Business Continuity Tip of the Month

IT's not business continuity

Back in the mists of time, in almost all of the organisations that were doing any sort of business continuity (or, in those days, disaster recovery) it was being done by the IT department.

Over the years, as the discipline has evolved – from disaster recovery planning, through business continuity planning, to business continuity management – the focus has broadened from being solely IT-related. In some cases, that is – but by no means all.

Even in these enlightened times, it’s surprising, and somewhat worrying, that there are still lots of organisations where business continuity management is seen as being purely to do with IT recovery; or where only the IT people are taking it anything like seriously.

But what’s the point of recovering your IT systems if you don’t have anywhere for your critical people to go?; or if the manufacturing plant isn’t operational?; or if your customers or other stakeholders can’t contact you?; or if your supply chain isn’t there any more; or if the press or your competitors are having a field day at your expense?; or if your cash flow has stopped flowing?

The reality is that, whilst IT is an extremely important element of most business continuity strategies and plans, it isn’t the only element – not by a long chalk.

To be really effective, business continuity management needs to have an organisation-wide focus. It needs to consider everything that’s important to business continuity (the clue’s in the name after all!). And yes, that almost certainly includes IT, but if you think that IT’s the only thing that’s important to your organisation you’re almost certainly missing the point.