Business and IT should be aligned for the best possible business continuity plan.

Entire organization must be involved in business continuity

Stephen Perkins

Adopting a data backup solution as part of the business continuity plan may start off small, but continuity consultant Jacque Rupert wrote on Continuity Central that the entire organization must be involved in a plan to have it work as well as possible. This means members of the business and IT sides, who often see differences in how they want a plan such as this to run, must collaborate on how they want it to work as a whole instead of creating silos across the business.

The first step companies must undertake is making sure there is cross-function between those setting up, overseeing and approving the continuity program, according to Rupert.

"In order to facilitate effective decision making, this top management team should comprise individuals who direct and control the organization at the highest levels of both IT and the business," Rupert wrote. He continued, "overall, this team is responsible for conducting recurring management reviews in order to hold the business and IT accountable for meeting the [business continuity management system's] objectives and tightly coordinating recovery objectives, strategies, plans and exercises."

After this, business executives and the IT department need to figure out what risks the organization runs to allow for disaster recovery strategies to be aligned with the business continuity program. When done correctly, this is a major help to the program as a whole, Rupert wrote, and can help determine which risks need mitigation for both business and IT.

At this point, he said organizations must:
- Have a program-level scope statement to understand how everything will work in concert
- Create requirements and capabilities for implementation to be sure the program will be done correctly from the start
- Test and exercise all aspects of business continuity frequently to ensure it does everything the organization wants and needs it to do

People are an important part of any plan
Enterprise Systems Journal contributor Mark Campbell points out that while IT infrastructure is the driver of any business continuity or data backup plan, organizations must be sure there are people at the heart and soul of every project.

"Tasking someone with the responsibility of keeping the program current and effective can go a long way in maintaining business continuity and providing business value," Campbell said. "Next, identify key operational personnel — those people without whom your business can't operate. Create and maintain a comprehensive contact list of these employees and partners, taking into account that the list will be used during emergencies where normal communication may be difficult if not impossible.

Categories: Data Protection