In the days when business continuity was still mostly a competitive advantage, there was a tendency to think of maximum tolerable outage as being defined by external customer expectations. Whether for manufacturing, finance or other industry sectors, MTO was measured in terms of effect on the customer base, likely customer reactions and the impact on business performance. As BC comes of age, the perspective has changed making it more and more of a necessary component for running an organisation and avoiding the internal stress of downtime; in Frederick Herzberg’s terms, BC is becoming a “job hygiene factor”. But are organisations getting the message?
Posts Tagged ‘BCP’
A business case for business continuity is not just about additional benefits that BC might bring to an organisation. In some cases, the need to ensure that an enterprise can “take a lickin’ and still keep on tickin’ “ means other advances in operational theory and practice need to be given up. A case in point is the extension of supply lines internationally to make the most of advantages available offshore. Saving money and increasing supply chain flexibility are always attractive, but how far can an organisation go in trying to optimise these aspects of its operations?
What’s in a word? With the multiple definitions of disaster recovery planning already in existence, here comes crisis management as well. Example: let’s say your whole data centre crashes because of a faulty power supply configuration, leaving you with no sales and no customer support, and your IT staff threatens to walk out because of “unacceptable working conditions”. Is that a disaster or a crisis? Is there a difference in the way you should handle it, and will things get worse if you make the wrong choice?
Business continuity planning is a hot issue in the finance sector, and understandably so because of the real time nature of much of its activities. It’s not surprising therefore that two of the prominent regulating bodies in the United States, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.) and NFA (National Futures Association), both define their expectations about how their brokerage and exchange members are to implement business continuity. What is surprising however is the business continuity “get out” clause in the FAQ of the FINRA website.
The idea of a business continuity plan template is intuitively seductive: you take a “one size fits all” document, tick the boxes that apply to you and then “turn the handle” to generate your BC plan. There are certainly common principles, risks and factors across businesses and organisations in general; but the latest survey findings from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) suggest that it’s now even more important to avoid overly generic or encyclopaedic templates. If you’re going to use a template, start off with the approach that’s right for your business. Read on to find out why.
Of course, what we really mean is rightsizing the services a business continuity consultant can provide. How much or how little an organisation decides to involve an external consultant will depend on the extent of business continuity planning needs, and how that organisation is set up to handle them. Ideally, you’ll leverage the involvement of a business continuity consultant to get the most benefit for the least outlay, keeping the decision-making process flexible according to needs and resources. However, there’s one situation where you’ll often get more “bang for your buck” by bringing in a consultant.
Recent natural disasters have spurred warnings to forgo a reactive approach to governance.
In this Computerworld article, HopgoodGanim’s IT lawyers are reminded of the importance of prioritising ICT governance and business continuity to minimise risk to the business, in the wake of the recent natural disasters plaguing the nation and indeed the world.
A real life example of a business interruption incident today. A burst water pipe in the AMP Building in Sydney caused 3500 staff to be evacuated.
For the businesses without water damage, hopefully access can be restored and everyone is back to work on Monday morning. If any businesses sustained significant damage to their floor, it may be a while longer. This is an example of when having an alternate recovery site location ready to invoke may be necessary.
Read more on Sydney Morning Herald news.. http://t.co/DxhLGrO
The disasters in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia have put BCP into sharp focus.
In this article, Allan Davies provides advice he gleaned the hard way from working through numerous disasters, and suggests that CIO’s need to think in broader terms than just IT disaster recovery. He outlines nine valuable lessons that should be incorporated into everyones disaster recovery plan.
Your business continuity and IT disaster recovery plans are living documents that need to continually evolve otherwise they will stagnate. If you maintain and exercise your plan it will evolve along with your organisation, helping you to be prepared should a business interruption strike.
Here are OpsCentre’s top 5 tips on how to keep the Business Continuity Plan alive in your organisation.
- Business Continuity needs a senior sponsor that has the authority and influence to establish the priority of BCP for the organisation. Get BCP on the agenda for Road Shows and Strategic Planning sessions that the Executive presents.
- Ensure that impacts upon Business Continuity Strategy are considered when assessing the business case for all new projects. Not just IT projects but business ones as well such as implementing new products, services or business locations. Ensure that any changes required to the business continuity strategy, for example extra seats at a recovery site, are included when you cost out the new project. You can also include reviewing the BIA and updating the recovery procedures for the affected business units as activities in the project. Update your business case templates and change request templates to prompt for these considerations up front.
- Include a BCP awareness package in the induction training for all new staff.
- Include business continuity ‘roles’ in position descriptions, workplans and KPI’s.
- Exercise and Test your plan every year at a minimum. Testing is not a pass or fail exercise, it helps to refine your plan and provides an excellent opportunity for staff to gain familiarity with their business continuity roles and the continuity strategies. It doesn’t have to be boring, business continuity can be an interesting, fun, team building event.
Ensuring continuity of your business functions, processes and critical IT systems and applications, along with the decision making in a time of crisis cannot be completely outsourced; there will always be responsibilities owned by the board, executive team and operational staff members. However, a great deal of the co-ordination and maintenance can be outsourced for considerably less cost than hiring a full-time Business Continuity Manager. A commitment to ongoing maintenance of your business continuity plan not only ensures that it is current and usable, but also assists with meeting regulatory and audit obligations.
OpsCentre tailors a Business Continuity Managed Service to meet suit any level of requirements and budget and can include activities such as:
1. Conducting regular reviews and updates of all business continuity and IT disaster recovery documentation to ensure it is current
2. Ensuring ongoing IT and business change management and project implementations consider Business Continuity implications and that the plans and strategy are kept in alignment with an evolving organisation.
3. Co-ordinating periodic refreshes of the business impact analysis and risk assessments
4. Scheduling regular desktop exercises and live tests of the business continuity plan
5. Providing induction training for new staff, maintaining training materials and training your trainers
6. Providing ongoing mentoring and training for key staff in their business continuity roles
7. Chairing a periodic Business Continuity Steering Committee and tracking progress of resulting action items.
8. Crisis support in the case of a business interruption incident
9. Providing co-ordination and facilitation assistance during actual disaster events or major incidents.
We cater to all levels of client needs: from basic quarterly maintenance tasks to 24×7 standby support; helping co-ordinate an incident response whenever it may happen day or night. Using our skilled and experienced team means you also gain access to the latest methodologies, industry research and continuity planning standards that we continually work with.
Talk with OpsCentre’s Director, Rod Crowder today to discuss your needs and we can build a business case to show how you can achieve more and save money compared to hiring an in-house resource.
OpsCentre’s YouTube channel features Rod Crowder, Managing Director, discussing key Business Continuity Planning issues and best practice strategies.
Consider the scenario of losing your primary premises due to fire. Can you answer these questions?
- How much revenue would you lose being out of action for a day, a week or a month?
- Have you got an alternate location to operate your business from?
- Is your data regularly sent off site and ready to be restored into backup systems?
- What are your critical paper records and how do you continue to operate if they were destroyed?
Every business, regardless of its size, should be confident in the answers to these questions and should be making an informed choice about the cost of implementing business continuity strategies and IT disaster recovery solutions versus the risk\cost of not doing anything.
Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) often don’t have the budget or resources to spend months implementing a business continuity project. But SME’s still have a need for BCP, just as much as bigger organisations. Quite often all of the physical resources, especially IT equipment are concentrated in the one location which can increase the risk. Sometimes without dedicated IT staff, the backup and restoration practices may not be sufficient to help them recover from a loss of premises type incident.
At OpsCentre we’ve refined the art of the ‘Quick Start’ BCP and can deliver a business continuity plan for suitable small to medium enterprises within 1-2 weeks. If your organization needs assistance with getting a business continuity plan in place we can help. Contact us and let us know what you need.
OpsCentre is pleased to announce the launch of our COMPLIMENTARY Business Continuity Consultation offer. For a limited time we are providing a complimentary consultation, to Australian Businesses valued at $495.
The Business Continuity Consultation assesses the effectiveness of your organisation’s Business Continuity Program. If you don’t have one in place, the assessment will identify the level of exposure and the critical elements required to ensure your organisation can recover effectively from a major incident.
For more information click on this link… Business Continuity Consultation
Or contact us now on 1300-bc-plan to book in your complimentary consultation.