Monday, June 21, 2021

IT’s Responsibility for Business Continuity

While watching television this past month, I saw a lot of notices about

taking ”responsibility”. All the alcohol commercials remind you to

drink responsibly. Car insurance commercials want you to drive

responsibly and don’t forget all the TV spots dedicated to financial

responsibility.

And it’s not confined to television ads. In the halls at work, I see

signs that read, ”Security Begins with You” and ”Remember, you are

responsible for ‘fill in the blank’ ”.

With all the reminders of what we are responsible for as an individual,

what I have failed to see is a lot of corporate responsibility when it

comes to the Continuity of Operations.

And what do I mean by that? Well, I mean there’s more to keeping a

company running than holding onto data. Don’t get me wrong… of course

that’s critical. But to keep operations running, you need to plan for

personnel, communications, systems, logistics… It’s a lot of planning

and it needs to be done well ahead of any bad forecasts.

Aren’t there regulations that mandate that kind of thing?

Well, Sarbanes-Oxley regulations are in place to ensure there is due

diligence in the financial marketplace. And FISMA mandates that

government agencies are securing their data and systems, as well as

ensuring the continuity of operations, disaster recovery and business

resumption plans are developed, maintained and tested.

So, I must be mistaken and corporate America has taken full

responsibility for identifying, minimizing and correcting its security

vulnerabilities. Right?

Sadly enough, not all businesses have stepped up to the plate when it

comes to the Continuity of Operations.

I thought after Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf States, leaving

a wake of destruction, that all businesses outside the region would heave

a sigh of relief, and then quickly develop disaster recovery plans. After

that they’d work tirelessly on testing them and keeping them updated.

Some did. Many others did not.

And what about the businesses that were booming one day, and under water

the next day? Where were their Disaster Recovery and Continuity of

Operations plans?

Those who had their plans developed and in place were able to quickly

implement them… and their businesses survived. Those who did not, or

had not tested the plan for flaws, could not implement it successfully

when needed. And more than likely, they will not be able to recover from

the lost revenue.

With these lessons so fresh in our memories, I had expected IT

administrators from both large and small organizations to be screaming

for assistance in developing these business-saving plans. At least, I

expected to see administrators dusting off their old plans and procedures

and, on a good day, updating them and then putting those plans to the

test.

I am not sure any of that has happened.

When I speak with my peers, they say they have not seen this trend. Sure,

there’s more talk about disaster recovery, although most do not take into

account any of the business functions.

Business functions are as important to survivability as the company data.

In today’s environment, there are multiple sites that will take a

company’s data and restore it for them. However, data alone is not enough

to keep a company afloat. The people and processes are necessary to

manipulate the data into something meaningful.

For example, a unified command, chain of command, and span of control to

manage the disaster recovery response is critical. And so is keeping all

of that up and running… at all times.

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