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The Importance of Having a Business Continuity Plan

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A business continuity plan is a process aimed at ensuring continuity of business activities and preventing any possible interruptions. If the concept in itself appears quite clear, in reality, this still finds many obstacles in its application.

In an era in which the digitisation of companies is taking over (or has already taken over), the problem of ensuring the safety and operational continuity of the processes managed by IT infrastructures takes place. The importance of business continuity can’t be overlooked.

Entrepreneurs, however, still tend to focus their efforts on activities that generate immediate ROI (return on investment), leaving out all those aspects, that are equally fundamental to the survival of the entire business.

The point is this: if the business relies on an IT system, it is clear that ensuring its efficiency must become a priority.

If your business relies on IT systems, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever considered what impacts an issue or outage could have on your activities?
  • What would happen if all your business processes suddenly stopped?
  • Would you be ready to face an emergency situation?
  • Have you structured your company in such a way as to prevent such a situation?

It is obvious that any disaster capable of interfering with the information systems of a company and causing its interruption could generate very serious damages and, consequently, profit losses.

But the question does not end here: in today’s highly competitive market, guaranteeing an adequate level of operational continuity becomes, for a company, synonymous with quality even in the offer to the potential buyer.

Even before implementing the emergency measures to manage a crisis (we are therefore in the phase where a disastrous event has already happened) companies should, in fact, ask themselves how to organize themselves so that the crisis itself does not take place or take preventive actions so that this does not happen.

This is where Operational Continuity comes into play.

In fact, Business Continuity is intended primarily as a prevention strategy aimed at ensuring a business or an organisation the opportunity to carry out its activities smoothly.

Why, then, should a company organise its IT infrastructure in this regard?

The mistake in which entrepreneurs often stumble is to underestimate the risks and the chances that a so-called “disaster” will occur. In most cases, therefore, it seems that the investment in terms of prevention is not so necessary. Yet the causes that could compromise the IT infrastructure, therefore the Business Continuity, of a company are multiple and much more common than one might think.

 

The types of disaster can in fact be:

Natural (earthquakes, floods, eruptions, avalanches)

Human (fire, damage, theft, sabotage)

Technological (breakage, blackout, explosions

 

How to organize a business continuity strategy

Let’s move on to the practical aspects of the question. To ensure operational continuity it is, therefore, necessary to address two phases:

 

Analysis phase

Through the Business Impact Analysis ( BIA ) all critical processes and their characteristics are identified; BIA includes equipment, IT infrastructure, hardware and data, and its main objective is to identify the operational and financial impacts deriving from an interruption of company functions and processes. We then proceed with the drafting of a risk document that recognizes all the hypothetical causes of a disaster, ascertains which parts would be involved and assesses the impact that the latter could suffer.

The so-called Risk Management comes into play, that set of activities, methods and coordinated resources to guide and control an organisation with reference to the risks of the structured information security management system.

 

Operational phase

It is the moment in which the so-called Business Continuity Plan is prepared, a real manual where the technical-organisational measures to be adopted to preserve the digital data assets and guarantee continuity of the IT infrastructure are made explicit. Finally, on the basis of the previous analysis, all the resources needed to implement the process are identified: the manager, the staff, the IT support procedures etc.

The management of Business Continuity, ie. Business Continuity Management, a matter within the competence of the IT manager, thus becomes of vital importance in the everyday life of a company. The Business Continuity Manager, therefore, will be the figure that will deal with the strategic organisation of the entire corporate structure to prevent and deal with a potential business interruption or any calamity that can have a decisive impact on the business processes.

They will, therefore, be responsible for ensuring the resilience of the organisation.

The Business Continuity solutions are possible: interconnection servers, replication, mirroring and backup remote tape, application storage, virtualisation of storage systems on the network and much more. Based on your IT system and your company’s priorities, you can study the most appropriate solution. It is therefore clear that Business Continuity Management is a multidisciplinary activity, which requires diversified skills and analytical and organisational skills.

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If you would like to speak to us about how we can help protect your data and IT services, please feel free to call us on 0208 943 2222 or get in touch via our contact page.