Business continuity is one of today’s major business areas that concern senior executives. It is widely considered that there are three major pillars of business continuity as described below and I would like to add a fourth one.
#1: Maintaining business continuity starts with establishing proper methods and facilities to monitor business-critical installations and to detect relevant events and circumstances that potentially lead to a service disruption.
With the help of modern IT systems huge progress has been made in this area.
#2: Once critical events and conditions have been detected the next step to ensure business continuity is problem neutralisation and eventually problem resolution.
This is often a manual process, performed by service technicians, IT administrators, fire fighters, security officers, etc. Ideally, the process from problem identification to resolution is handled automatically and without human intervention.
This has been partially achieved in the IT industry, e.g. through failover scenarios and research on “self-healing” systems.
#3: As you cannot fully prevent downtime, business interruption or even disaster on every occasion you need to have proven and tested communication policies, disaster management and recovery action plans in place.
These must include how to inform all relevant parties affected by the unplanned event. In case a problem wasn’t detected or couldn’t be resolved in time these plans ensure that any impact on your business is minimal, customer satisfaction is not affected and - ultimately - human life is protected.