Now’s the Time to Review Business Continuity Strategy, SunGard Says
December 11, 2007 Alex Woodie
Hurricane season is over, but that doesn’t mean businesses should stop thinking about their disaster recovery (DR) plans. Last week availability services provider SunGard laid out a list of steps companies can take to keep their business continuity programs in “exceptional fitness,” all year long.
When hurricane season approaches in the spring, it’s natural for companies to start thinking about their business continuity plans, says William DiMartini, senior vice president of professional services for SunGard Availability Services. “Yet, we see a general sense of complacency grow as we move into the fall months, particularly following a slower than usual storm season. This complacency can lead to grave circumstances,” he says.
DiMartini also points out that natural disasters only account for half of all disruptions leading to downtime. For this reason, it’s critical that companies not let up on their business continuity preparations for the six months of the year when major tropical storms aren’t likely to develop.
To keep businesses thinking about their business continuity strategies, SunGard Availability Services came up with a four-point “work-out” regimen.
First, users should conduct a mini business impact analysis (BIA) and technology profile to identify if IT changes made during the year will change their business continuity plans. Second, the IT team should determine what vulnerabilities exist from an IT perspective, such as cyber threats or regional weather threats, and the probability they would impact the business if they were to occur. Once the risk is assessed, they should make pertinent changes to their recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives (RTOs and RPOs).
Third, SunGard says to run a table-top exercise to make sure that all parties, including senior management, know what to do during a disaster. Slow responsiveness by responsible parties are the leading problems in good execution of business continuity plans, SunGard says. Last, users should update their business continuity plan to deal with any issues that surfaced during the work out.
“Companies that keep their information availability work-outs up in the off-season will be much better prepared to face the exceptional incident that can happen any time of year–such as a major power outage or storm–as well as the more common everyday disruption, from hardware failures to security breaches,” DiMartini says.