We’ve shared a lot about business continuity over the last 6 months, but what does it all mean in practice when you’re running the operational IT for large, complex, hybrid enterprise networks?
If you are certified to ISO9001 or ISO27001, you might remember that the question relating to business continuity planning asks, in so many words: ‘Do you have a plan?’ As long as a protocol of some form existed, the box could be ticked. But that ‘plan’ is something that a lot of large enterprises have had to rely on this year.
Complacency contributed to some issues. Budgeting priorities will have played a part, too, as always. But for many organisations, the pandemic has reordered priorities and identified tools and processes IT teams didn’t know they needed. Now we’re under more pressure than ever to monitor the business impact of COVID-19.
As the situation develops and new challenges arise, business continuity needs to leave the back page of your operations manual and come to the fore. You’re sure to have some form of business continuity plan filed away. There’s never been a more fitting time to get it off the shelf and quantify it into actual metrics. What do you need to understand to make it work?
A robust business continuity strategy will be based on how you keep providing a product or service to your customers, as well as maintaining the supply chains, systems and functions that mean you’re able to deliver those products or services. Everything should be made ready and operational just in case.
Once the plan is in operation, how will you measure performance and success? Your plan should have concrete objectives – queries resolved, applications processed, units delivered… While the plan’s in action, you can continuously measure how you are performing against these objectives.
There’s no template that fits every business, which is why a gap analysis will help at this point. When you’ve assessed the contributing factors, the gap analysis finds ways to extract all of the metrics you need and plug them into an appropriate dashboarding solution. Often this will involve too many SLAs to display them all together coherently.
Single pane of glass dashboarding – able to visualise at a glance, at a high level, information from multiple different tools – has proven very difficult to achieve. There are a number of tools on the market now that have started to gain some ground, but each has its own limitations. You’re welcome to talk to us about the different solutions that are out there and how to select the best one for your needs.
Continuity in a disaster is always going to be a challenge, whatever your industry or sector. But all enterprises need to be able to strategise and prepare for a worst-case scenario. If the current pandemic is anything to go by, future worst-case scenarios may be much worse than we’ve imagined. It’s impossible to remove all risk, but are you doing what you can to mitigate the risks that remain?
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