October 06, 2022 / Blog

The Evolution of Business Continuity Management Software: Been There, Doing That Better.

Frank Shultz

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The Evolution of Business Continuity Management Software: Been There, Doing That Better.

Disaster recovery (DR) emerged the first time a cave fire spread to something nearby that was important to the tribe. If it was a pile of spears, business continuity (BC) followed, as our hominid ancestors realized they should keep things made of wood away from fires. They then had to plan how to protect the spears and how to make new ones in the event of another disaster: where the spears should be kept, how many to make, and which of the cavepeople should be assigned to guard the spears and eyeball the fire. Maybe Og was reliable, so Og was chosen. Because without spears, the business of hunting for food was in danger.

In short, humans have been involved in business continuity from the very beginning.

As language developed, our species had tools with which to organize its thinking. As civilization advanced, the number of things it did required organization and preparation for things that might go wrong: nearby volcanoes erupting, plagues breaking out, supply ships sinking, dust bowls emerging, nuclear power plants melting down, economies disintegrating.

Formalizing business response to the unexpected dates back to about 1952, when a study examined how performance was affected by a crisis. This was followed by sociologist Amitai Etzioni’s work on crises in complex organizations, and Charles F. Hermann’s definition of organizational crisis as threatening the high priority values of the organization, presenting a restricted amount of time during which decisionmakers can respond, and is unexpected or unanticipated by the organization. As the novelty of electronic data processing in the 1970s necessarily drove interest in resolving interruptions, attention to the loss of those systems grew.

The initial BC/DR plans were not much more advanced than when Og was tasked with keeping the spears from burning. One can only imagine how many legal pads were sacrificed on the altar of BC/DR, tracking individual assets, warehouse locations, employee assignments, weather patterns, union contract expirations, and more. Moving the process to mainframes probably only generated additional reams of printouts. By the era of the personal computer, spreadsheets came to rule the BC/DR roost. Their ability to build individual worksheets and the ability for cells to be used for multiple types of data made them helpful — although like the word processing attempts that briefly preceded them, they were essentially out of date the moment the file was created.

Cloud-based relational databases proved to be a boon for BC/DR. Infinite Blue’s BC in the Cloud (BCIC) makes it possible for BC/DR planners to input data and the risks associated with each of them. Many of the most common ones are preloaded in a template, saving BC/DR managers the task of doing primary research — though they could easily add to the template should there be items and concerns that aren’t standard. Users could assign organizational priorities to every item on the list, yielding a score that enabled the platform to understand which concern to address in which order the next time roads flooded or ports closed. Data can be entered for every business location, and customized for them, too, because locations in New Orleans would be susceptible to flooding and related problems, while those in the Pacific Northwest might be burdened with ash after a volcanic explosion. Because BC in the Cloud lives in the cloud, it is accessible from anyone with privileges. This means it can be updated any time necessary and immediately — even if it wasn’t time for the annual (or monthly) review.

BCIC, Infinite Blue’s flagship product helps organizations with compliance goals excel. The latest iteration for BC/DR and resilience is now here, enabling organizations to address more real-time concerns. Infinite Blue’s new Cenari product spots problems before a human might to bring enterprise resilience to a new level. Not only can it make connections within the organization, but it can draw from events in the external environment to see what might affect an organization’s ability to withstand calamity. It can predict the impact of any threat and generate the ideal response. Cenari synchronizes planning, automates threat intelligence, and routinizes incident response, identifying all affected personnel immediately. And everything is done across the enterprise, ensuring every department and business system reacts correctly with up-to-the-minute information for everyone.

We are a long way from Og protecting wooden spears from fire, but only in some ways. Human activities and enterprises rely on the ability to overcome obstacles. That’s resilience. Every organization needs to be resilient to compete and to grow. Infinite Blue’s solution has achieved the next level of proactive insights to provide resilience to organizations. It’s time to stow your spears and fire up your computers.

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