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Business continuity planning – a look at some key issues

Business continuity planning – a look at some key issues

Truly effective business continuity planning requires collaboration between relevant parties within a company and consultants working on behalf of the organisation able to deliver the necessary services. No-one would expect business managers to be genuine experts in the field but being engaged on the subject and being aware of its importance to business security and competiveness will certainly help the process along.

For most businesses, making sure your operations are as resilient as they need to be means putting plans in place for when a worst-case scenario situation occurs. So developing a plan of action for when a primary workplace is seriously damaged or otherwise rendered unusable has to be at the core of the process. Keeping data in tact is essential and it needs to be switched quickly and effectively to another location in another part of the world. Without that capability businesses are vulnerable.

IT and telecoms are vital to the way in which most companies operate, so for a business to maintain its services to clients these need to be protected and replaceable. From a business continuity planning perspective, this has to be a major area of focus and if IT equipment is always fully functional then an operation has a much better chance of continuing relatively unhindered.

Ensuring the security of data and the integrity of relevant systems is an important aspect of the continuity planning process as well. This must not go over-looked but any data centre and IT infrastructure service provider worth its salt will be able to offer the necessary guarantees. And it is through collaboration between businesses and third parties that progress towards a suitable strategy can be made.

In recent years, the emergence of cloud data storage has enhanced the effectiveness of business continuity and simplified the process in a variety of ways. However, effective planning and risk mapping remains a consistent challenge for companies of all size but particularly for those with shareholders to be concerned about. What virtualisation through the cloud gives businesses in general is greater flexibility and this advantage is increasingly being leveraged at a time when natural disasters like floods and storms are becoming more frequent and intense.

IT is the basis of operations for a vast majority of businesses and service are increasingly being relied upon on a 24-hour basis. But while retaining the integrity of IT functions is vital outages are a reality. Businesses need to have made stringent plans and to test them thoroughly if they are to take full advantage of virtualisation and cloud storage.

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