Enterprise Management

Business continuity plans prepare IT departments to brave any storm

Natural disasters and unforeseen emergencies can wreak havoc on every branch of a business. With that said, chief information officers are more than aware that damage done to their information technology departments may be especially severe.
There is wide variety of recent disasters that devastated portions of the United States. Whether it be from Hurricane Katrina to Superstorm Irene, businesses affected know that destruction resulting from major storms can bring their operations to a grinding halt. What’s more, the time that it takes to bounce back from emergencies can be extensive. In some cases, organizations may never recover.
Develop survival strategies
In light of past catastrophes, companies across the country are making efforts to ensure that their firms have a higher chance of resiliency. Leading the pack of American personnel trying to protect their operations are IT professionals.
According to CIO.com, the most important part of increasing the likelihood of a business surviving a storm unscathed is to be proactive. With each passing emergency, more and more companies have learned the hard way that it is not enough to pick up the pieces after an incident occurs. Instead, they need to take the initiative and make sure that they create a support system so that their companies will continue to run despite any external forces.
To accomplish this, the news source advised that IT departments, in addition to other company personnel, take the time to develop a comprehensive business continuity plan. There is a variety of potential threats that could impede an organization’s operations. For this reason, CIOs are going to have to brace themselves and their staff members for more than just one worst case scenario.
Anything from flooding to hacking can cause a company’s data center to be damaged past the point of repair. While IT executives should definitely have a disaster recovery plan in place, they should also take note that this does not help them thwart off destructive consequences resulting from emergencies. Because of this, they should try to develop a plan beforehand so that they can guarantee that any incident will have a minimal impact on their businesses’ functions.
Assess, then address
As companies are preparing themselves to brave any kind of catastrophe, the first course of action should be to perform some business impact analysis. This is a multi-step process that allows them to determine exactly what the damage would be in numerous types of emergencies, in addition to the preparatory measures that they should take to prevent extreme consequences.
This initial assessment should involve some projection, followed by prioritization and planning. Executives and their departments should play out every kind of scenario imaginable to try to predict the impact that it may have to each function that their businesses carry out. From there, CRN recommended that CIOs weigh not only the severity of the effects on any given component of their organizations, but also the necessity of each portion of their companies.
Create a list of things that are important within the first few hours, and make another list of things that will be important later on,” said David Van Allen, vice president of operations at INetU, according to the news source.
This way, organizations will be able to delegate their resources appropriately. By trying to anticipate the consequences stemming from different disasters, professionals will better know the actions that they should take to be certain that the least amount of damage is done to the most critical portions of their companies.
Forbes reported that CIOs and other business executives should try to get ahead of the game when it comes to the implementation of their business continuity plan. After outlining all of the extensive actions that organizations will have to take to keep their companies running in the event of an emergency, they should adopt it as soon as possible.
Make changes in anticipation
Scrambling to carry out preventative plans whenever company personnel hear about an upcoming incident is not likely to be helpful. Instead, IT departments and other branches of a business need to put their plans into effect well ahead of time.
The news source advised that organizations start to refine their processes and systems as soon as they formulate their plans. By making adjustments to their operations in anticipation, companies will better guarantee that their businesses are on the right track in terms of disaster preparedness.
This proactive approach will provide staff members with a grace period, allowing them to acclimate themselves to the new way of completing tasks. As a result, any modifications made in the name of business continuity will become ingrained in a department, which will prevent frantic efforts to adopt useful practices in light of some imminent threat.
With that said, Forbes stated that IT executives should not waste resources by trying to be vigilant. Rather than investing all of their time and money into maintaining disaster preparedness measures, companies should have 60 percent of their strategies in place. When an actual threat is on the horizon, they can implement the additional 40 percent so that they can endure any emergency with limited damage.

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