The International Organization of Standardization has issued a new standard dealing with issues that touch on both business continuity and readiness for disaster recovery. Lyndon Bird, who serves as technical director of the UK based Business Continuity Institute, sums up the new standard, officially numbered ISO 22301, as a way to help practices that promote business continuity to become embedded into policies and procedures so that they will remain in place even when and if the makeup of an organization's workforce changes.
"It isn't dependent on key individuals, and it won't go away when people leave, because it's actually something that management has bought into," commented Bird recently when speaking about the new standard. "For those organizations that are struggling, moving toward the standard would help very much in that it would demonstrate the need to have that commitment and that understanding from top management."
ISO 22301 will also challenge elements of the current IT support paradigm because it will require improved methods for documentation of the policies and practices that support a robust business continuity and disaster-recovery preparedness plan. According to Bird, it is in this realm of documentation that some businesses experience challenges. Merely having a solid plan is not enough under ISO 22301; companies must thoroughly be able to demonstrate proof regarding the way their plan is improving and evolving as new needs are identified. It is much simpler to adopt a plan than to document on a regular basis how well that plan is working in response to events in the organization.
A strong business continuity plan will have integrated into it a culture of readiness in case any form of disaster recovery becomes necessary. These kinds of plans often depend largely on software tools that enable systems to be up and running again quickly in the event of some kind of disaster. Reliable and relevant backups are an essential part of most business continuity plans, even though with proper advance organization and planning, it may be possible to continue operations without even needing to resort to an archived backup.
One excellent way to improve business continuity practices is to organize IT services around a managed programs model so that all software needed to accomplish DR preparedness is kept fully maintained and updated. For more information on how to get started with a managed programs approach, contact iCorps today.