Business Continuity Awareness Week

The western coast of India is experiencing terrible cyclonic storm named Tauktae, this week. I am sure we are all watching the disruption, destruction this cyclone is causing. Fortunately, Mumbai-the business capital of India, was narrowly spared. But it is easy to imagine what would have happened if it were to have landfall on Mumbai. What an apt timing for annual event of The Business Continuity Institute(BCI)’s BCAW, which is Business Continuity Awareness Week(May 17-21, 2021), to spread the awareness about need to plan face such and other business disrupting events. There is a old proverb which says meet success like a gentleman, and disaster like a man. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery(BC/DR) is the need of hour.

Despite the fact that we all experience the losses incurred during such events, the businesses are still underprepared and are not investing their time and energy enough to face the such unavoidable circumstances. I am in IT professional for many years and I am working in BC/DR domain close to 8 years now. With the advent of computers few decades back and proliferation of Internet, and data all over, in recent years, the need for businesses to have effective BC/DR strategy is more than relevant now. The natural disasters such as Tauktae cyclone, earthquakes, are not the only reason for business disruption, even man-made events such as wars, riots and more prominently, ever looming danger of cyber-attacks, also can cause serious business disruption. That can result into revenue loss, customer attrition, reputation damage, as we all have are quite aware.

Let’s look at business continuity(BC) and disaster recovery(DR) mean here. The term business continuity is essential plan to continue to function during distressful event, And disaster recovery is really concerned about how do plan to normalcy from disasters. DR is really part of BC. Many a times, DR is concerned with data, which might get destroyed, lost.

So how does one go about it? The key here is planning. For that you one need to understand and outline objectives. One may want to think about kind of strategy you want to have to when certain type of disasters strike. For that you want to carry out business impact analysis.

Disasters don’t take place everyday, but when they do they are very bad. So it is not really any good only having the plan, but not periodically testing it to see if it really works. The word periodically is very important here. The reason is that you business environment is changing all the time. You plan needs to be updated to reflect new business environment and also needs to be tested to ensure that your BC/DR objectives can be met in case of disasters. Many of you must have experienced mock-drills in your offices or in your buildings in the past. They are nothing but to test if the plan works.

Here are the some of the concepts and terminologies in the BC/DR domain and their general in meaning in lay language. This blog is just for awareness and make you realize the need here. This blog is not (and cannot be) a complete reference on the topic.

BCP: Business Continuity Planning is process in which organization identifies who and what of response to a disaster striking the business.

Business Impact Analysis(BIA): It is a systematic and structured process in which each business function is looked at and impact is assess, if disaster were to strike it. It is sort of risk analysis.

Crisis Management(CM): It is consists of set of activities and coordination of response to disaster or crisis.

RTO/RPO: RTO-recovery time objective, is the time within which IT systems/applications must be recovered after a disaster. While RPO-recovery point objective, is the point in time to which IT systems/applications must be recovered after a disaster.

BC/DR Site: It can be defined as an alternate work-area(office) site and also as a site where your IT workload and/or data is recovered.

Business continuity and disaster recovery is huge and serious endeavor any organization can take up to safe guard their interests. Every year we hear the losses incurred, and disruption experienced by businesses, customers, and people all over the world due to various events. It is important to educate all stakeholders, including employees about BC/DR. Many countries have laws in place for businesses to adhere to in this regard, as well as there are industry specific standards have been developed, which are required for compliance, for example BFSI industry, or health-care industry.

So, make most of this awareness week and look at your BC/DR needs, review your plans and if possible carry out mock tests for checking your preparedness.