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Business Continuity SECURITY


Think of ‘business continuity’ and it probably conjures up images of floods, fires and earthquakes. Recent history clearly demonstrates these are all real issues, but what businesses often overlook, is the impact of less dramatic, but more likely events, such as hardware failure or infrastructure loss.

Something all business executives know is that 100% system uptime is a myth. A fact of life is that all businesses will at one time or FLEXIBILTY another, experience some downtime. In RELIABILITY an age when consumers have come to expect round-the-clock service, renewed importance is being given to keeping businesses running in the event of a disaster. Recent research by the Chartered Management Institute found that nearly a third of organisations experienced interruption to business in the last year, due to loss of IT. In the last 12 to 18 months, there have been a whole host of natural catastrophes and weather-related events worldwide; from earthquakes in Turkey, Japan and New Zealand; to floods in Pakistan and Australia; and volcanic eruptions in Iceland. Even the UK was not immune – heavy snowfall last winter, cost the UK economy a reported £1.2 billion per day. More often than not though, it is not the stuff of headlines, which causes disruption, but everyday matters, such as power cuts, poor physical and IT security, hardware faults, and so on. Collectively, these day-to-day causes of downtime are a huge cost to business, and they are 15 times more likely to occur than a flood or fire. MDs, therefore, need to make sure these events are accounted for in their business continuity plans. >

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business continuity (CONTINUED)

The need for a secure and resilient SECURITY IT system may seem self-evident. In our digital age, when IT increasingly provides the foundation for business, downtime can have a massive impact. Every minute your IT system is down, you’re losing productivity and more importantly, money. According to business continuity group, Neverfail, 1 in 5 businesses lose £10,000 per hour through system downtime. And businesses are not just affected whilst their IT is down. Even once systems are back up and running, there is an additional delay while data is still being recovered, and productivity levels are FLEXIBILTY below standard. Many organisations, however, continue to get caught out. In fact a report by IT group EMC, claims that 74% of firms and public sector organisations may never fully recover their computer systems or data after an IT failure. The study also reported that 54% of the IT bosses questioned, admitted they had lost data or suffered systems downtime in the past 12 months: the most common cause was hardware failure, followed by power outage and software malfunction. Whilst IT is a fundamental part of business continuity, it is of course, only one component – a comprehensive business continuity plan requires input from a much wider cross-section of the organisation, and should be lead from the top. The most effective way to guarantee business continuity is to integrate it in to the culture of the organisation.

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A fundamental component of BUSINESS CONTINITY business continuity and one, which is easy to overlook in favour of other more pressing business issues, is the testing and maintenance of your business continuity plan. Regular scheduled testing of your plan should be a matter of routine, yet according to recent research, only 26% of organisations regularly test their plans. A consequence of the current dynamic business environment is constant change – your business may get smaller, or bigger, or your objectives may change – and your continuity plan has to accommodate RELIABILITY this. Analyst firm Gartner, recommends “reviewing and updating recovery plans against business needs and market and industry best practices at least once a year.”

Organisations endure longer than necessary interruptions to their systems because their continuity plans don’t account for the whole of the organisation, or aren’t tested or updated on a regular basis. It is the MD’s role to ensure the whole organisation, not just the IT department, is prepared in the event of disaster. Much of the cost associated with downtime can be avoided if you have the right processes in place.

The Business of IT - Business Continuity  

Think of ‘business continuity’ and it probably conjures up images of floods, fires and earthquakes. Recent history clearly demonstrates thes...

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