The Importance of IT in Business Continuity Management
How much would it cost your business if your technology went down for half a day?
With the technology era now well and truly underway and Cloud changing the way businesses operate, IT has come into its own. When we invested in IT company, pcr, it was driven by the need for more joined up thinking so that our clients could see and make decisions on the interactions between connectivity, Cloud and IT.
Business continuity management is ever-evolving and now much more multi-faceted than it ever used to be. The most prepared organisations now have business continuity plans, which are overseen at board level and cover a wide range of threats to the business. Anything from power outages, security breaches, terrorist attacks and even public health problems need some sort of back-up plan so that the business can continue to operate in the face of challenges to its day-to-day running.
What’s the difference between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery?
Careful Business Continuity Management ensures that weaknesses are spotted and managed from the outset with a plan kicking in to keep important processes running in the event of impact from a negative external or internal event.
Smooth business continuity means delivering services without the customer ever being aware that a change plan has been put in place. A simple example that most businesses might plan for is head office closure. Even if head office has to close, the aim is to continue to deliver services to customers.
Organisations make their operations more secure with advanced technology tools as well as planning, monitoring and maintenance of the overall IT infrastructure. Processes, procedures and policies are created that will enable continuity of operations in the event of a natural or human-induced negative event.
While a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRM) is focused on the restoration of the IT infrastructure, the Business Continuity Plan also includes aspects that are related to the IT.
Why is IT the X Factor?
At the heart of this seamless business continuity management is the crucial role of information technology (IT).
Back in the day, these kinds of plans did exist but as the world became more global, businesses moved from manual to operational processes. As we came to rely more and more on the Internet for smarter ways to work and do business, our reliance on effective IT, fast connectivity and protection from cyber threat grew. So whilst the technology era offers the business world greater flexibility and opportunity than ever before, it also leaves us more at risk if we encounter a problem.
Here are just some of the basic IT and Telecoms elements of good Business Continuity Management.
Cloud Services and Business Continuity
In the old-fashioned business model of a central computer network which was kept and maintained at a company’s headquarters, one of the major problems of continuing operations in the face of a shut-down was being able to access data. Of course, many local area networks (LANs) are set up with a server holding the information – customer records, for example – and terminals which access and update it. Even if a few of these terminals are remote and connect through the company’s firewall, if the network is down, then no data can be gathered remotely. Thankfully, this is no longer an issue for companies which use cloud-based IT services for storing and accessing their data. Even if secure data is lost on a cloud server, it is backed up elsewhere in the cloud and remains fully accessible to those who require it.
Reliable Business Broadband
When you need to deal with customer orders, email enquiries and updates to your own website, a reliable broadband connection is essential. Keeping internet services going is one of the most important things any business now needs to prioritise in order to avoid discontinuity of their operations. When it does happen, for instance during a power outage caused by the street being dug up, your internet service provider should be the one that is able to provide a backup service right away. It is also crucial to many business owners that their broadband is always offering a high data transfer rate. Some of the smaller operators have data rates which vary greatly – a threat to business continuity in its own right, so it’s important that this is researched thoroughly before deciding on a provider.
A private telephone network is the mainstay of many businesses communication strategy, but it is no good if calls ring unanswered. These days, however, re-routing calls with an inbound call management software to a customer service number or technical support line is perfectly possible, even if your staff are working from a temporary office, or from their own homes. For companies who need help with call answering, there are also many call centres that can route calls to where they will be answered professionally and a call back arranged, allowing your team a little time to catch up.
Do I need to consider a Business Continuity Plan?
Downtime is detrimental. Contingency planning and security is key. Every business from SMEs to larger organisations should spend a little time considering processes as well as where weaknesses and risk lie. Our IT division, pcr are well versed in helping SMEs to do just that.
The best way to learn more is to get in touch and we can chat specifically about your business.