aware of and competent to perform them;
  • a range and frequency of testing exercises, from table-top to complete rehearsals, performed as necessary to ensure awareness and competence; and
  • regular reviews and updating of the plan(s) in light of testing results.

Authorities: ISO-27002:2005 14.1.5.; HIPAA 164.308(a)(7)(ii)(D)

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