Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram - Text VersionWhen business is disrupted, it can cost money.
Yet having such a plan remains unfinished business for many companies, perhaps due in part to the challenges of distinguishing the differences between business continuity and disaster recovery.
It is equally important for an organization to devise both of these plans in conjunction as each, on its own, will not be able to provide the level of preparedness and protection today's businesses demand to remain up and running under any conditions. Most organizations cite downtime and its impact on revenue generation as the major drivers creating demand for a comprehensive business continuity strategy. While any interruption to revenue generation undeniably plays a major role in the need for business continuity, it is not the only factor that should be considered when analyzing the optimal business continuity approach. Arguably, the most important aspect in preparing any business continuity plan is validating the combined technology and business processes to ensure they work together seamlessly. It is important to measure and validate test results relative to the plan's original goals and priorities.
If weaknesses are exposed after testing and evaluation, it is imperative that the testers react quickly to implement necessary changes in prioritized fashion, through taking careful, calculated steps that consider both technology requirements and business needs. Business continuity and disaster recovery should be thought of not as a task to be completed but as a living and breathing exercise. As the senior vice president of corporate development and strategy, Ken Horner is responsible for the worldwide roll out of BakBone's overall strategy and business development activities that will drive future growth for the Company, and the direct sales development, channel management activities and revenue growth in the North and South America regions. Therefore, it is imperative for organizations to not only have a disaster recovery plan in place for the aftermath, but to also implement a business continuity strategy to aid in the complete avoidance of these IT dangers all together. While disaster recovery primarily involves protecting IT infrastructure and data from disabling events after an equipment or site failure, business continuity targets a more comprehensive, business-focused approach for maintaining the availability of mission-critical applications and data in the face of any type of disruption. Executives sometimes overlook the often commonplace events such as cable cuts, power outages, computer viruses and equipment failures that can endanger a company's business survival.


Among the most tangible consequences of service downtime, besides the adverse effect on revenues, is the derailment of everyday business systems that help organizations operate productively.
There are a variety of intangible costs that indirectly impact the bottom line, which all accelerate the growing demand for greater business resiliency.
This requires the diligent testing of the documented plan under many different types of circumstances. The Business Continuity Institute suggests business continuity plans be tested fully at least once a year, yet research from Infoconomy revealed only one-third of companies surveyed do so.
Therefore, a successful business continuity plan delivers more than the ability to restore or recover data; it improves the company's financial performance by ensuring sustained workforce productivity and revenue generation. To improve these odds, organizations should implement a "closed loop" process for deploying and maintaining their business continuity strategies. To create and maintain a business continuity plan that is a corporate must that necessitates a serious commitment of time and resources, making sure all systems and process analyses are performed and then remaining dedicated to supporting all the steps all along the way.
This realization shows the high degree of direct impact that not having a business continuity strategy can have on a company's bottom line.
Pay particular attention to fluctuating business conditions as well as the addition of new technologies and applications.
Therefore, recovery strategies for information technology should be developed so technology can be restored in time to meet the needs of the business. The worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers with sufficient knowledge of the business.
Once all worksheets are completed, the worksheets can be tabulated to summarize:the operational and financial impacts resulting from the loss of individual business functions and processthe point in time when loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impactsThose functions or processes with the highest potential operational and financial impacts become priorities for restoration. The Business Continuity Resource Requirements worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers.


Completed worksheets are used to determine the resource requirements for recovery strategies.Following an incident that disrupts business operations, resources will be needed to carry out recovery strategies and to restore normal business operations.
Meetings with individual managers should be held to clarify information and obtain missing information.After all worksheets have been completed and validated, the priorities for restoration of business processes should be identified.
This information will be used to develop recovery strategies.Recovery StrategiesIf a facility is damaged, production machinery breaks down, a supplier fails to deliver or information technology is disrupted, business is impacted and the financial losses can begin to grow. Recovery strategies are alternate means to restore business operations to a minimum acceptable level following a business disruption and are prioritized by the recovery time objectives (RTO) developed during the business impact analysis.Recovery strategies require resources including people, facilities, equipment, materials and information technology. However, if all machines are lost due to a flood, and insufficient undamaged inventory is available to meet customer demand until production is restored, production might be made up by machines at another facility—whether owned or contracted.Strategies may involve contracting with third parties, entering into partnership or reciprocal agreements or displacing other activities within the company. Staff with in-depth knowledge of business functions and processes are in the best position to determine what will work. Equipping converted space with furnishings, equipment, power, connectivity and other resources would be required to meet the needs of workers.Partnership or reciprocal agreements can be arranged with other businesses or organizations that can support each other in the event of a disaster.
Periodic review of the agreement is needed to determine if there is a change in the ability of each party to support the other.There are many vendors that support business continuity and information technology recovery strategies. External suppliers can provide a full business environment including office space and live data centers ready to be occupied.



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