One of the largest dental benefits administrators in the United States, representing over 20 million Americans, engaged Focal Point for business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) services. Headquartered in the Southeast, the Company was vulnerable to hurricanes and realized their BC/DR plan was outdated after a major storm passed through the area. Focal Point was brought in to perform an initial business impact analysis (BIA) and business continuity risk assessment to develop a plan to reduce business interruptions in the event of a future storm or similar incident.
Challenge 1: An Outdated Disaster Recovery Plan
For this engagement, Focal Point reviewed the existing business continuity plan and IT disaster recovery processes to establish a baseline understanding of what was in place. The existing plan and processes were outdated and had been left untouched for years until a disaster finally struck. In order to guarantee a new plan would not become obsolete, the Focal Point team designed and implemented a BC/DR governance program as part of the risk assessment process. Ownership of the business continuity plan was moved from the CFO, who had enough on her plate, and assigned to a dedicated Disaster Recovery Coordinator to ensure it was maintained and updated regularly to detect undocumented changes and omissions. An exercise template was also provided by Focal Point for personnel to complete when testing and re-evaluating the business continuity plans going forward.
Challenge 2: Inefficient Disaster Recovery Processes
As part of the initial assessment, Focal Point facilitated interviews and working sessions with key stakeholders and traveled to client locations to review local procedures and documentation. The Focal Point team also identified the applications supporting essential business functions, potential failure points, and costs associated with these failures.
At the conclusion of this phase, Focal Point identified significant risks and disruption costs leading up to a serious event, like a hurricane. Focal Point worked with multiple local meteorologists and client teams to develop a framework that streamlined processes around disaster notification, preparedness, and response.
Challenge 3: Lack of Communication between IT and Executive Leaders
Like many large organizations, the Company suffered from a lack of communication between the IT department and the executive leaders throughout an incident. During the assessment, Focal Point discovered that each team initiated their own operations in response to separate incident tickets, each with varying priorities. Working in silos, each team was unable to understand the needs of the other, which sacrificed efficiency and decreased disaster recovery times. Focal Point established one team that united experts from various departments and teams and appointed a chain of command when initiating disaster plans. By defining the procedures for response and incident handling, communication improved and the business was able to respond more quickly and efficiently.
Success and Continued Support
When Focal Point first tested the Company’s business impact analysis, the Company would have met around 50% of their recovery time objectives in the event of an emergency. Following Focal Point’s assessment and the establishment of an improved business continuity plan, the Company saw an increase of about 25% in their recovery time. After a hurricane hit their headquarters later that year, the Company was able to execute the established plan seamlessly, minimize business interruptions, and make additional improvements to the plan. The Company has continued to partner with Focal Point on evaluating and updating their BC/DR processes each year.