by Sara Nguyen
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Avoid the worst-case scenario with a business continuity plan
by Sara Nguyen
A healthcare provider’s operations and system networks are always under threat of being shut down due to a natural disaster or cybercrimes. A business continuity plan should not be an afterthought. You need a proactive plan in case the worst scenario happens.
What is a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a process to discover, avoid, and mitigate system risks.
It also includes a disaster plan for how a healthcare system operates when there is a service disruption. The procedure helps protect a business and its assets while returning to functionality as quickly as possible.
The main goal of a BCP is to minimize the financial impact of a disaster, but in healthcare, the stakes are higher because people’s lives could be at risk. Doctors need to provide uninterrupted service to patients and supply the necessary resources to healthcare employees if they want to succeed.
Why is a business continuity plan important for healthcare?
The importance of a business continuity plan came up during our recent Paubox SECURE @ Home healthcare cybersecurity conference during our session on how to leverage third parties to protect your business. You can find the full recording of the presentation here.
Businesses need to protect their data in the event of fires, floods, storms, or other natural disasters. Organizations also need to protect their IT systems from cyberattacks.
Creating a BCP is a proactive way for organizations to stay ahead of potential problems.
This is especially true for healthcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic since recent reports show that cyberattacks have only increased in 2020.
Avoid the worst-case scenario
It’s increasingly apparent that a BCP is needed for every healthcare provider to deal with the worst-case scenario; it could be a life or death situation for your patients.
For example, a cyberattack on a hospital in Germany crippled the facility’s systems so badly that it was unable to admit an emergency room patient. The patient died while on the way to a different hospital.
If a BCP was in place, the hospital would have had a back-up system allowing it to intake the patient manually.
A healthcare provider must have a BCP to continue operations even when the central systems are down.
What is included in a business continuity plan?
There are essentially four parts of a BCP.
First, you must conduct a business impact analysis (BIA). Consult with various managers and employees to learn all the critical business functions. The goal is to discover what departments minimally need to operate successfully.
The next step involves creating a business continuity plan.
Ask yourself, if you lost access to your central network, how would you still operate? Create a plan to continue business at a minimal yet acceptable level if a disaster occurred.
The third step involves disaster recovery. This mostly focuses on your IT systems. Your IT department should have a plan to restore applications and systems to your network. You may want to consider having a data center located away from your primary operations. This will make it easier to re-establish your network.
Finally, you will want to test your BCP. Conducting tests through simulations or drills can reveal issues that you may not have noticed. This is critical to revise your BCP and strengthen your recovery plans.
For more detailed information, see this resource from the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors.
How can Paubox be part of your business continuity plan?
Paubox Email Suite offers a variety of features to keep your emails safe and secure from cybercriminals.
In addition to enabling seamless HIPAA compliant email by default, our Plus and Premium plans have robust inbound security tools that protect you from the latest scams, viruses, and phishing attacks. We also have advanced security measures to protect your healthcare data, including ExecProtect that prevents display name spoofing.
Our Premium version also offers email archiving. We store all emails on our servers—keeping them safe if your systems go down. You’re also able to search for individual emails, making it easier to restore an essential email to your inbox.
Start planning today to protect your business from disasters with a proper business continuity plan.