Every day, organisations seek to provide their services or products in the optimum way to benefit them, their staff and stakeholders. By establishing effective methods to maintain continuity of business, the sustainability of their business can be assured.
However, even relatively minor disruptions such as losing power for a day causing IT downtime or delayed deliveries due to adverse weather which start as a frustrating inconvenience, can quickly escalate to unacceptable levels and unhappy customers.
Business continuity planning seeks to meet these issues head on by assessing the organisation’s business critical activities (i.e. services and products) and understanding how the loss of resources upon which they depend can impact the ability to maintain these activities.
Identifying the factors that could potentially reduce or cease operational capability and assigning appropriate risk controls enables strategies to be implemented pre-incident, which will aid the recovery of the business post-incident. This process determines the consequences of the impacts to the business in terms of loss of revenue and reputation, confidence in the brand and market share.
The end result is a tried and tested business continuity plan that clearly shows what actions should be taken to respond to and manage a business continuity threatening disruption. Business continuity planning is essentially about taking a common sense approach to the potential impacts of disruptive scenarios and understanding how to manage them, before they happen not afterwards.
There can be few businesses these days who do not depend on IT and communications (ITC) to some degree and it is inevitable that recovery of critical systems and networks becomes a priority following a disruptive incident.
Anyone who has experienced a power outage in the workplace even for a few hours will know the frustration of not being able to use IT systems. The ability to be able to receive or respond to emails is now considered critical by many organisations. No access to documents or procurement systems, shop tills unable to register sales and card readers unable to connect to banks are just a few of the activities which could be impacted by loss of IT systems and seriously affect business.
IT disaster recovery (DR) planning enables organisations to put in place contingencies to allow systems and communications to be recovered using alternative locations, networks, equipment, etc.
Often IT DR is undertaken in isolation with little in-depth understanding of the business needs which may result in non critical applications being recovered first or large amounts of data being restored taking days to achieve, when select data could have been identified as a priority, keeping down costs and time.
We firmly believe that BC and DR planning go hand-in-hand and our consultants will always take the time to understand what the business wants and needs. The information gained during the business impact analysis is translated to the current availability of ITC resources. Where there are obvious gaps in the “required” vs “achievable”, then it is unlikely that a BC or DR strategy can be expected to perform properly.