What Will You Master In 2016? Make It Disaster Recovery For Organizational Resilience - InformationWeek
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What Will You Master In 2016? Make It Disaster Recovery For Organizational Resilience

These days, disaster recovery is a boardroom concern and a defining criterion for business success and organizational resilience.

In order to achieve organizational resilience, the disaster recovery mandate is a tall order -- one that’s becoming more daunting every day. Successful businesses are developing new ways to drive revenue and client engagement while meeting competitive threats at a faster pace. This requires deploying applications more quickly, integrating more systems together, and connecting more devices to these applications.

The result is a dramatic ratcheting-up of the responsibilities of disaster recovery and business continuity teams. As the systems that run a company become more complex and interdependent, disaster recovery also becomes more complicated -- and crucial to a company’s brand reputation, revenue, and productivity.

Challenges To Organizational Resilience

The IBM Center for Applied Insights surveyed 310 disaster recovery and business resiliency professionals to identify the challenges businesses face in meeting the expectations of customers, employees, and partners in today’s always-on world. The survey pinpointed the strategies that leading disaster recovery teams are following to adapt to this new environment.

Consider a few of the results from the study. About 55% of the survey participants said the top challenge they face is incorporating an increasing number of business-critical systems into their recovery plans. Nearly half of disaster recovery leaders named security breaches and cyberattacks as the second-biggest challenge to their organizations’ resiliency. Rounding out the top three, 48% pointed to the difficulties they face in managing more points of disruption because of greater IT integration.

What’s the takeaway? The pace of change is outstripping the disaster recovery methods of the past, making it a bit harder to achieve organizational resilience. We’re operating in a challenging business and technological world. Enterprises need to be always-on to be competitive. To do that, they’re relying on technology to make services and products available to employees, customers, and partners when, how, and where they want them.

But to make that always-on aspiration real, the time and money invested in protecting and restoring these systems need to be tuned to meet higher levels of expectation. These aren’t just theoretical exercises to consider when time allows; nearly 405 of companies surveyed have had to execute their disaster recovery plans within just the past two years.

Cultivating Better Disaster Recovery

What are the best business continuity teams doing to accomplish this? They take a holistic approach, design a robust testing plan, collaborate with risk and security leaders, and exploit new technologies.

Consider the notion of incorporating new technologies such as cloud, advanced analytics, and mobile into planning and recovery processes. It will impact your overall disaster recovery plan. If you’re trying to prepare for unexpected events that will disrupt business, you need to be able to anticipate outages that can cause you harm. Are they man-made threats? Human error? Natural disasters? By using diagnostic and predictive analytics, leaders can identify where they need high availability and then design a plan to help ensure business continuity.

For instance, if weather patterns were to affect your supply chain -- preventing employees from getting to work or suppliers from filling orders – you would need to be able to predict the most likely points of failure, find your weakest links, and put a better plan in place. You may need broader disaster recovery testing that incorporates key suppliers, or even new relationships within your supply chain based on those predictive analytics insights. Using advanced technology can help you develop a more effective plan.

Meeting the expectations of today’s business world requires an integrated and collaborative strategy that leverages advanced technologies and applies lessons learned from a robust testing program. Disaster recovery is no longer a systems management check box that’s reviewed in an IT operations staff meeting. These days, it’s a boardroom concern and a defining criterion for business success and organizational resilience.

Mike Errity is Vice President of IBM Resiliency Services in North America for IBM Global Technology Services. He manages the consulting, sales and delivery team implementing industry-leading service processes to create client value and earn loyalty. Mike and his team work ... View Full Bio
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