June 16, 2024

The technology so many of us use for work and daily tasks is often so reliable that it comes as almost a shock when a service or tool isn’t working. But whether due to cyberattacks, natural disasters or something else, downtime is likely to hit every company that builds internal and customer-facing technology, and every such company needs to be ready.

It’s natural and logical for tech leaders and their teams to play a leading role in business continuity planning. Below, 20 members of Forbes Technology Council share tips to help tech leaders foster a culture of preparedness and oversee efforts to leverage all available tools to ensure their organizations remain resilient and adaptable.

1. Develop Comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plans

One way technology leaders and teams can support business continuity efforts is by developing comprehensive disaster recovery plans. By identifying potential risks and developing strategies to mitigate them, such as redundant systems, alternate sites and remote access solutions, organizations can minimize downtime and maintain essential operations even in adverse circumstances. – Mohit Gupta, Damco Solutions

2. Take A Holistic View Of People And Processes

Collaboration is key to the success of business continuity. Tech leaders sometimes tend to focus on disaster recovery from a tech perspective, but collaborating with the business—especially the operational risk team—to obtain a holistic view of not just the technology perspective, but also the people and processes perspective, will ensure effective business continuity processes are in place. – Adeoluwa Akomolafe, Wema Bank


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3. Consider Modern Attack Trends

Technology leaders should prioritize a mature security program that considers modern trends of attackers. Adopting mature solutions and combining them with innovative approaches adds an extra layer of advantage to the “trust the known” paradigm. It’s a classic example of the Pareto principle to continuously improve your overall posture and enable your technical teams to move faster. – Aviv Mussinger, Kodem

4. Be Aware Of Advancements That Expand Basic Compliance

I do see that disaster recovery and incident response plans can be important, but I also see that technological advancements, such as threat modeling and risk assessment, have taken basic compliance to a new level. Cyber resilience, effective communication with stakeholders, shared responsibility and continuous learning will contribute to an organization’s overall business continuity posture. – Dan Sorensen, Air National Guard

5. Take A Lead Role In BIA Processes

Technology leaders and teams play a critical role in periodic business impact analysis processes, building competent enterprise architecture models, and ensuring all new planned systems adhere to technology resilience standards. It’s also important to regularly conduct tests and exercises with gap analyses of recovery requirements against actual achievable recovery plans. – Kim Bozzella, Protiviti

6. Identify Critical Datasets

Insight into the data is key! First, tech leaders must convene with data owners to determine which datasets are more critical and which are less so. Then, they must leverage data management solutions that provide key insights into stored data. Priorities can then be set, and the most efficient, cost-effective and flexible options for providing continuity services can be enacted. – Carl D’Halluin, Datadobi

7. Ensure Critical Systems Are Secure And Backed Up

To support business continuity, technology leaders and teams should ensure critical systems and data are secure and regularly backed up and can be quickly restored during disruptions. They should implement reliable and secure remote access solutions, allowing employees to work from anywhere. Close collaboration with other departments helps align IT strategies with overall business continuity plans. – Murali Murugan, Macy’s Inc.

8. Get Involved Immediately When There’s A Crisis

It’s essential for tech leaders to raise their hands and jump in when there is a need, especially during a crisis that causes a business continuity event, such as ransomware. Often, technology leaders are already overwhelmed and understaffed, but every event that triggers a business continuity concern is different, and the company really needs everyone who can help to be involved. – Caroline McCaffery, ClearOPS

9. Invest In Digital Twins And Edge Computing

Technology leaders can boost business continuity by investing in AI-powered digital twins and edge computing. Digital twins enable real-time simulation and scenario analysis for operational resilience. Edge computing complements this by processing data locally, reducing latency and downtime. Together, these technologies help firms predict disruptions and respond swiftly, ensuring smooth operations. – Jabin Geevarghese George, Tata Consultancy Services

10. Implement Cloud-Based Technologies

Technology leaders can champion business continuity by advocating for and implementing cloud-based technologies to address such things as accessibility, scalability and disaster recovery. AI is another powerful tool tech leaders can leverage to strengthen business continuity efforts because it can quickly carry out risk assessment and prediction, increase efficiency and improve accuracy. – Justin Newell, INFORM North America

11. Embrace Disruptions

Prepare your IT strategy to embrace disruptions. A comprehensive global emergency operating plan can provide the tools needed for continuity. Leaders should strategize to establish resilient processes, maintain backups and ensure overlapping expertise for a robust business framework. Balancing technology and reliability will support a contingency plan that secures systems and ensures uptime. – Eric Helmer, Rimini Street

12. Track Informative Metrics To Show Value

Visibility and execution are key to supporting business continuity. Having monthly and yearly metrics based on service-level agreements for system downtimes, understanding the cost impact of downtime, and implementing strategies to address business continuity will go a long way toward gaining business buy-in and successfully executing tactics to ensure long-term business continuity. Showing the business value of the strategies you execute is key. – Buyan Thyagarajan, Eigen X

13. Create A Robust Knowledge-Sharing Culture

It’s about prioritizing the seamless transfer of knowledge as part of a positive learning culture. As employees advance, new team members should be ready to step in. Hard skills are important, but there should also be a focus on cultural and institutional knowledge and how things are orchestrated. That’s where robust frameworks for knowledge-sharing can really shine, putting the focus on people. – Ramesh Ramani, ExpertusONE

14. Focus On Third-Party Dependencies

It’s critical to focus on third-party dependencies. Most companies do a decent job of managing their resilience, but until recently, there hasn’t been an effective way to monitor and manage third-party vendor impact. In our dynamic, connected digital environments, assessing the resilience of third parties is just as important as looking internally for areas of risk when managing business continuity efforts. – Jeffrey Wheatman, Black Kite

15. Strive To Remain Agile And Organized

While implementing robust disaster recovery strategies is a self-evident must, one way tech leaders and teams can contribute to supporting business continuity efforts is by simply being agile and organized. Companies should conduct comprehensive training and awareness programs to educate employees and ensure that everyone is on the same page and aligned in terms of goals and respective procedures. – Yuriy Gnatyuk, Kindgeek

16. Incorporate Automated Alerts

It’s important to incorporate automated alerts to prepare for severe outages. Pairing the alerts with detailed logging provides relevant information on why outages are happening and provides clues as to how to prevent them in the future. – Syed Ahmed, Act-On Software

17. Balance Security And Productivity Through Strong Identity Governance

Tech leaders and teams can support business continuity by creating a balance between security and productivity. This starts with a strong identity governance program, ensuring people have access to what they need to get their jobs done—no more, no less. Access and permissions should evolve seamlessly throughout the employee life cycle so work contributions and security aren’t mutually exclusive. – John Milburn, Clear Skye

18. Focus On Continuous Evaluation And Innovation

Technology leaders and teams can support business continuity by focusing on continuous evaluation and innovation, ensuring technology aligns with evolving business outcomes. Regularly assessing tech infrastructure and processes enables agile responses to changes, maintaining operations and driving growth even in challenging times. – Jo Debecker, Wipro

19. Put A Data Protection, Backup And Recovery Strategy In Place

Businesses rely on data, and the state of data is continuously changing. It is important for technology leaders to have a data protection, backup and recovery strategy to quickly restore the business to a point in time before the failure. To achieve a zero stopgap state, you could also point applications to the backup and just expose read-only or critical features until everything is restored. – Murali Kushal Sha

20. Establish A Genuine Partnership Between The IT Team And The Business

Establishing a genuine IT-business partnership facilitates a better understanding of organizational needs, which aids in disaster recovery planning. By aligning technology initiatives with business goals, teams can develop tailored strategies, ensuring that IT solutions, including robust disaster recovery measures, contribute effectively to business continuity and success. – Geetha Kommepalli, Skillsoft

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