Is business continuity to be bolted on, after the organisation has been set up? Or can it be designed in, as the enterprise is being created, modified or extended? Like business strategies, building architectures and IT security, there is a strong argument for BC to be considered and created at the beginning of any venture.
Smart risk analysis and planning then helps to avoid gaps and vulnerabilities. This may not be uppermost in the minds of start-ups or established companies.
Often, the priority is given to finding a concept or a position likely to please the market, and then to worry about continuity afterwards. Yet enterprises may find business continuity entering into their life cycles earlier and earlier.
One reason for business continuity to appear sooner instead of later is the predominance of IT in particular in many sectors of business.
As IT morphs from legacy on-site systems and firewalls to cloud computing, mobility and data-anywhere, it is having to change in terms of agility and security.
Large monolithic software applications are no longer viable, because they take too long to build and to change.
Traditional security fences around corporate data no longer work, because data now has to be used outside any such fence.
Consequently, IT applications are being built in a far more modular way, with adaptation and reorientation possible in a small fraction of the time required for legacy applications.
Similarly, data security is increasingly being designed into software at the start and provided for each individual datum, travelling with the datum beyond the traditional corporate perimeter.
These changes in IT can reflect directly on and help to enhance “business continuity at source”. With a little stretching of the imagination, similar approaches can be used on non-IT business continuity, wrapping individual components of the organisation in their own robust business continuity, while ensuring that overall BC is also properly executed.
In this way, organisations can also respond better to pressures from their own customers to offer good business continuity, a further reason for designing it in from the start.