As we continue to navigate through COVID-19, we tend to think about where we are and wonder where we have yet to go. How will things continue to change professionally and personally? How has our work/life balance shifted along with that of our peers, as we have become accustomed to kids, pets, and even laundry piles as the backdrop for our conference calls? How have our organization’s processes evolved to support remote work?
How Routines & Businesses have Changed During the Pandemic
And let’s not forget about the business continuity and disaster recovery plans we have developed. How have your plans been working for your organization throughout the past year and a half? Many of us are now left facing the reality that some of the information within our plans may have been focused on isolated events, such as a loss of a building, or vendor, or technology, but how did we respond when the entire world was shut down? The pandemic has now impacted business operations and supply chains globally, and we are left pondering what to do next.
The easy solution is to look at our day-to-day routines. We have automated our lives to get daily news reports, set timers on electronics for our children, and our business continuity and disaster recovery programs also need to evolve to keep pace with the ongoing changes. Many organizations had to drastically lift and shift their overall operations in March 2020 to remote work, and the old business continuity plan binder that’s collecting dust is not going to cut it when the technology that supports those plans is changing daily. You need more real-time information to make decisions and understand the risks to your organization.
While we have all shifted to remote work, IT has had the spotlight for most of 2020 in supporting workers, ensuring business processes can be performed while enforcing information security policies. The biggest challenge that every IT organization is facing today is keeping up with all the change. Many organizations have been following the movement to cloud-based solutions, new infrastructure, and application requirements in a highly available environment. Having real-time links between your data sources and your business continuity plans and program is more critical now then ever. As changes in contact information and/or technology are being documented in the system of record, your plans need to reflect those changes in near-real-time by using tools such as IB Connect to feed data to your plans.
Time to Act on Creating Your BCP Automation Plan
When thinking about automating your business continuity program, keep the following components in mind:
- Communication protocols for team members during an incident
- Tracking availability of key assets and technology
- Managing external vendors and partner relationships
- Understanding dependencies on critical components
- Proactive alerting for outages
Some important lessons we have learned throughout the ongoing COVID response include that the world is going to continue to change, and we need to be the beacon for that change. Business continuity has a new guiding light for organizations to focus on organizational resilience compared to just having a dusty binder with a copy of a plan. Be proactive, not reactive. Know where your gaps are and address them with automation to have the most current information available for what is impacted, key dependencies, and the ability to communicate with key stakeholders in advance.