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.
Here are a few reasons companies typically outsource
- Lack of Experience - Business continuity and contingency planning require skills and
expertise that most people do not have.
- Cost factors - The cost of hiring, training and certifying contingency planning staff may be
- Infrastructure - You may not be able to implement and maintain a fully-fledged disaster recovery system, whereas outsourced companies have the skills and resources to run
robust and efficient infrastructure that is out of reach for most small-to-medium
The following are reasons companies decide against outsourcing
- Confidentiality - Business continuity professionals will analyse your business and come into contact with sensitive information. Are you willing to take the chance of allowing outsiders access to confidential information? Information sensitivity should be a thorough consideration for any business considering outsourcing services that place external parties in contact with company data.
- Liability - A mistake made by an outsourced company can be costly and have detrimental effects to your business name and operations. To draw the line on liability, clear and comprehensive SLAs should be in place that demonstrates each party’s role and responsibilities around the handling of data assets.
- Quality - Not every company will share the same work ethic and quality as you, which can result in you receiving a substandard service or product.
Legal and compliance considerations
While it may not be a legal requirement to have a business continuity plan, it is advised as there are likely a number of regulations that apply to your business and its operations. Staying abreast of regulations will also allow you to adopt certain practices in times of legislative change. Furthermore, breaching the law and certain standards can result in penalties and hefty fines being issued to your business, which no one wants. Are you monitoring the changes to legislation and standards and is your contingency plan in place and complaint?
When should you outsource your contingency planning?
- Run ROI exercises - Determine the cost/value of outsourcing contingency planning. Investigate factors such as certification costs, training, infrastructure investment, etc.
- Capital outlay may not be necessary - Outsourcing your contingency planning may be more efficient and cost effective.
- When your company does not have the skill-set required - Contingency planning can be complex, time consuming and require a certain skill set. If your company does not have the skills to design and implement a comprehensive contingency plan, outsourcing the requirement and relying on external expertise is the best option.
How to begin the process of outsourcing your contingency plan?
When considering outsourcing your contingency plan,consider the following:
- Find the right partner - Do a diligent search for partners that are business continuity compliant, well-known and have a proven track record. Choose competent partners above cheap partners.
- Set deadlines - Set timeframes and deadlines to ensure you are indeed actively working toward an outsourced solution for contingency planning
- Create service level agreements and contracts - Ensure you have a contract in place that details what you are paying for and what services are expected in return. If there are discrepancies, you can revert to the contract to address them or for a legal footing.
Outsourcing contingency planning can be a god-send
When making the decision to outsource your contingency plan to ensure your business continuity, weigh the costs, pros and cons and do intensive research. Any competent contingency planning partner will be using cloud continuity software and be certified. Lastly, whether or not you outsource your contingency plan, make sure that business continuity is a priority of yours so you are always able to recover from a disaster.
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