The holidays are often a good time to ask for those things you need that you don’t always get otherwise. In the case of IT professionals, business continuity is not so much a gift but an essential element for protecting critical assets.
Each year businesses in all sectors regardless of size lose revue, customers, and market share due all types of failures caused by human errors, technical errors, or natural disasters. Protect and mitigate detrimental effects to your business considering these five (5) core elements and in return adding value to your business and the Business Continuity Planning program that safeguards it:
Wanted: Executive (VP Sponsor): Ensure your Business Continuity Planning (BCP) program has an executive (VP sponsor) assigned who can endorse your BCP program and thinks about security, risk, and the business impact when your services are not delivered or your product and does not get off the loading dock. One way to get other executives to get on board is show them that having a BCP program in place protects the bottom line. Business continuity needs to be looked at as an opportunity and a competitive advantage or differentiator to your competition. The VP sponsor can also help align business continuity in the boardroom with current and future market needs, resource allocation, funding and reporting program to plan. Finally and importantly to some, regulatory requirements in some industries may define your thresholds for service interruptions and recovery times.
Qualified Staff: For best results, appoint a manager-level staff person to oversee the planning process, which includes development and implementation of the BCP program. Staff leading the charge should be have a general internal working knowledge of the organization’s business, including its workflow, processes or infrastructure owners. Not all the work will be completed by the manager assigned, so have other VP groups assign departmental subject matter experts (SMEs) to dedicate time as part of their regular duties to create response and recovery plans needed for their ‘must preserve’ processes or technology infrastructure. Certification by an industry body such as the Disaster Recovery Institute of Canada or The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) adds credibility to the delivery of your program both internally and with your customers from a confidence point of view.
User-Friendly BCP Methodology Proactive pre-planning reduces the total impact and speeds up recovery from all kinds incidents in meeting required service levels. The value of BCP Methodology is it promotes the safeguarding of organizational business interests through a process which identifies potential risks, their impacts and appropriate mitigation responses.
Funding: Ensuring adequate funding is available to proactively mitigate address risks of concern or reactively for emergency recovery and restoration requires a shift in priorities. Recent events in the U.S. as Hurricane Sandy and the Calgary and Toronto flooding in Canada have started this shift in many organizations.
Building Culture: Business continuity means different things to different people. The type of program you deploy into the organization — and how you engage the internal cross-functional stakeholders successfully to delivery it — will set the stage for it becoming embedded within your company’s culture and organizational nature. By integrating the mindset of the various business unit leaders and their expectations for business continuity and work flow is paramount for planning behavior that builds resiliency into any sized or industry based organization.
Business Continuity Planning is all about building ‘resilience’ into your organization so that your organization can withstand disaster (survivability) and continue business operations. You can’t predict an emergency, but you can plan for one by having the right framework in place.
Read the case study: Savanna Energy – When disaster strikes, it helps to be ready
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