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Financial Sector employees have this week been facing up to the possibility of cyber attack. Organised by the Bank of England, FCA and Treasury, operation Waking Shark II has been testing the preparedness of our financial institutions in the event of an attack on their security and IT systems.
Although best practice recommends that every organisation, however small, has a robust business continuity plan (BCP) there are some, such as those which come under the FCA’s remit, for which a BCP is mandatory. However, having a plan and testing to prove its effectiveness are two very different things and when it comes to some of our larger institutions, failure can have consequences which reach far wider than the business itself.
Key to any BCP is the way in which people are consulted, briefed and treated. Sadly there are many organisations whose employees know that there is a plan but who have no clue as to its contents or what part they have to play in the event of an emergency. The most robust plans fail if employees are not treated as central to the process and the best plans will come to nought if employees are not engaged and willing to play their part.
It may be some time, if at all, before we know how effective Waking Shark II was and whether lessons have been learnt which can stand our financial organisations in good stead in the event of a real emergency. In the meantime, business leaders can strengthen their preparedness by involving and engaging employees in the organisation and in their role in creating the conditions for a swift return to business as usual.