A major aspect of any business continuity plan is that employees adopt good business practices and embrace all the aspects of the plan. Employees who understand business continuity and are aware of its working parts are less likely to make serious mistakes, as they are well-prepared and competent in what to do when any form of unanticipated change occurs. Thus, it is crucial that all employees play their part in ensuring businesses continuance, and not just selected operational level employees.
As great value is derived from all employees being involved in the business continuity plan, we have detailed some roles that are important for you to consider.
To outsource or not to outsource
With the emergence of the cloud, outsourcing is frequently being used to reduce costs and acquire managed services. This is a result of companies not having the skills or resources to run services internally. Inevitably all companies will outsource components of their business which are not seen as core functions. Contingency planning is one of these functions and the following will detail how to outsource contingency planning and why you should have a contingency plan in the first place.
Ten steps to a safe working environment
Having spent time working in the demanding environments of the motor industry, I have a fairly intimate grasp on the inner workings of safety in the workplace. Having all your workers from C-level to floor staff available, healthy and safe is a key element of business sustainability. But apart from personal safety risks, other threats exist that can have a serious impact on your company’s ability to perform at peak.
What to put forward when raising the case for Business Continuity
Gaining the approval, trust and support of top management is crucial to ensuring business continuity and many projects fizzle out due to lack of buy-in from decision-makers. An important step in rallying support is presenting your case in an articulate and convincing manner that communicates the business value clearly. In this article, we will discuss how to make the argument for a comprehensive business continuity strategy that is able to provision the essentials in case of a disaster.
Disaster recovery conjures images of human suffering, widespread chaos and emergency teams scrambling to assist victims. The term however is a misnomer as “Disaster recovery (DR) involves a set of policies and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster”. Disaster recovery plans are important tools in recovering from a disruptive event and need to be well written, thought-out, exercised and enforced. I have come across many instances of disaster recovery plans being outdated and ineffective. Do not fall into the trap of procrastination. No matter where you are in the world, disasters can and do wreak havoc.
The most important things you need to do when planning
Getting your business continuity plan on the go can seem quite a daunting task. When I first began to do research on business continuity, I came across an unappetizing alphabet soup: complex and closely guarded like the Colonel’s secret recipe. For the CFO, COO or CTO who is making important decisions on how to proceed with getting the business continuity project on the go, here are a few points that will make the process easier to accomplish.
The value of ISO 23301 to your business
The ISO 22301 standard is the latest and pre-eminent standard for business continuity. Whereas the ISO 27001 standard covers information and technological systems, ISO 22301 aims to address every conceivable cause of disruption to a business. It is a continual process using the Plan-Do-Check-Act model. In this blog, I’d like to cover what ISO 22301 is and of what advantage it can be to your business.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
The definition of a Business Continuity Plan is often taken out of context. Many see it as an extensive, overly complex plan printed and bound , that can assuage the demands of auditors and regulatory bodies - but in reality is not very practical. In the event of an emergency, a Business Continuity Plan locked away in a safe makes as much sense as having an expensive luxury yacht locked away in a warehouse.
An ever-advancing data-dependent world relies heavily on data-protection. An essential part of business continuity , online backup should be part of your disaster recovery plans. Consider a guide written by Pilot Software on data backup.
An important part of the business continuity process is Business Impact Analysis, or BIA, which is defined as the process that identifies and evaluates the potential effects (financial, safety, regulatory, legal, reputation and other) of natural and man-made events on business operations. This is usually done in tandem with risk analysis, or RA, which is the process of gathering data that can be used to identify risks and possible threats to business operations.
What could possibly go wrong with your business continuity plan?
Having a business continuity plan is no guarantee that when things go wrong that everything will be plain sailing. Things change and the business landscape is littered with potential landmines waiting to explode. So, what can go wrong with your business continuity plan? This blog takes a look at some of the loopholes that can creep into your continuity plan and how you can address them to ensure a predictable and desirable outcome in the event of a disaster or service outage.
Creating an optimal business impact analysis format
Business impact analysis can be a complex undertaking and many continuity plans never leave port as a result. But there exists a simple and logical method by which business analysis can be accomplished, however, since no two businesses are the same there is no one-size-fits-all formula.
Will your compliance officer give your continuity plan the green light?
With compliance concerns being top of mind in these changing times, compliance officers have become an inextricable part of one’s business. IT managers need to ensure that their systems consistently meet certain standards to ensure business continuity, making the relationship between Compliance and IT such an important one. This blog takes a look at the interrelation between compliance officers and IT and how a healthy working relationship can result in a continuity plan that safeguards your business when disaster strikes.
High availability: bullet proofing your business against outages
No business wants to lose money, especially not because of outages or loss of service caused by third parties. Key services such as electricity and internet play a pivotal part in business function and continuity and in today's technologically dependent world, no business can survive without them. Unfortunately, we need to rely on third parties to provision these necessities and when deliverables aren’t met, businesses suffer. This blog takes a look at how you can build contingencies into critical elements of your business to safeguard you in the event of a service outage.
Change is often the only constant. Failing to bring about - or adapt to - change and progress can set your business up for failure. Many people are averse to it, finding even the smallest change difficult to manage and absorb. The philosophy of kaizen, where change is brought about by collaboration, involvement and small yet productive steps can bring great rewards and if managed correctly, make transition as smooth as possible. The following article follows a novel approach to change management.
6 tips to future-proof the right way
Once a formidable giant in the business world, Eastman Kodak has now become a shadow of its former self. Other film manufacturers like Agfa and Fuji, however, have managed to remain afloat in sharp contrast to Kodak. The lack of foresight on Kodak’s part - and resistance to take measures to future-proof their products – have resulted in the company’s unfortunate decline. They assumed that their sphere of influence could remain uncontested - but this policy proved a costly one.
Business sustainability: how the cloud can help you go green
With the cost of energy increasing steadily while profits go the other way, many companies find themselves under immense pressure to remain profitable. The shift toward technologies such as cloud, analytics and social media has resulted in demands for greater computing power to deliver services around the clock. Nowadays, more IT execs are realising how the cloud can be used to not only make businesses operate with elevated efficiency, but also reduce the cost involved in building an IT infrastructure that meets the demands of the business. By minimising operational overheads required to implement IT systems, businesses also stand to reduce their energy consumption. This blog takes a look at how cloud computing helps organisations operate with increased agility whilst reducing their carbon footprint.
Data compliance: building continuity that meets industry regulations
Compliance and regulation are designed to make things safe and secure. But in reality, meeting regulatory requirements can be like unravelling the Gordian Knot itself. Like it or not, regulations, if not adhered to, can make one liable for a hefty fine or in extreme cases, imprisonment. But regardless of the standard that one implements, there are common principles that should be upheld and key elements that are essential to meeting data compliance regulations. This blog takes a look at some of those considerations and touches on why they are so important to your organisation.
"A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins." The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Disaster recovery is somewhat of a misnomer, in that the definition is a set of policies and procedures, designed to assist in the recovery of technology infrastructure. Disaster management, on the other hand, is the recovery from a natural or man-made disaster. Typically, disasters affect communities or geographic regions, although in our modern age, disasters can take on different forms. Needless to say, no matter in which geographic region or country one is in, one can be affected by disaster directly or indirectly, and one has to be prepared for it. An important part of disaster preparedness is RA (risk analysis), which is the process of identifying risks and threats.
Business continuity can be a rewarding and easy process or expensive and fraught with difficulty. The mistake that is most often made is thinking that business continuity is a once off undertaking. Far from that, business continuity is an iterative process, as one's business is constantly changing along with it. For the average person, the entire process and terminology may be daunting and hard to understand. Below are ways to perfect your business continuity process.
With technology ever evolving, new types of disruptions are set to become commonplace. Your business continuity strategy needs keep up with new technologies and threats.
Is your company cloud-shy? How cloud disaster recovery can save your bacon.
For many IT managers, getting decision-makers on board with taking a more adoptive stance toward technology is still a major source of frustration. Ironically, it’s when IT is perceived to be lacking the resources to move business forward, that lack of foresight on IT’s side is given the blame. Balancing the tightrope between adequately provisioning IT systems and keeping business leaders can be tedious. With cloud technology now well and truly a reality in our everyday lives, it’s still curious how many businesses are still averse to the concept and its contribution to networking as a concept. This blog takes a look at how cloud disaster recovery, as an example, can save your company’s bacon and ease the strain on your budget at the same time.
Once a thriving and expanding entity in South Africa, the electricity supplier Eskom(formerly
Escom) is now a faltering and much joked about company.There are many reasons why the
once proud supplier of power is now a mere shadow of what it was in it's heyday. Rolling
blackouts have had a marked influence in economic downturn in the Southern African
regions. . A fast growing population with an increasing dependence on technology had led to
increased power needs which Eskom is struggling to meet. An ominous possibility is a total
power blackout which will have catastrophic consequences. One wonders what their
business growth strategy was .
Standardisation is a great way to create a framework to work within, but ultimately the greatest standard one can follow is common sense. ICT and data compliance however, are a requirement that CIOs cannot escape. But regulatory adherence doesn’t have to be an administrative nightmare for already time-starved IT execs. This blog takes a look at a few key elements that should be on every CIO’s compliance checklist to aid in meeting data compliance challenges in the context of the modern networking environment. These are not at all exhaustive, but form the crux of what should be on every CIO’s mind.
In an ever shrinking world, communication is of utmost importance. In a disaster recovery situation, bad communication can mean the difference between life and death.
I often cringe when I hear people say that they don't need offsite backups because they back up on a flash drive or external hard drive. I am not saying that backing up onto storage media is a recipe for disaster, but that having just a thumb drive or hard drive as your only backup is asking for disaster to happen. Storage media, external hard drives and flash drives are notorious for failing when you need them most.
In a world that is ever changing technology can bring advantages and pitfalls. Can cloud technology take business continuity into a new era and do we have to change the way we approach business continuity in light of changing trends and technology?
The proliferation of BaaS (backend as a service) means that more and more people are using mobile devices to do business critical tasks. A vital concern in business continuity is making sure that developers don’t accidentally leave backdoors and vulnerabilities in the backend code.
Five crucial capacity planning considerations for IT managers
We’ve all called a customer support line only to get told that ‘due to high call volumes, waiting times may be long’. As frustrating as it is for customers, it's even more frustrating for support agents at the receiving end of an irate client's tirade (I have been there countless times). Another source of frustration is hearing (or saying), ‘Please bear with me, our systems are (always) slow.’ This is an example of bad capacity planning and a lack of research for sure.
In the aftermath of a disaster, lives can be lost as a result of delayed reaction times. In many cases, rescue efforts are hampered by dangerous conditions and the lack of manpower. The use of drones in disaster recovery is a great way to overcome these obstacles.
One way to get any CEO or CFO sweating is to tell him that all the company data has been lost and cannot be recovered. That’s why data backup has become crucial to, and an essential part of business continuity. However, having a backup in place is not enough. This begs the question: how good is your data disaster recovery plan?
Data hackers often go after key assets and information. Being able to track assets is a vital tool in identifying and protecting data and a crucial tool in business continuity planning. .
Far from being just an annoyance that one has to comply with, business continuity is becoming common practice, as more and more business owners see the need for business continuity and the rewards thereof. Business continuity is constantly evolving, but is your business continuity strategy likewise keeping up with the times?
The recent acquirement of Virtustream by EMC highlights the shift of major corporations and technology players toward investing in cloud technology. Moving with the times, embracing new technologies and using them to full advantage should be part of your business plan.
Is your data protection policy keeping up with the times?
Data protection has been an ongoing concern for IT managers since the early days of the first client-server networks, to the first tape devices, to the modern cloud-based as a service platforms. Traditionally, data protection and backup solutions were taxing on IT budgets, with backup devices, media and off-site storage costs running up the bill continuously. Technologies have changed, however, and one that will alleviate many IT management headaches is the often misunderstood cloud technology.
When services like electricity and IT services go down, there are often significant knock-on effects for clients and even their customers. Our huge dependence on IT infrastructure means that when IT systems slow down or fail, work can sometimes grind to a painful – and sometimes costly – halt.
With the global trend of resizing and fat trimming, many companies have streamlined their IT support by reducing staff. Logically, one would expect already-strained IT departments to deliver less output and a lower quality of service affecting business continuity detrimentally. But does it always have to be that way?
Convincing your CFO to invest in a business continuity strategy can be a difficult task. Already buckling under the pressures of a global recession and trying to keep the company’s head above water, a CFO often sees investing in business continuity as an unwelcome expense. It's not an impossible task though, if done using the correct approach. Here are a few pointers that will help you in achieving that:
As smartphones begin to saturate the mobile device market, devices are becoming much bigger – at least in terms of screen size. ‘Phablets’ merge the advantages of a smartphone and a tablet, giving users a bigger screen and phone functionality in one device. As a result, more and more devices are moving to the cloud, enabling users to do business continuity management anywhere, anytime. Business
With the increasing cost of coal and the immense carbon footprint of many of our power stations, many researchers and scientists have been looking for innovative ways to produce electricity cheaply and without a massive environmental impact.We believe that solar power should potentially form part of your business continuity planning Is there a way to make solar power more efficient? There might just be.
A recent power failure at the HBOS data centre drives home the need for proper business continuity planning. The resulting failures had a serious knock-on effect on business operations and client services.
Having a business continuity plan is one thing, but having one that really works and covers all angles is another story. Disasters and disruptive events can occur at any time, and if one is a firm believer in Murphy's Law, then they’re most likely to occur at the most inopportune of times. It makes perfect sense that if the plan wasn't well written or was outdated or ineffective, it may even result in a situation far worse than if one had no plan at all. Find below five key elements of an effective business continuity plan.
With virtual technology advancing at an exciting pace, virtual servers are becoming commonplace in IT environments. Virtual servers, like all software applications, also need to be backed up.
With the increase in cyber-related crimes and increased cooperation between cybercriminals, cyber security is not to be taken lightly.
For the first time ever, data breaches caused by criminal activity have now surpassed the number of data breaches attributed to negligence, according to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute. Data security is an essential part of business continuity planning, and it should not be taken lightly. Scheduled audits are not negotiable and need to be done regularly. Learn how to schedule and run detailed information security audits with Plan4Continuity software.
With the increase in cyber-related crimes and increased cooperation between cyber-criminals, cyber security is not to be taken lightly.
You have just received your latest acquisition, a state of the art fitness machine. You try to assemble it. Two hours later with parts strewn all over the floor and something that looks like something out of an apocalypse movie you decide to call customer support and guess what, they stopped working 5 minutes ago. The manual is written in a language you cannot understand. You throw a tantrum, frustrated and ready to fling everything out the window.
Business continuity planning is not just about recovering from events like earthquakes, but planning for and being able to withstand any event or trigger that can cause disruption. With recent rumblings in the media industry regarding online security and the ever increasing new methods being made every day, cyber security has come to the fore as the top threat facing companies today. Cyber criminals do exist and can possess the ability to cripple entire networks and hold companies to ransom. It’s not an option anymore not to have proper and current online security.
Business continuity is steadily evolving along with the latest technologies to become more efficient and within the reach of smaller businesses. With the immense pressures exerted by slowing economies and global events businesses have had to put more emphasis on business management, of which business continuity is proving to be vital.
A frightening number of small to medium enterprises ignore business continuity planning at their own peril. When disaster strikes one may be caught unprepared and severely on the backfoot, perhaps never recovering.
Every business continuity plan must be well constructed and designed, but where does one start and what are the essentials? It is easy to miss out the important stuff.
“A business impact analysis (BIA) is a process that identifies and evaluates the potential effects (financial, life/safety, regulatory, legal/contractual, reputation and so forth) of natural and man-made events on business operations.” – Gartner. A business impact analysis is really one of the cornerstones of business continuity planning.
When creating a disaster recovery plan, there are five errors many companies make: not having staff support, poor communication, lack of documentation, not sticking to the basics and choosing the wrong suppliers. A business continuity plan is there to make your business not only survive but thrive.
Not having a business continuity plan in place is tantamount to gambling your hard-earned life-savings in one hand of poker. Business continuity planning can not only help you overcome a disastrous event but can also save you money in the event of one. Business continuity does come at a cost, both in terms of investment of time and effort, but if done using a simple, well-designed platform it needn’t be an expensive undertaking.
It’s a given that disaster could strike at any time. In the midst of crisis and chaos even the most well-written disaster recovery plans can fall apart because they may be based on and presented in outdated forms. Cloud-based disaster recovery services, able to run on mobile devices and across multiple platforms that are safely encrypted, are setting the modern standard for disaster recovery. They provide an environmentally conscious, safe and convenient way to access information when needed.