How to Prepare for a Business Continuity Audit in the Financial Industry

How to Prepare for a Business Continuity Audit in the Financial Industry

It is a vital success factor for all businesses to be able to maintain critical business functions while adapting to a big disaster, and then to resume normal operations effectively and cohesively afterward. Any interruption in business leads to a loss of revenue. As a result, businesses have formed teams dedicated to business continuity planning (BCP) and the implementation of BCP procedures.


Many firms request BCP audits from outside agencies regularly to ensure that their business continuity plans are up to date. Business continuity certificates are also sought by organizations since many of their clients require them before engaging in a contract. In the financial industry, there are a few best practices to follow when preparing for a business continuity audit.


How To Prepare for a Business Continuity Audit in the Financial Industry

1.    Create a Team to Stay on Top of Business Continuity

Establish a business continuity awareness team to oversee staff awareness programs. This group will keep track of who has attended the awareness training and who has recently joined the company. Every worker of the organization should be required to attend a business continuity awareness workshop. Every employee must go through a business continuity awareness session every two years.


2.    Make a Template Document for Business Continuity

Details about the business continuity policies in place, as well as emergency contact numbers and emergency personnel, should be included in a business continuity template form. This template should be updated frequently and distributed to all staff so that everyone is informed.


3.    Conduct Internal Audits

Internal BCP audits in financial institutions will be conducted by the business continuity awareness team, with the results being improved. The business continuity awareness team should resort to the publicly available online templates created by auditing organizations and conduct their BCP audits on such templates. BCP audits should be performed for each financial institution.


4.    Designate a Business Continuity Spokesperson

Each financial institution should choose a spokesperson. This is necessary to guarantee that all business units are aware of the business continuity measures.


5.    Carry Out Mock Drills

Every quarter, conduct business continuity test mock drills to evaluate the organization’s business continuity preparedness and to identify and correct any flaws. These practice drills are quite useful for passing BCP audits.


6.    Audit BCPs with a Third Party

It is preferable to have an external audit before undergoing a BCP audit by a certification agency. Have them give their thoughts on the business continuity plan. Any flaws discovered before the external BCP audit can be corrected.


7.    Make Certain Management is Aware of the Situation

Frequently, management is unaware of the business continuity procedures in place. They are unable to respond to the BCP auditors’ inquiries. Management should also participate actively in business continuity training.


8.    Communicate Well

External BCP audit dates must be informed to the company well in advance. This is necessary to ensure that every employee in the company is ready for the BCP audit.


9.    Collaborate

It is recommended practice for business continuity teams to collaborate if the organization is distributed across multiple geographies. They can share best practices from their respective locations and work to improve business continuity plans. Shortcomings discovered during one region’s audit can be corrected before the second region’s assessment.


Why a Business Continuity Audit is Important

Despite the best efforts of a financial institution to prevent and avoid potential risks, the extent and scope of prospective threats, such as cyberattacks and natural catastrophes, are frequently unforeseen. The more planning and preparation a company can do, the better. The effectiveness of business continuity management initiatives is boosted by conducting an audit, which provides feedback on what is working and what needs to be improved in the plan.


A thorough BCP audit gives objective input that can be used to improve a business continuity plan by making modifications and updates that are actionable. A thorough audit can establish the quality and success of a business continuity plan by comparing it to both financial industry best practices and management expectations.


A common rule of thumb in business continuity and disaster recovery is that the more testing is done, the better. Technology and risks evolve at a rapid pace, so reviewing a business continuity plan is just one more step to verify that it is constantly updated and won’t fail in the event of a crisis.


Because audits are carried out for the advantage of the company’s management rather than for the audit’s purpose, it’s crucial to know who will obtain, accept, and execute the final audit report.


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