Protecting your most Important Business Services

Discover important business services, including common examples and the crucial role they play in your organization's operational resilience strategy.

What are Important Business Services?

‘Important business services’ (or ‘critical operations’) refer to the core services or functions within an organization. These services are essential for the business to continue operating.

Important Business Services Process Flow

What are Critical Operations?

Critical operations and important business services both mean the same thing. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) uses the term ‘important business services’. In Australia, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) uses the term ‘critical operations’. 

What are Critical Processes & Resources?

To manage risks, important business services need to be broken down into the specific processes and resources that support them. Critical processes are any actions that are essential to keep these services running. The resources that support these processes might include people, data, systems, or third-party providers. 

Why so important

Why are these services so important?

Safeguarding and maintaining essential business services is crucial, as disruptions can greatly affect a company's ability to deliver value. Protecting them means protecting the business’s reputation.

That’s why identifying and protecting important business services is a fundamental part of an organization’s operational resilience strategy. To make sure these crucial operations keep working - especially during tough times - it's important to conduct a thorough risk assessment. This helps ensure their continued availability and functionality.

Scenario Library

Regulatory standards in the UK and Australia require companies to set impact tolerances for each of these important business services. An impact tolerance is the maximum level of harm a business can withstand. It measures the potential impact over time. ‘Intolerable harm’ is the point at which they have crossed the threshold.

To put these impacts to the test in a safe environment, the next step is conducting robust scenario testing. This involves using severe - but plausible - scenarios to assess your ability to remain within your defined impact tolerances. 

Tests should include failures within your control (e.g. IT system failures) as well as those outside of your control (e.g. cyber attack or disruption to power supply). Every sector and organization will be different. 

Learn more: What is operational resilience?

Examples of Important Business Services

Below, we look at examples of important business services in a few different industries and how they pertain to operational resilience. 

Financial Services

Payment processing is an important business service for Financial Services firms. The uninterrupted flow of payments out is critical. Without it, the integrity of the financial system could be at risk. Operational resilience in this context involves redundant payment systems, disaster recovery plans, and cybersecurity measures to prevent service disruptions.

Healthcare Industry

Access to patient information is an essential service for healthcare providers. Operational resilience could involve secure access control and disaster recovery plans to make sure electronic health records are always available. 

Manufacturing Industry

Supply chain management is an essential service for manufacturing companies that rely on a smooth supply chain for raw materials. Operational resilience related to supply chain management involves diversifying suppliers and having contingency plans for supplier disruptions.

Technology Industry

Tech companies rely heavily on data storage and cloud services. Operational resilience for a tech company involves redundant data centers, backup power systems, and data recovery plans to prevent service interruptions.

Retail Industry

For retailers, ensuring the availability of E-commerce and online shopping platforms is crucial. Operational resilience includes redundancy in servers, load balancing, and DDoS protection to maintain online service availability.



Identifying critical services for operational resilience

To keep a business running smoothly, it's crucial to know your most important services. These services rely on different factors like how the business works, its technology, the people, data, and outside partners. If any of these key services break down or face issues, it can seriously harm the business. So, it's important to carefully assess these vital services and their connections for effective business planning and managing risks.

Special attention must be given to ensuring the resilience of these services. This may involve backup systems, disaster recovery plans, and other risk mitigation strategies.

How to determine your Important Business Services

When determining your organization’s more important business services, it’s important to consider the following. If they fit into any of these categories, they are most likely critical operations to consider.

Necessity: These services or operations are vital for the organization's survival, regulatory compliance, and the fulfillment of its mission. They are the highest priority functions.

Interconnectedness: They are often interlinked with other operations within the organization. That means a failure could have cascading effects on other processes or services.

Impact: Disruption or failure of these services can result in severe financial, reputational, operational, or legal consequences for the organization.

Continuity: Organizations prioritize the continuity of these services during and after disruptions. This is to minimize downtime and ensure they can continue to serve customers and stakeholders.

Regulatory compliance: Compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards is often a crucial aspect of managing and protecting important business services.



Ansarada GRC for operational resilience

Ansarada GRC provides a complete Governance, Risk and Compliance solution, integrating all facets of operational resilience. Our platform covers risk management, control assessment, event tracking, contract management, policy compliance, regulatory scanning and more. It not only maps critical processes, but also enhances visibility into third-party resources, supply chains, digital assets, and cybersecurity.

The Operational Resilience module in Ansarada GRC uses AI technology to generate a list of business services relevant to your organization. You can edit these services as a template or add your own instead. For each important business service, the system helps you break down critical processes into the resources that support them. From there, you are able to map each process flow to understand any conditions and resource dependencies. 

Use Ansarada GRC to:

  • Create a centralized and accessible register of critical services
  • Assign these to stakeholders and rate their priority & criticality
  • Understand and maintain critical operations to minimize the likelihood and impact of disruption
  • Link services to other records throughout the GRC system, enabling links to third parties, time-based metrics, risks, events and scenarios
  • Ensure the resources that enable critical services and processes can adapt in the face of disruption
  • Set alternate processes or resources where a disruption occurs



Build an operationally resilient business

Learn more about Ansarada GRC's Operational Resilience module.
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