Bring different teams together to ensure business continuity plan optimization.

Bringing IT and business operations together for strong continuity planning

Continuity of operations planning takes so many different aspects of business into consideration that it can be easy to lose focus on the parts that really matter. As companies grow and evolve, they need to ensure that their disaster recovery strategies keep up. To this end, more companies are putting their business continuity planning in the hands of their IT departments, but they need to bring IT, human resources, product and other teams together to create a more comprehensive approach that ensures overall stability, not just the survival of tech support.

According to the Plymouth Daily News, business continuity planning is often unduly overlooked but firms need to acknowledge that the potential for disaster is there, and that without proper preparedness, they risk everything. This calls for businesses to take a more proactive stance on disaster recovery, working it into their general operations and creating a strategy that can stand up to any potential crisis, regardless of its likelihood of occurring.

The risks to operations come in many forms. For some businesses it's data leaks and cyber security. For others, it's the very real threat of natural disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes. And for all companies large and small, the threat or terror attacks is all too real. These potentialities serve to highlight the need to consider every angle of continuity planning, and bring IT and business leadership together to create the most comprehensive strategy possible.

"We're seeing a greater understanding of this in the industry as applications and business processes become more ingrained in the overall operations of businesses," says Steve Higgins, global business development executive at IBM's Global Services division regarding the development of BCP into a stronger business discipline, according to CNN. "We're seeing it with [enterprise resource planning], supply-chain management, and connections with customers and partners via the Web," he explains.

Expanding the focus on continuity and integrating IT and human resources will be one of the most important steps a business can take, ensuring that their technology and their employees are the primary target and beneficiary of recovery efforts. Employee safety, communications and the preservation of data and work systems are the top priorities in continuity.

Moving beyond those three factors, companies will want to consider business impact analysis to target other priorities and shape their plan around the aspects of operations that will be most critical for a return to operational strength following a disaster.

While more businesses are considering continuity of operations plans, this trend needs to continue to ensure the stability of operations on an individual scale and the economy as a whole. Only then can firms ensure their own success during a crisis. Investing in business continuity consulting can help bring these efforts to fruition.