Organizations that deal with sensitive customer data or offer essential services are increasingly expected to prove that they can stay up and running in the face of catastrophe. With the number and severity of threats to business continuity seemingly piling on top of each other (e.g., climate change, COVID-19, political unrest, supply chain issues), companies need to have a technology resilience gameplan that can adapt to a wide range and complicated combination of adverse circumstances. So where to start?
1. Define Your Own Resilience Standards
Even if your company is not mandated by law to adhere to an operational resilience framework, recent history has shown that the health of a business can be severely damaged by factors outside of your control. By defining for yourself what company functions are the most essential and creating benchmarks for acceptable levels of operation, your organization has a clear way forward in the event of a catastrophic event.
Simply living up to the bare minimum standards for IT resilience as defined by industry analysts isn’t enough. In the face of adverse circumstances, you need to be able to keep things up and running to serve your clients and protect your company’s reputation.
2. Map IT Resilience to Business Success
Many problems in an organization are tied to a disconnect between business and IT considerations. IT personnel often have difficulty making the case for technology initiatives because there is no direct, easily understood connection between those initiatives and the bottom line. But when technology needs are mapped to the efficient functioning of the entire organization, business leaders and IT personnel can get on the same page to create a business resilience gameplan that both satisfies regulatory requirements and maintains business as usual.
3. Strategically Implement Resilience Software
Any breakdown in one part of the company can create a cascade effect that causes a drag in productivity in other parts of the company. If you want to keep your organization not only afloat but sailing, you need to have a complete view of each part’s relationship to the whole—this is where resilience software is key. If you are able to map the connections between business processes and technology initiatives and create easy to understand models for what might happen in a theoretical catastrophic event and how to adapt to it, then when problems occur your contingency plan can kick into effect immediately with minimal interruption to your company’s operations.
4. Expect the Unexpected, and then Plan for it
As global changes occur, you need to be able to adapt to those changes and modify your course of action. The crises of tomorrow may not look exactly like the ones we see today, and part of an effective technology resilience plan is what to do when something happens that wasn’t even modeled as a theoretical possibility and then iterate on solutions to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future. By creating an automatic workflow for how to incorporate unanticipated complications into the gameplan, you simplify the decision-making process and save your leadership a lot of stress.