Business Continuity Planning
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14-10-2010, 09:47 AM

Prepared by:
John Williamson


The terrorist attacks upon the United States of September 11th, 2001 proved to be a wakeup call to many who had looked at business continuity and disaster recovery planning as a task that was going to be done "down the road." Besides the terrible toll that was taken on human life, many businesses, especially those in New York City, were effected severely. Some will never recover.

There were, however, many examples where good business continuity planning resulted in successful resumption of operations. These example came from businesses and organizations that had made the investment in frequent disaster plan tests and updates, regular real-time backup of their data, and establishment of hot site capabilities to name a few. In this respect, many of our large financial organizations were able to quickly resume business due to the fact that they could quickly use alternate sites to restore their information systems.

We have all had to take a new look at the meaning of the "worst-case scenario" and use it as a model for good planning. It is necessary to look how disaster recovery plans and business continuity plans can compliment each other. We need to add the potential for terrorism effecting our business structures to the equation of good, defensive planning, and use the example of the incidents of September 11th to our best advantage. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.

Being prepared is crucial to protecting your organization in case of a systems disaster. Disasters can take many forms. While natural catastrophes like flooding, hurricanes or earthquakes may be infrequent events, more common causes of systems disasters can strike at any time, from system outages to computer viruses to disruption by discontented employees. Resuming normal operations as quickly as possible minimizes business disruption, and good preparation will ensure that.
Many organizations and companies aren't adequately prepared for systems disasters. Recent research shows that major barriers to preparation include lack of executive support and funding. Adequate funding for disaster recovery efforts requires a shift in priorities of an organization's IT initiatives. In the past, organizations implemented technology as a cost savings measure. Now, IT initiatives that support business continuity and revenue generation are getting top priority.

In the early days of data processing, the mainframe computer was usually housed in a large room with very large windows so everyone could see the computer. This led to the term "glass house." The term "Disaster Recovery" is usually related to only the restoration of the Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Planning 2. The AnyKeyNow Group
"glass house." In the same vein, the term "Disaster Recovery Plan" related more to a plan on how to restore the "glass house" and its contents in the event of a crisis. In today’s complex work environment, we not only have to take the concept of the "glass house" into consideration, but also the client/server computer networks and the work-areas where essential business functions occur. The work-area includes all the needed facilities, such as desks, chairs, telephones, office supplies, and so on. Another often-overlooked aspect is the human factor. Any recovery efforts would surely fail without having an adequate number of trained personnel on hand to actually perform the critical business functions. Today’s more encompassing recovery environment is usually referred to as "Business Continuity."

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