The discipline of business continuity management has changed – and the days of it being exclusively driven by IT are long gone.
Redstor, a global provider of cloud backup services and data protection solutions, says businesses can no longer function in departmental silos when it comes to business continuity.
In an overview of key trends impacting this space, Redstor’s general operations manager Albe Gouws says business continuity and disaster recovery systems are of little use if they cannot be accessed by all employees.
“If we focus on IT, the risks are ever changing.  The proliferation of data security disasters and high availability should be much higher on the agenda of the CIO than the risks that that were on the traditional DR checklist.  Major hacks and ransomware has become so common that they don’t make the front pages anymore,” says Gouws.
However, it is the integration of new technologies that has had a profound impact on this area of ICT.
Innovation means the availability of cheaper and simpler solutions. According to Redstor most businesses no longer require multiple disaster recovery sites scattered over many datacentres – the cloud has changed the landscape forever.
“Much of the risk can be transferred without spending vast amounts.  Hybrid infrastructure allows easy recovery of their environments to cloud providers/services without running those sites permanently,” says Gouws.

Effective business continuity management
In the market today business continuity must be managed so that it adds value, is kept in control and supports business growth.
There are a number of considerations, says Redstor – including risk associated planning. Gouws says this should be regularly reviewed, tested and improved. “Any growing organisation has regular new implementations and improvements to existing processes.  Unfortunately, business continuity plans are not reviewed as often, usually only after a failed test or an actual disaster.”
However, Gouws believes that the generally accepted practice of IT disaster recovery testing is flawed.
“Test plans are created, all systems are checked and the relevant resources are on hand.  At the pre-determined time the switch is flicked and the plan is tested.  Real life doesn’t work that way. Most plans are too complex to be rapidly implemented where high availability are not installed and rarely in such cases does the expected recovery time fall within the business requirement.  This needs to be addressed by simplifying existing plans, making use of cloud technologies and regular testing of the process and improving on it each time,”
It is Redstor’s contention that existing strategies should be revised and improved, particularly to accommodate cloud usage.
The company believes that while information security should be an ongoing priority, business silos should be managed centrally as a single unit across the whole business and testing should be increased.
Looking ahead Gouws and his team at Redstor believe that cloud technologies and hybrid models will play an increasingly important role, with cost and ease making the technologies far more accessible than before.