In the last 12 months, businesses have faced a plethora of natural and man-made disasters, as well as terrorist attacks, and political uncertainty in the world’s energy supply regions. These events have re-opened the debate that disaster recovery or the business continuity plan need a holistic perspective from senior management.
The past year’s events have stressed the importance of business continuity plans.
After 9/11, if you asked a chief information officer (CIO) about their business continuity plan (BCP) they would tell you that all systems were up and running in 24 hours, which takes a classic view of what a disaster is. The best complete example of a classic disaster recovery (DR) situation was at the Grolsch brewery in Enschede in May 2000, when a fire destroyed the brewery that was responsible for production of 66% of all of the company’s output. The fact that Grolsch is still in business today is testament to its BCP, as the plan allowed production to be moved to a second Grolsch brewery while extensive use of third-party providers and partners was used to maintain beer supply to customers.
The new brewery did not fully reopen until 2003, but the IT systems were up and running within 48 hours, and the administration of the company was temporarily relocated for only eight weeks. This example demonstrates that having plans to cover all of your major business processes are important, and that sometimes they are all needed together at once.
Recent events have introduced different areas for a business to consider in terms of what a disaster is. Examples include the continuity and cost of energy supply, the availability of skilled labor and local regulations, the reliability of the local infrastructure and building regulations (the Grolsch disaster was at a fireworks warehouse next door), and whether or not partners/outsourcing providers have robust BCP.
In summary, a CIO should understand what is critical to the business and then plan for failures in these areas. The plans must cover technology, people, and buildings, and be documented so that, in the event of a full-scale or partial disaster, the people responsible have them to hand when making decisions.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)