Business continuity may be harder than ever to achieve—which is a little scary for a process that was never easy in the first place. Disaster recovery procedures that get key digital assets back online are only the starting point for a business continuity (BC) undertaking.
The BC task list is long and complex. At minimum, an effective BC plan must make accommodation for setting up access to the recovered systems, getting employees back up and productive in a safe manner, re-establishing links with customers and business partners and ensuring that old and new data is well protected during a time when vulnerabilities are most likely to occur.
That’s a lot process to manage, and it’s bound to get tougher with a post-pandemic workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic sent millions of knowledge workers to their home offices and kitchen tables, eschewing downtown offices for the connected world of Zoom, Teams and other collaborative online apps. Businesses learned that they could operate as efficiently—and far more inexpensively—with a remote workforce as they did with centralized facilities.
The Future of Business Continuity & Resilience Report 2021, a report from the Business Continuity Institute, outlines the ramifications of a relocated workforce on BC preparations. More than 46 percent of survey respondents said that the same levels of resiliency applied to home workers as those for office workers. Another 33 percent said that they were working toward that goal or plan to do so.
As you help your clients develop their BC plans, you will have to provide the guidance and tools that will help them achieve universal resiliency, supporting both home and office workers.
Most traditional BC plans usually included work area recovery (WAR) accommodations. These were alternative locations where employees could convene and resume working after an operational disruption. But the survey made it clear that the shift to home working could eliminate or at least significantly alter WAR plans. Only 31 percent said they were sticking with their original WAR plans, while nearly three-quarters said they were either scrapping WAR entirely or reliance on a physical relocation site.
All of these findings mean business continuity plans will need to be rethought and, probably, redesigned. Your clients will rely on you for guidance, advice and the implementation of new processes and systems.