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Business continuity planning

By editor's response ·
Does your organization consider the three components that are vital to BCP, as featured in the Dec. 3 Disaster Recovery e-newsletter? Are there components besides human resources, technology, and facilities management that should be considered, as well?

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by tbragsda In reply to Business continuity plann ...

I think those are the key groups, but after doing several different DCP/DRP in several companies, I have come to a different conclusion as to the IS departments roll in this.

Back some time ago, I started getting requests to wright DRPs for the systems that I planed, designed or installed. I thought about this purely from a tech point of view. I would think about what I could do to increase available, backup, and how to recover. This was fine until I moved to a much smaller company that required an entire DCP from me. I had in the past just been righting the part of my systems, and now it was the hole company.

After many false starts, it occurred to me that I was looking at this backwards. I, and I think most my colleagues, lookat contingency and recovery much differently than the operational units of our company. When I started putting the task back onto the unit managers, I found things that surprised me, and changed the plan. Where I had thought of server/function A, they thought of process A.

I guess the real lesson learned is that we are the builders of the infrastructure, not the commuters.

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4 sure

by wrlang In reply to


The business is the only entity that can tell you how it wants to recover.

I once saw a network group go through the 'secret' task of identifying all the technology in the company and make plans to recover work space with technology within 24 hours. The heros presented the business units with the detailed plans and costs and the business units viewed the plan as a waste of time. They would simply transfer most of their business processes over to other locations. They would need little recovery within 24 hours, more like 2 weeks. One business unit commented that they may not want to recover a business function at a new location if the contingency plans worked out well.


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You missed a big one

by Golfloon In reply to Business continuity plann ...

Finance. As part of any BCP, certainly all SME's, should have a BCP Cashflow in place.

It will take time to get product/service delivery, invoicing and debt collecting back up to speed whilst expending large amounts of unbudgeted cash on gettingthe organisation operational again.

It is OK saying that HR, Technology and FM are the three vital components to BCP but if you can't fund them you don't have a business.

If you have a BCP cashflow you at least have the option of approaching financial institutions or even your insurers for an interim loan based upon a planned recovery.

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CFO buy-in required for BCP

by ChipN In reply to You missed a big one

Golfloon makes a very valid point.

From my experience the only way that this type of effort is both funded and fully supported is when the CFO recognizes the importance and criticality of the BCP.

I have never seen IT, HR, or FM successfully drive this effort, despite any feelings that they may have to the contrary.

Knowing what really drives a successful effort will help you focus your on who and how to "sell" a BCP.

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Good point

by MikeTalonNYC In reply to CFO buy-in required for B ...

One thing to note, however, is that CFO's and Comptrollers will almost never buy into any project unless there's a groundswell of support - either from below or above.

Mike Talon

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reader feedback

by editor's response In reply to Business continuity plann ...

Here's an e-mail response that was received from one of our readers:

Great article. In the discussion groups the response to add Financial is interesting, but should be a conduit from the other areas needing the services. I see the top 3 as the key in the initial response to a disaster and then the other teams being brought on board. The response for including the business units is exactly how I have found I must operate. I ask for their input for manual processes should their systems and/orfacilities be out of play. It is amazing how many units don't have a clue of what can be done without the system. I push for some type of workaround to bring critical functions that keep the bottom line of the company afloat to be put into the plan(s).

Business Continuity is to include all critical (and many non-critical) functions, departments and locations for recovery of the entire business not just technology. Technology and people STILL need to go hand in hand, so I term disaster recovery plans as the technical infrastructure and business continuity as rest of the company that encompasses the IT DR. One without the other is no longer a viable recovery tool.

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more reader feedback

by editor's response In reply to Business continuity plann ...

Here's another e-mail response from one of our readers:

Mike Talon's article, "Business continuity planning goes beyond technology" is very well written and offers an important message. I applaud Mike and TechRepublic for bringing this message tothe IT world.

I think it misses one area, however. It doesn't mention the part of the BCP that addresses how some of the non-technology related business processes may need alternate processes until full recovery is realized. The fire, or water, might have destroyed all of the paper records. Employees might have to work from home or in reduced staff shifts for a while, unless there is a hot site with desks, phones, PCs, etc. But employees aren't the only ones that need to be contacted: clients, suppliers, stockholders, and other stakeholders need to be communicated with on a prioritized schedule. The business may also have to switch to alternate suppliers if they were affected, as well.

A proper Business Impact Analysis (BIA) would identify all of the elements critical to run the business and have them addressed in the Business Continuity Plan.

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Some Clarification

by MikeTalonNYC In reply to Business continuity plann ...

I agree with all the comments that a business will need more than just technology recovery for overall BCP. Due to the nature of this website, I tailored the article specifically for the technology issues and what would be needed to recover that portion of the business.

BCP planning takes into its view a whole array of business practices, with technology being only one.

I encourage you to utilize many sources of information (including my column) to create a complete and robust BCP plan for all aspects of your organization.

Thanks, as always,

Mike Talon

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