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Tuesday, 15 July 2014 10:35

C-level execs need to assign ownership of business continuity

Posted By  Paul Gant

C-level execs need to clearly define accountability and ownership of business continuity services within an organisation or risk placing their business in a very exposed position, states Paul Gant, head of BC Managed Solutions, at Phoenix.


Historically the attitude from organisations towards business continuity has been met with a fail and fix mentality, however, disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in the US and the London riots have forced C-level execs to demand action to ensure their business remains safe and operational, but in light of this questions have arisen over who is responsible to ensure this. 


Phoenix understands that the responsibility of implementing and managing business continuity planning is being forced on to IT departments but do they have the necessary skills, knowledge and time to own such an important function?


“An effective business continuity and IT disaster recovery plan will keep a company operational in the most testing of times, whether it’s the extreme of severe weather like flooding or a hurricane, civil unrest, a simple power failure, or hardware or software glitches.


“All organisations will have some sort of contingency plan in place in the event of a disaster but these tend to have an emphasis on recovery in light of an incident as opposed to resilience which focuses on protecting against incidents in the first instance – and this is where the mind set needs to change.”


Gant continued: “In light of incidents such as Hurricane Sandy and, to an extent, the London riots, as well as demand from customers, auditors and the supply chain, organisations are coming under increased pressure to implement an effective continuity plan that addresses the issue of resilience, and as such C-level execs are being forced into assigning ownership.


"The trend we are seeing is C-level execs turning to IT departments in order to manage and implement continuity plans on top of their day-to-day responsibilities. This is largely due to the importance that IT plays within the organisation and emphasis on ensuring data, email access and network availability across the entire organisation with minimal disruption.


"For the IT departments this is no small undertaking and is often seen as a complex, costly and time consuming process. An effective business continuity plan demands multiple skills and disciplines including analytics, project management, and document creation - a lot of which lies out of traditional IT departments skill set.


"By placing such burdens on the IT department, from C-level execs, the mindset still focuses on recovery over resilience. Yes, actions can be taken to ensure continuity but are these just short-term fixes? The alternative lies with outsourcing the business continuity planning process, which can remove the cost, complexity and resources needed to deliver effective business continuity management in-house, while at the same time freeing up the IT department to concentrate on their core responsibilities and job functions," Gant concluded.

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