At the risk of labouring a point, here’s some further information on a particular business continuity good practice guideline – that of understanding where to look for the most likely threat. A survey from the Neverfail Group, a systems software vendor, earlier this year indicates that that the real danger to business continuity is from isolated hardware and software failures, rather than earthquakes, floods and nuclear accidents. What was striking about the survey was the discrepancy between what companies spent their time preparing for, and what in fact really impacted their business continuity.
As a multiple choice question, the Neverfail survey asked respondents what the cause was of the longest outage they had ever experienced. The range of possible answers included “a natural disaster”, “a hardware or software problem” and “a data centre problem”. 43% of the answers were for the hardware/software problem, 34% for the data centre problem, and just 9% for natural disasters. The business continuity good practice guideline involved is to correctly assess the real risks to an organisation in order to plan for the most relevant contingencies with the most appropriate solutions.
The real consequence for many organisations has therefore to be to realise how seemingly minor events can still upset their business. It’s that one server that goes down, or that one back-up tape that gets lost, rather than storms or floods, which will do the damage. In another context, Mr Micawber, Dickens’ character from “David Copperfield” described a similar impact when he said “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery”. Whether in personal finance or business continuity good practice guidelines, big impacts from small disconnects are certainly nothing new.