Business no longer controls all its data, now that the data is spread out over systems that could be in-house, in the cloud, or in somebody’s pocket.
From the mainframe era when two people controlled everything (the person who knew about the mainframe and the person who had the key to get in), organizations are now faced with situations in which data could be here, there, or anywhere.
Part of this is deliberate: wider, more flexible access to data can help people do their jobs better, and different storage solutions can help cut costs. But as the following anecdote shows, business continuity needs to adapt too.
The story comes from IBM executive Michael Puldy who describes how he had a close brush with catastrophe in his article “The Importance of a Personal Business Continuity Plan”.
His rental car (a popular model) was inadvertently given to another driver by a valet parking official.
Luckily, Puldy had decided before parking the car to take his laptop computer with him.
However, realizing how close he had come to losing his computer, he decided to check on his data backup situation.
Surprise! He discovered that only 10 of his 129 applications were backed up, to the cloud in this instance.
Similarly, false assumptions that the cloud automatically provides backup could be the undoing of many people, and cause prejudice to their enterprises.
Even if IT departments make sure that business confidential data from internal systems can never be directly downloaded onto personal computing devices, employees can create their own data – personal notes on product plans, informal details on customer conversations, ideas of genius on how to do better business, and so on.
IT departments cannot enforce backup policies, but users can be made aware of the need to ensure business continuity at a personal level.
Simple backup routines and recovery tests can keep employees productive and avoid personal catastrophes that can then affect teams, departments, and even the entire organization.