Emergency management is designed to ensure the continuity of business operations during emergencies. It enables organizations to respond appropriately in the event of disruptions to critical business processes. Components of emergency management are emergency preparedness and emergency response.
What is emergency management?
Emergency management is part of the IT security strategy and has the task of maintaining or restoring critical business processes. It aims to respond appropriately to various emergency scenarios by acting in a planned and prepared manner.
Another name for emergency management is service continuity management. In advance, it is necessary to identify and evaluate critical business processes (business impact analysis).
Components of emergency management are preventive measures for emergency preparedness and plans for coping with emergencies and restoring business processes. All aspects of the processes required to continue in the event of an emergency are to be considered as part of emergency management. Emergency plans are to be tested for their applicability in practice by means of exercises. The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has developed Standard 100-4 for IT emergency management. Internationally, ISO standard 27013 exists. Emergency management can reduce both the probability of emergencies occurring and the impact of emergencies.
Hazards to consider in emergency management
Emergencies can be triggered by a wide variety of events. These events include, for example, hazards such as the failure of IT systems, hacker attacks, loss of personnel, failure of buildings, failure of service providers, failure of networks, force majeure, natural disasters, and others.
The BSI Standard 100-4 for emergency management
Standard 100-4 from the German Federal Office for Information Security describes systematic ways to establish effective emergency management in companies, government agencies, or other organizations. Tasks listed in the standard include improving resilience, preparing organizations for potential failures, and quickly restoring critical processes.
The goal of the standard is to minimize damage to organizations and ensure the continued existence of businesses or government agencies. The standard can be downloaded directly from the BSI website. Also made available by the BSI is the implementation framework for emergency management, which is aimed at authorities and companies that want to set up emergency management in accordance with BSI Standard 100-4.
The emergency plan as a component and result of emergency management
One result of emergency management is the so-called IT emergency plan. This is a kind of manual that provides clear instructions for action or lists emergency measures in the event of IT problems. In the event of problems in the IT environment, the IT emergency plan is intended to avert or limit damage to an organization or to individuals.
The plan contains a kind of catalog of measures and instructions. It is often structured in the form of checklists that are to be worked through in a predefined sequence depending on the event that has occurred.
Contingency plans can be kept ready, for example, for technical malfunctions, network failures, power outages, cyber-attacks, natural hazards, vandalism, staff absences, operator errors, and others. The plan allows the company to respond appropriately and quickly to the event in question and minimize downtime of critical business processes. In addition to technical or organizational instructions, the content of an emergency plan includes responsibilities, alerting and notification chains, contact data, or measures for procuring replacement parts.