Beyond Crisis: Everyday Uses of Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plans

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Ten Tips to Help Businesses Prepare for Severe Weather

Business disruptions can happen at any time and have an almost limitless number of causes. Among the biggest disrupters, of course, are big storms with names (a.k.a. hurricanes). The start last week of the Atlantic hurricane season makes this a good time to see what the business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) landscape looks like.

Continuity Central this week posted results from a survey that took a deep dive into the worldwide use of BC software. One-third of the respondents were from the U.S., but a variety of verticals and company sizes were represented.

The results show that just over half (53.3 percent) use specialized BC software and that most who do (88.05 percent) use only one type. The survey revealed that 11 types of BC software are used by respondents. The most common types include software to write and develop BC plans (89.87 percent) and to manage and update BC plans (89.24 percent). Software aimed at carrying out benchmarking activities brought up the rear at 29.11 percent.

It’s safe to assume that companies that use BC software are a good indicator of the percentage doing a serious job of tackling the issue. The telecom and IT industries’ goal should be to nudge that needle up. One way is to suggest to the holdouts that BC planning and preparations can be more than an insurance policy that generates nothing in return beyond extraordinary circumstances.

Business2Community offers some ideas on combining BC and revenue generating initiatives. To a great extent, the emergence of mobility, bring your own device (BYOD) and the cloud as major trends is making that happen as a matter of course. The site suggests extending BC/DR work-at-home strategies to less severe events, such as commuting delays. Regular use of office space leased in case of disruptions and cross-training programs in which people are prepared to assume the tasks of others can also drive efficiency and the bottom line.

The cloud is driving much of the growth of DR/BC, though. Indeed, the idea that trends such as cloud computing organically enfranchise DR/BC, in other words, that new technology lends itself naturally to BC, is good news. And it is happening on a regular basis. For instance, eWeek reports that IBM’s new Direct Link service provides a dedicated connection between the customer’s IT infrastructure and Big Blue’s SoftLayer data centers. The main driver of such a hybrid arrangement is not enhanced DR/BC. It is, however, a potent and compelling byproduct.

For years, DR/BC was a separate silo that demanded its own investment. It was an odd duck, because the best result was that the infrastructure put in place via that investment never was put into service. However, today it offers a “have your cake and eat it too” scenario: Organizations can implement BC and DR platforms that protect the business while providing ongoing capex and opex advantages.

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Jul 18, 2014 1:00 PM Howard Mannella Howard Mannella  says:
This shows a refreshingly good alternative way to look at Business Resiliency. Legacy thinking was to view it as insurance, which is basically betting that something bad will happen and being happy when it doesn't. I'm very happy that I 'lost the bet' on my life insurance this year! Leading thinking is to view Business Resiliency as hedging, which is a buy-down of risk that has value every day. Southwest Air and Delta hedge their fuel costs, Credit Suisse and Goldman hedge their foreign currency exposures... and these buy-downs have value every day. Leading thinking also looks to see how to leverage the BC tools and enablers for everyday use. For example, I evangelized the use of a Mass Emergency Notification System at a global company beyond BC to include IT Incident Management, Fraud Operations and other 'non-disaster' use cases, thereby garnering more advocacy of the tool and further embedding it into the organization. This also shows the business that the BC team are not just "the disaster geeks" but they bring value into the business every day. Thanks for posting! Reply

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