IT Business Continuity: What Key Lessons Can CIOs Take from COVID?

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Digital image represented a secure system. Business continuity ensures all important systems and processes are protected in the event of a disaster.

If COVID-19 has taught the IT industry anything, it’s the difference between having a Disaster Recovery Plan and a true Business Continuity Plan.  While most companies have thought through the basics of temporary, disaster-oriented outages, did they plan for the long-range, transformative disruptions that COVID-19 dished out? 

For most organizations, that answer was no. 

In fact, a 2020 study Protecting the physical safety of your workforce and customers—How will physical distancing affect the layout of your offices and retail operations? Can no-touch scanners, cash-free payment systems, direct-to-app sales make it possible to keep business flowing, while minimizing the transmission of the virus? It’s a question companies were forced to answer, and quickly, during the pandemic. And for many these new ways of selling will continue, long after the pandemic has passed.

Including vendors in your plan—When parts of your system must be rerouted, and staffing levels are intermittent, the vendors you use will be more important than ever. Have they seen your Business Continuation Plan, and commented on it? What additional resources can they offer? And do they have a good disaster recovery plan for their own staff, if the worst happens?

These considerations are just the beginning. Looking to take a broader view? Check out these resources from the U.N.’s International Labor Organization. While the U.N.’s six-step plan is focused on responding to business continuity in the time of COVID, its focus on “people, processes, profits, and partnerships” is a solid framework for establishing or updating your continuity plans. 

Further Reading: Don’t overlook the role a top Data-Recovery-as-a-Service partner can play in your business continuity planning.