Without a business continuity program in place, even a minor disruption to systems, facilities or other key resources can potentially halt operations, impact customers or harm the financials of an organization, according to SunGard Availability Services.
"It is essential for organizations to understand how an unplanned outage would impact their business and know the steps they need to take to respond effectively," said William Hughes, director, Consulting Services BC/DR practice, Center of Excellence, at SunGard Availability Services. "You have to take a holistic view of not only threats to availability but also threats to your business continuity program's continued viability."
"A business continuity program should be built around realistic situations and assumptions, and incorporate preventive and reactive measures. It also should have a built-in means to drive continual improvement and focus beyond just continuity planning -– also addressing organizational awareness and preparedness. Some organizations, unfortunately, may have misplaced confidence in their preparedness which could lead to weaknesses being exposed at the worst possible time -– during a business outage or disaster," said Mr. Hughes.
In advance of Business Continuity Awareness Week, which takes place March 22 to 26, SunGard Availability Services explores five business continuity myths and the lessons organizations can learn from them. The business continuity myths are:
It's all about natural disasters. While natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, garner the bulk of attention, industry research shows power failures, IT hardware, software and network outages and human error are much more likely to cause business disruption. The lesson for organizations is they need to be prepared for all potential causes of business disruption. More often than not, it will be a "quiet catastrophe" related to hardware or process failure that, over time, generates the most significant threat to your business continuity.
We have a plan, so we are ready. Creating a business continuity plan is an important step, but not the end state. It takes more than words on paper or a computer screen to enable readiness. Business continuity preparedness means having a living program -– which is continually validated, communicated, tested, updated and improved. It means having an organization that is "situation ready" -– with skills honed through training and supported by robust planning tools to respond to a significant business disruption. Your organization should be so well prepared that it only needs the plan for reference or as a guide, not as the playbook, when undergoing an exercise or disaster. (continued...)