The concept of business continuity planning is nothing new to conscientious business owners.
Without a doubt, the ability of an enterprise, large or small, to recover from catastrophic events and continue to provide an acceptable level of service to its customers while maintaining a satisfactory level of profits is a basic requirement of good business practice.
Although such awareness has always been a feature of good management, the startling events of September 11 2001 has brought the world into a heightened state of preparedness for disaster.
Why the need for continuity and disaster planning?
Increasingly, natural disasters continue to surface in one place after another.
Consider recent major floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, corporate crimes and malicious attacks upon computer systems in nation after nation and you will sense the pressing need for sound business continuity planning to avoid disruptions due to technology and other failure.
Another factor which contributes to this need is the changing business climate in view of the expansion and increasing accessibility of the Internet over the past decade.
So organizations which formerly rendered services to their customers during fixed hours of business, now find themselves offering their services on an extended schedule, even 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This means that customers have grown accustomed to this ready access to their suppliers and vendors. And now the reality is that consumers have become less and less tolerant of interruptions in a company’s service and availability.
Business continuity planning – is it just for big business?
Business continuity planning now takes on an increasingly important role, not just for larger enterprises, but for small businesses alike.
In fact for small businesses it is even more critical to be ready to respond to the needs of its customers.
Customers expect this and have no problem locating alternate suppliers who stand ready to take your place in the market!
This is true whether you are in the manufacturing or service business, marketing and sales or any other facet of business.
Your network – a key component in business continuity
Nowadays a company’s IT System with its network of computers has become the backbone of many businesses.
Vital functions such as Data Processing, inventory and payroll management, Internet based operations including online sales, human resource and training systems, project management and an almost endless variety of other business functions are critically dependent on the efficacy of your computer system.
Clearly then, any technology disruption can have disastrous consequences.
Therefore business continuity planning often deals extensively with maintaining a dependable IT system.
This brings into focus not only the hardware components of the system and its application programs, but also the data contained in the system.
Ways to ensure continuity
Some of the key components that determine system reliability include Data Storage Devices, UPS systems, power generator systems and so on.
And nowadays, Cloud Computing is being relied upon to extend the reliability of Computer Systems and ensure business continuity in the event of major failure.
There seems to be a tendency to use the expressions ‘business disaster recovery’, and ‘business continuity’ interchangeably.
However upon closer examination it becomes clear that the two concepts are quite distinct.
Continuity of service is the desired state we want to maintain while recovering from any unexpected calamity whether an extended power outage, Computer System failure or other problem.
Such continued operation calls for a comprehensive plan that covers the most probable occurrences.
From this information it can be seen that ensuring business continuity calls for a strategy regardless of the size of the business.
As disasters continue to increase in frequency and magnitude, more and more careful thought must be given to your company’s preparedness to respond in the event of any business threat.
The increasingly prominent role of computers in business calls for highly reliable data backups, hardware redundancy, and keen, effective planning as a way to ensure business continuity in the event of any catastrophe.