How to conduct a Business Impact Analysis

Step-by-step procedure and a set of questions to conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA):

What is a Business Impact Analysis

A Business Impact Analysis, or BIA, predicts how disruptions will impact a business’ critical business functions (CBF) and what the likely outcomes of those disruptions would be. As potential loss scenarios are identified, this deep dive into your business can also offer recovery strategies, including the order in which critical functions and processes are restored. 

Consider the Impact

The BIA should identify the operational and financial impacts resulting from the disruption of business functions and processes. Impacts to consider include:

  • Lost sales and income
  • Delayed sales or income
  • Increased expenses (e.g., overtime labor, outsourcing, expediting costs, etc.)
  • Regulatory fines
  • Contractual penalties or loss of contractual bonuses
  • Customer dissatisfaction or defection
  • Delay of new business plans

Business Disruption Scenarios

  • Physical damage to a building buildings
  • Damage to or breakdown of machinery, systems or equipment
  • Restricted access to a site or building
  • Interruption of the supply chain including failure of a supplier or disruption of transportation of goods from the supplier.
  • Utility outage (e.g., electrical power outage)
  • Damage to, loss or corruption of information technology including voice and data communications, servers, computers, operating systems, applications, and data
  • Absenteeism of essential employees.

Procedure for Conducting a Business Impact Analysis:

  1. Define the Scope: Determine the boundaries and objectives of the BIA. Identify the critical business processes, systems, and resources that will be analyzed.
  2. Assemble the BIA Team: Form a cross-functional team comprising representatives from different departments, including key stakeholders, subject matter experts, and IT personnel.
  3. Identify Potential Disruptions: Brainstorm and document a comprehensive list of potential threats or events that could disrupt business operations. This may include natural disasters, cyberattacks, equipment failures, or supply chain disruptions.
  4. Assess Impacts: For each potential disruption, analyze the potential impacts on the critical business processes and resources. Consider the following areas:
    • Operational Impact: How will the disruption affect day-to-day business operations?
    • Financial Impact: What are the financial consequences, including revenue loss, increased expenses, or insurance claims?
    • Customer Impact: How will customers be affected? What are the potential reputational impacts?
    • Legal and Regulatory Impact: Are there any legal or regulatory requirements that may be impacted?
    • Employee Impact: What are the potential effects on employees, such as safety concerns, workload, or morale?
  5. Determine Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO): Define the acceptable downtime and data loss limits for each critical business process or resource. This will help prioritize recovery efforts and allocate resources effectively.
  6. Identify Dependencies: Identify the dependencies between critical business processes, systems, and resources. This includes dependencies on suppliers, IT infrastructure, personnel, or other external factors.
  7. Document Findings: Compile all the information gathered during the analysis, including the identified risks, impacts, dependencies, and recovery objectives. Document these findings in a clear and organized manner.
  8. Review and Validate: Review the documented findings with the BIA team and other relevant stakeholders to ensure accuracy and completeness. Validate the findings against available data and industry best practices.
  9. Identify Mitigation Strategies: Based on the BIA findings, develop mitigation strategies to minimize the potential impacts of disruptions. This may include implementing redundant systems, backup processes, contingency plans, or alternative suppliers.
  10. Communicate and Document: Share the BIA report and its findings with key decision-makers, stakeholders, and relevant personnel. Maintain proper documentation of the BIA process and outcomes for future reference and updates.

Questions to Ask During a Business Impact Analysis:

  1. What are the critical business processes and resources that must be analyzed?
  2. What potential threats or events could disrupt these critical processes and resources?
  3. How would each potential disruption impact the day-to-day operations of the organization?
  4. What are the financial consequences of each disruption? Are there any revenue losses or increased expenses?
  5. How would customers be affected by each potential disruption? What are the potential reputational impacts?
  6. Are there any legal or regulatory requirements that may be impacted by the disruptions?
  7. What are the potential effects on employees, such as safety concerns, workload, or morale?
  8. What are the acceptable downtime limits for each critical process or resource (RTO)?
  9. What are the acceptable limits for data loss for each critical process or resource (RPO)?
  10. Are there any dependencies between critical processes, systems, or resources? If so, what are they?
  11. How can the organization minimize the potential impacts of disruptions? What mitigation strategies can be implemented?
  12. How can redundant systems, backup processes, or contingency plans be leveraged to ensure business continuity?
  13. Are there alternative suppliers or resources that can be used in case of disruptions?
  14. How can the organization communicate the BIA findings to