Overcoming four common business continuity challenges


    You’ve made the business case for your business continuity plan, management is on board and your funding is in place. However, your work is just beginning.

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    There are many potential pitfalls ahead as you seek to put your plan together and get it implemented. As you try to make your business continuity plan a success, here are four common challenges you may encounter. Recognizing them ahead of time, and knowing how to overcome them, can increase the likelihood your business continuity plan implementation will be the success you hope for.

    1. Employees are unclear about their responsibilities

    To many in the organization, business continuity planning can seem like an abstract concept, as well as one that likely doesn’t involve or apply to them. But everyone has a role in a successful business continuity plan and they need to understand it, as well as their responsibilities in the case of a business disruption. Establishing a business continuity governance model that clearly defines the responsibilities and roles of key employees is a critical component of a successful plan.

    2. IT and business not communicating effectively

    If your business continuity plan is to be a success there cannot be silos between the IT team and the business units – the two need to work hand in glove to effectively design and implement the plan. Often these two sides of the business aren’t used to working together, so effort must be made to establish channels of communication and cooperation and to put procedures and policies on paper, so both IT and business understand each other’s expectations and requirements.

    3. Relying too heavily on vendor advice

    For many vendors, business continuity is a great excuse to get you to open your pocketbook and buy their hardware, software and services. But whatever the vendor may be pitching this month may not be right for you, and their need to drive revenue growth should not influence your business continuity strategy. Don’t rely on vendors that may have a vested interest that doesn’t align with yours. Working with a trusted advisor like Rogers that specializes in business continuity planning, and that takes the time to understand your business needs, will give you the advice you need on what makes sense for your business.

    4. Being unrealistic in your recovery objectives

    As much as it may pain some employees to learn this, not everyone is essential to the operation. That’s not to say they should be heading to the unemployment line, but we could manage without them for a day if we had to. While each business unit should be asked to define their recovery objectives at the beginning of the process, there needs to be an objective analysis undertaken that weighs the criticality to the business vs. the cost of an immediate restoration of service. A neutral business continuity expert can help define realistic timelines that focus on getting the truly critical services back up first.

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    Jeff Jedras
    Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.