Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram - Text VersionWhen business is disrupted, it can cost money. In Part 1 of this post, we discussed the risks of poor business continuity planning and the distinction between business continuity and disaster recovery. With the complexity of today’s IT environments and the sheer volume of users, devices and data that networks must support, organizations should operate under the assumption that something will eventually go wrong.
Disaster recovery,the process of storing data at a secondary site so the data can be quickly recovered and accessed in case of a disaster, is one component of a business continuity strategy. A business resumption plan, which identifies how critical services are maintained at the crisis site. A business recovery plan, which identifies how business functions will be recovered at a secondary site. A contingency plan, which identifies how events that can affect an organization will be managed. Business continuity plans must be regularly tested and updated through mock exercises and drills so organizations can carefully analyze any number of “what if” scenarios.
The 24×7 nature of today’s global business environment underscores the need for effective business continuity planning. Let ICG help you fortify your business continuity plan or develop a new one from scratch so your organization can minimize the risk and cost of unplanned downtime. Hear The Latest from ICGKeep up to date with ICG and the latest technology news by signing up for our newsletter.
HSMC Orizon Technology can assist you to assess your risks and work with you to customize a business continuity plan that is tailored to your situation, the company’s existing technology and business processes, and your environment.  We will help you prepare to get your business up and running quickly in the event of a disaster. Winning awards confirms that our employees, staff and partners are all unified in our vision to servicing our clients. Although most people associate disaster recovery with hurricanes and floods, natural disasters are far from the leading cause of data loss. The key is to have an effective business continuity plan in place so you can minimize risk and continue normal business operations with little or no downtime when something does go wrong. Weaknesses, errors, omissions, discrepancies and threats need to be identified and addressed.

Insurance does not cover all costs and cannot replace customers that defect to the competition. Downtime measured in hours can be crippling, while downtime measured in days or more can devastate a business. We live in a world in which people expect fast access to data, fast answers to questions and fast decisions. Therefore, recovery strategies for information technology should be developed so technology can be restored in time to meet the needs of the business. It’s not uncommon for organizations to discover that data may be recovered quickly, but because copies of important passwords and contact information are lost, that data becomes difficult to access.
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 point in time when a function or process must be recovered, before unacceptable consequences could occur, is often referred to as the “Recovery Time Objective.”Resource Required to Support Recovery StrategiesRecovery of a critical or time-sensitive process requires resources. 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. An analysis of the resources required to execute recovery strategies should be conducted to identify gaps. 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.

This strategy also assumes that the surviving site has the resources and capacity to assume the work of the impacted site.
Prioritization of production or service levels, providing additional staff and resources and other action would be needed if capacity at the second site is inadequate.Telecommuting is a strategy employed when staff can work from home through remote connectivity. This strategy requires ensuring telecommuters have a suitable home work environment and are equipped with or have access to a computer with required applications and data, peripherals, and a secure broadband connection.In an emergency, space at another facility can be put to use. Cafeterias, conference rooms and training rooms can be converted to office space or to other uses when needed. 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.
Assuming space is available, issues such as the capacity and connectivity of telecommunications and information technology, protection of privacy and intellectual property, the impacts to each other’s operation and allocating expenses must be addressed. 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. Other options include provision of technology equipped office trailers, replacement machinery and other equipment.
The availability and cost of these options can be affected when a regional disaster results in competition for these resources.There are multiple strategies for recovery of manufacturing operations. The electronic order entry system checks available inventory, processes payments and routes orders to the distribution center for fulfillment. Establish control logs to document transactions and track their progress through the manual system.Manual workarounds require manual labor, so you may need to reassign staff or bring in temporary assistance.

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