Challenges to Implementing and Sustaining a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Plan

By Jacqueline Lynch, Risk and Business Advisory Manager
September 2012

In the current world, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans are imperative to ensuring the sustainability of a business. Without a thorough plan in place, there is a high risk that an organization would not survive a business interruption. With such a great need for the plan, there still exists major road blocks to implementation and sustainability of a plan.

From conversations with multiple organizations, it seems that one recurring challenge is the continued involvement of senior management and the board of directors. This issue is commonly a result of a delegation, by senior management, of the general overseeing of the project to middle management. Once delegated, it is frequently the plan for senior management not to remain actively involved; however, involvement of senior management and the board of directors should remain a priority, to confirm the plan is effectively implemented, tested, and managed. In order to ensure this occurs, an organization should develop a steering committee which is comprised of key members of management and stakeholders. The committee should meet frequently throughout the project, and upon completion, to ensure a successful and sustainable plan is implemented and maintained.

In addition to the lack of involvement from senior management, organizations also struggle with a disconnect between the business and IT which oftentimes stems from a reactive, versus proactive, IT department. In order to ensure continued continuity throughout the organization, an IT steering committee should exist, comprised of key members of the business, to ensure that IT is taking a proactive approach and aligning their mission with the mission of the business. The committee should be tasked with creating and maintaining an IT Strategic Plan and should measure the IT department’s performance, against the plan. How does this relate to business continuity and disaster recovery planning, you might ask? In order to reduce the risk of catastrophic system issues, causing a delay or even stoppage of business, IT must remain in alignment with the business needs and goals. In order for the organization to plan for such issues, they must have comfort in the IT.

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