In a Business Continuity Management System (BCMS), evaluating risks associated with changes is a critical process. Changes, no matter how small or large, can introduce new risks or amplify existing ones. Therefore, a systematic approach to risk evaluation is essential to ensure the continued effectiveness and resilience of the BCMS. Here are some criteria that can be used when evaluating risks for changes in BCMS:
Scope of Change:
- Impact on Recovery Objectives: Recovery Time Objective (RTO): Will the change affect how quickly services or functions must be restored after an incident?
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO): Will the change impact the acceptable age of data that needs to be recovered?
- Resource Implications: Does the change require new resources or the reallocation of existing resources? Are there potential consequences for over-extending or misallocating resources?
- Dependencies: How does the change affect dependencies between processes, departments, or external parties? Does it introduce new dependencies or remove existing ones?
- Complexity: Is the change straightforward, or does it add complexity to existing processes or systems?
- Knowledge and Skill Requirements: Does the change require new skills or expertise? Are there risks associated with a lack of knowledge or training?
- Technological Factors: For changes involving technology, is there a risk of incompatibility, security vulnerabilities, or obsolescence?
- Legal and Regulatory Risks: Could the change result in non-compliance with legal or regulatory requirements? Are there any penalties or reputational risks associated with this non-compliance?
- Stakeholder Impacts: How will stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders) be affected? Are there risks related to stakeholder dissatisfaction or disruption?
- Cost Implications: What are the financial risks associated with the change, including potential cost overruns or unforeseen expenses?
- Strategic Alignment: Does the change align with the organization's strategic objectives? Are there risks associated with diverging from the organization's mission or vision?
- Potential for Unintended Consequences: Even with thorough planning, changes can have unintended outcomes. What potential unintended consequences have been identified?
- Testing and Validation: Can the change be tested effectively? Are there risks associated with inadequate testing or validation?