Being well-prepared and equipped to handle unforeseen emergencies or disruptions is vital for owners of Business Services, including IT Services, Service Desks, Datacentres and related fields. One way to ensure that your team is ready to face unexpected events is by implementing business continuity strategies.
In this article, we will discuss what business continuity services are, how they can be used in a business environment and the benefits they provide to a company. We will highlight the importance of having a well-developed business continuity plan to ensure a company’s ability to adapt to unexpected situations and maintain its operations without interruption. We will then take a look at some case studies and practical examples of IT service continuity plans in action.
What is business continuity?
In simple terms, business continuity refers to the ability of a company to continue its critical operations in the face of a disaster or unexpected interruption.
Business continuity services are a set of strategies and solutions designed to help organisations prepare for and recover from unexpected disruptions. These services are focused on ensuring that businesses can maintain critical functions during and after an unforeseen event, minimising the impact of the disruption on their operations, customers and reputation.
Business continuity solutions
The goal of business continuity services is to help organisations protect their assets, maintain customer confidence and ensure long-term sustainability in the face of unexpected events.
By investing in business continuity services, companies can minimise the risk of financial loss, reputational damage and operational disruption, ultimately increasing their resilience and competitiveness in the market.
Business continuity services may include making use of third-party software solutions, like ServiceNow, to implement continuity strategies and security measures.
ITSCM (Information Technology Service Continuity Management)
IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) aims to manage risks that could impact a business’s IT services.
There are various software solutions available that can aid in implementing efficient business continuity services, such as:
- backup and recovery solutions
- off-site data storage
- disaster recovery planning
- emergency communication systems
It is important to have a resilient IT continuity plan to ensure your business can operate seamlessly, regardless of the circumstances.
How are business continuity services used in a business environment
Business continuity services help organisations to maintain their productivity and avoid significant losses by providing effective strategies to mitigate risks, prepare for potential disruptions and respond appropriately to minimise their impact.
By having a well-developed business continuity plan and the support of experienced professionals, businesses can be confident in their ability to adapt to unexpected situations and maintain their operations without interruption.
Creating an IT services continuity plan is crucial for any business that relies on technology to operate. To develop a comprehensive plan, several key factors should be considered:
Step 1: Regulatory Review
The initial step in creating a continuity plan is to conduct a regulatory review. The objective is to identify whether your company needs to comply with any regulations or legislation imposed by authorities, governing bodies, investors, partners or other stakeholders.
Step 2: Risk Assessment
This step involves identifying and prioritising potential business risks and disruptions based on their severity and likelihood of occurrence. The objective of the risk assessment is to distinguish between risks that can be tolerated and those that require action, as well as determine the potential impact that these risks may have on an organisation.
Step 3: Business Impact Analysis
In this step, you need to analyse each division of your organisation to identify the important functions and tools that are critical to their operations. This information is crucial in setting recovery time targets and recovery points for these vital functions.
Additionally, you should establish both internal and external requirements and identify key employees and backup staff who possess similar skill sets as the primary employees. This step is also crucial in determining the maximum downtime that your organisation can tolerate.
Step 4: Continuity Plan
To proceed with the continuity plan creation, it is essential to take into account your IT service company’s overall strategy. This involves formulating plans for different departments and contingency levels for each site based on the results of the risk assessment. Each strategy must consider the maximum allowable downtime for each function.
Step 5: Testing
After creating your business continuity plan, the next step is to test it. It is recommended to conduct regular employee training sessions, including tabletop exercises and simulations, to ensure that your employees are well-prepared in the event of a disruption.
Moreover, it’s advisable to have an external business continuity expert review your plan, business impact analysis and risk assessments annually to ensure that new threats and business operations are appropriately reflected in your plans.
Benefits of business continuity services to a company
Implementing business continuity services can provide numerous benefits to a company.
1. Minimise Downtime
Business continuity services help reduce downtime by ensuring that critical functions and operations can continue to operate during an unexpected event. This helps to maintain business operations, reduce financial loss and minimise the impact of a disruption on the organisation.
2. Maintains Customer Trust
A company’s reputation is vital to its success. Implementing business continuity services can help to maintain customer trust by ensuring that critical systems and services remain operational during a crisis. This helps to reduce the risk of losing customers due to downtime or other issues caused by an unexpected event.
3. Improves Compliance
Business continuity services can help a company meet regulatory requirements and maintain compliance. These services help to ensure that critical data and systems are secure and that the organisation can quickly recover from an incident.
4. Reduces Financial Loss
Business continuity services can help reduce financial loss by ensuring that operations are not disrupted for an extended period. This helps to minimise the impact of a disruption on revenue and reduce costs associated with recovery efforts.
Overall, implementing business continuity services can help a company prepare for and respond to unexpected events. This helps to ensure that critical operations continue to function, customer trust is maintained, regulatory requirements are met and financial losses are minimised.
Examples of business continuity service in practice
In this section, we will explore practical examples of how businesses have utilised business continuity services to maintain critical functions and minimise the impact of disruptions.
Case Study: Hurricane Harvey hits hospital in Houston
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, causing widespread flooding and power outages.
One of the affected companies was the Harris County Hospital District, which runs several healthcare facilities in the region, including Ben Taub Hospital, one of the busiest trauma centres in the United States.
The hospital district had a business continuity plan in place that was tested annually. The plan included off-site data backups, an emergency communication system and a designated backup facility for patient care.
When Hurricane Harvey hit, the hospital district activated its business continuity plan and quickly transferred patients to the backup facility, which was located on higher ground and unaffected by the flooding.
The hospital district’s data centre was also unaffected, thanks to off-site backups. This ensured that critical patient information and medical records were accessible, even though the hospital had to operate from a backup facility.
Thanks to its business continuity plan, the hospital was able to continue providing critical care to patients during and after the hurricane. While the hospital had to operate from a backup facility for several weeks, the continuity plan helped to minimise downtime, reduce financial loss and maintain the trust of patients and their families.
This case study illustrates the importance of having a robust business continuity plan in place. The hospital district’s preparedness ensured that it could continue providing essential services during a major disruption.
Case Study: Aluminum Manufacturer’s cyber attack
In 2019, a ransomware attack affected a Norwegian aluminium manufacturer. The attack shut down many of the company’s systems, including its production lines and financial systems.
The company had a comprehensive IT service continuity plan that included off-site backups and a cloud-based disaster recovery solution. Thanks to these measures, the company was able to quickly recover from the attack and restore its critical systems.
The company’s IT team worked around the clock to isolate the ransomware, and the company’s business continuity plan allowed them to quickly switch to backup systems while the attack was being contained.
The company was also able to continue communicating with customers and suppliers through alternative channels, ensuring that critical business functions could continue despite the disruption.
While the ransomware attack was a significant setback, the company’s preparedness and business continuity plan helped to minimise the damage. The company was able to restore normal operations within a matter of weeks, and its IT systems were even stronger and more resilient after the incident.
This case study highlights the importance of having a business continuity plan for IT systems. By investing in off-site backups and cloud-based disaster recovery solutions, the aluminium manufacturer was able to quickly recover from the disruption and continue operating effectively, demonstrating the value of business continuity services in protecting against cyber threats.
Business continuity services are crucial for organisations to ensure they are prepared for and can respond effectively to unexpected events that may impact their operations. These services, such as backup and recovery solutions, off-site data storage, disaster recovery planning and emergency communication systems, help companies maintain their critical functions and minimise the impact of a disruption on their operations, customers and reputation.
Implementing business continuity services can provide numerous benefits to a company, including minimising downtime, maintaining customer trust, improving compliance and reducing financial loss.
By having a well-developed business continuity plan and the support of experienced professionals, companies can be confident in their ability to adapt to unexpected situations and maintain their operations without interruption.
At Xcession, we provide all-inclusive ITSM services that aid companies in streamlining their IT operations, enhancing their service delivery and improving overall business productivity. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help your business.