04 May 2004

The changing face of business continuity

The changing face of business continuity:

David Honour overviews the new generation technologies that will influence business continuity planning in the future.

Approaches to business continuity have changed dramatically over the past few years. High availability techniques, coupled with real-time data replication and system failover, have meant that many business continuity planners have built these elements into their plans as a first response to downtime, with disaster recovery being down-graded to a mechanism of last-resort. However, various new technologies could create a revolution in business continuity planning which will dwarf the impact of the above methods.

The first major change that is taking place is actually one of approach, rather than technology, but it is important to examine it in the context of this article, since it will set the foundation for the way business continuity is implemented throughout an organisation’s IT and communications networks. The change is question is the move towards holistic business continuity management.

In tomorrow’s organisation business continuity will no longer sit in its own ‘silo’, separated from IT disciplines; information security management; operational risk management; crisis communications; emergency planning etc (delete as appropriate for your organisation!) A movement is underway to bring all business protection issues under one umbrella, ensuring effective oversight of all mission critical processes, giving transparent insight into all areas of the organisation and allowing effective continuity management. This approach is driven by two main factors. Firstly: it makes sense from a management and resource allocation point of view - in too many organisations vital mission critical risks go unmitigated because separate departments all think that the threat is being handled by someone else. Secondly the convergence of information and communications technologies means that it is really the only practical way forward.

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