Tackling IT uncertainities with BCM

Yasser Zeineldin, CEO at managed and cloud services provider eHosting DataFort, talks about the importance of having a comprehensive business continuity management (BCM) plan in an organisation.

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Tackling IT uncertainities with BCM Yasser Zeineldin, CEO at eHosting DataFort.
By  Yasser Zeineldin Published  July 29, 2015

The world is now more susceptible to cyber-attacks, natural and environmental disasters, more than ever before. At such a time, a company’s business continuity management (BCM) plan must be in place so that there are no business disruptions in the event of a disaster.

While some businesses like to believe that they can quickly come up with a “plan b” to work through a crisis, the world’s best corporate leaders spend time making plans for events they hope will never happen.

It is important for an organisation to proactively plan ahead to ensure that critical services and data can be accessed even during the disruption period. They need to create and maintain a BCM plan that will help ensure that the company has the resources and information needed to tackle these disruptions head-on.

As a start, analyse your business and gain insight into various functions and dependencies. This will help you identify areas most crucial to your business. Aside from that, assess the risks to specifically prepare and plan for any continuity issues.

Plan and prepare a framework for your firm to effectively respond to incidents, while ensuring that you communicate your plan to all.

Once the strategy has been implemented, test the plan regularly. So, what are some the benefits of investing in BCM? For starters, a proactive identification of risks and their impact minimises the effect of a disruption on a business. In addition, it improves organisational awareness of risks and identifies best methods to tackle crises.

Aside from that, a strong BCM plan, when properly implemented, saves an organisation from business downtime and improves its reputation. It also helps maintain a strong public image in the aftermath of a crisis and protects a company’s market position.

With an effective BCM plan, the cost of any future disruptions can be cut.

In an eHosting DataFort’s 2014 BCM survey, conducted in partnership with Continuity and Resilience (CORE), the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and DNV GL Business Assurance, the findings highlighted the following interesting developments in BCM in the region.

Firstly, increased focus on BCM, the survey found that 26% of the respondents do not have a dedicated BCM team, where nearly 63% of the respondents confirmed their firms did not have a dedicated IT DR or BCM team.

Clearly, maturity of BCM and IT DR readiness still has a long way to go as 56% of respondents polled rated their organisation’s IT DR readiness as average or below average with 64% of those polled rating their BCM readiness as average or below average.

A shift is already underway in the way corporations look at BCM and the research reflected that 27% of respondents invest anywhere between $100,000 to $250,000 to implement and sustain their BCM plan, 22% invest between $250,000 to $1m and large firms in the banking, oil and gas, telecoms, government and e-commerce sectors accounted for 11% of firms that have set aside BCM budgets of more than $1m.
Lack of a robust BC plan can result in financial loss that may have a negative impact on the bottom line profits of an organisation. About 30% of those surveyed indicated the financial impact of disruptions as per their business impact analysis (BIA) estimate that a two-day disruption could set the business back by $3m and more.

From these key findings, one can deduce that businesses continue to be vulnerable to disruptions with 66% of those surveyed reporting at least one significant business disruption in the last year and the top three causes for disruptions in the Middle East have were identified as applications and network infrastructure failure, power outage and human error.

Firms considering external IT service providers are increasing with 47% of BCM budgets in the UAE being spent on IT DR infrastructure, seats, software and licensing the survey found. This can be further reduced by working with specialised service providers who can implement IT DR at a fraction of the cost of doing it in-house. In fact, 30% of the survey respondents indicated that they plan to outsource the enhancement of IT DR plans to specialist external service providers.

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