September is one of the busiest months of the year for many businesses, but how do you ensure business continuity (BC)?

Business continuity is a proactive plan which focuses on the long term operational issues of a business. Companies put a risk management plan in place which identifies the people, processes and technology required to continue business operations in the event of any interruption.

Many businesses will say everything within the business is important, but in most cases, the systems can be split into 3 tiers:

  • Tier 1 – systems that are the highest priority and include those IT assets that would put the business at risk with even the briefest outage
  • Tier 2 – system outages that the business can tolerate. They can last a few hours or up to several days before the organization is impacted
  • Tier 3 – systems can be down for longer periods and are generally noticeable only to IT

To then build a plan that will work, businesses need to:

  1. Look at the policies and standards from the organisations risk management policies
  2. Develop the business continuity plan
    1. Document the processes and how they are supported by people process and technology
    2. Identify and communicate with stake holders and SME’s
    3. Build consensus on continuity and recovery priority, and recovery time objectives (RTO)
  3. Implement the necessary changes to support the goals of the plan

Once businesses have these points established and in place, they along with their IT team, can build a contingency plan that will be effective should something go wrong.