Achieving a successful business name is one thing while maintaining it is quiet other. For businesses today, the parameter of success lies on how competent a strategy one implies to run its business, especially in times of adversity. Risk management and an effective business contingency plan are imperative to the role of a CSO, and an absence of one of these may drive the business into doldrums. Therefore, it is essential for a business, more specifically the CSO, to plan out disaster management strategy beforehand to keep a business going in case of any disaster ­–that may result from a number of reasons natural/man-made disasters, biological/geo-political events. But disaster management can be a tricky thing, keeping in mind the budget constraints for the IT department.

Hence, the question arises: How can the IT heads lead the way for effective business continuity strategy with the restricted budget allocated to them. Although it may sound a daunting task; it is very much achievable.

Following are some of the most feasible options to lead business continuity for an organization, according to some of the CIOs while keeping in mind the budget constraints.

Back up data on Cloud

In case of any disaster, the foremost concern of the C-level executive is always the data security and data recovery. For this purpose, in-house physical data backup is suggested as the priority option while also keeping an online backup. But setting a data centre or backing up data at another physical location requires high cost which may not be affordable by all in the industry. Hence, Tim Barbee, CIO of North Central Texas Council of Governments, recommends of backing up data on cloud like Microsoft’s (MSFT) Cloud business solution which provide similar data backup and recovery option as can be achieved from a data centre. Therefore, it is more of a cost-effective and secure data recovery option for the IT heads to consider while strategizing the business contingency plan.

Allocate your backup space

Suggested by Marty Gomberg, SVP and CIO of A&E Television Networks, the idea behind this is to divide the time slots for the end users in the enterprise to access the data and perform their critical tasks in the limited time and space available. For business continuity, it is essential to perform the critical tasks which form the core of the business. Hence, the rotation of the physical and virtual access among the key personnel involved for performing these tasks may prove to be cost and time effective disaster recovery technique, as evident from Gomberg’s experience.

Use all the available resources

It is presumed that the IT heads often forget to include the most important of assets in their business contingency plan: their people. This, Paul J.Cottey, CIO of Accretive Health, believes is the most important and least costly resource that could play a major role in disaster recovery.

Since businesses processes, including communication, are highly technology dependent, the failure of the systems may become a big hindrance in carrying out the business contingency plan. This is because, mot of the contact information of the desired personnel in times of disaster recovery, is stored online. Hence, a system failure could also block the access to the desired individual.
In case of such scenario, Cottey suggested that a hard-copy list of personal email addresses and phone numbers for critical IT support Staff should be maintained. This will provide the CIOs to reach the required person if faced with any potential disaster.

In today’s environment, disaster management strategy is the top priority of most of the IT executives but the effectiveness of business contingency plan is what makes the IT head stand out – if business is met with any potential disaster. Keeping that in mind, a cost-effective strategy should be laid out which should involve all the useful and available resources at hand. The focus should be on the organization, not on the practices in the industry because the budget and resources vary from organization to organization. Hence, the more narrow and closely disaster recovery plan to one’s business is; the more successful it will prove for the business continuity.

(The article was written for Rasala Publications Group’s Brand, CIOPakistan)


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