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Why you can afford business continuity

The clich'e is that when times are tight, marketing budgets are the first to feel the scissors. In reality, business continuity is even more likely to suffer from budget cuts: after all, the money-men always say, the risk of a major fire or an ICT meltdown is remote.

That type of argument is particularly strong right now, as trading conditions continue to be difficult as the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis are joined by lower growth in China and other key growth markets.

However, it's important not to think that lower growth prospects mean business continuity is a luxury that the company cannot afford. Now is really the time for the business continuity team to make their case even more strongly.

"I advise those who are responsible for business continuity to make a multi-dimensional case for maintaining a focus on this area - but it's important also to frame the discussion in terms of business value. Business continuity has to be seen within the context of the corporate strategy, not in isolation," says Pete Frielinghaus, Senior Advisor to ContinuitySA.

Frielinghaus offers the following two pointers for arguing the case for business continuity:

* Load shedding and strike action remain the reality. While it seems like Eskom may have recently discovered an extra power station, the threat of load shedding remains real. The current coal-mining strike should bring that home to all businesses. This is not the only big risk that South African companies face, and contingencies need to be in place.

Labour issues and militant strike action can also be expected to continue. As a way to understand and then mitigate risk in a very risky environment, business continuity actually offers good value for money when the alternative could be going out of business.

* Business continuity can help create efficiencies within the business as a whole. Performing a business impact analysis means understanding not only what the business processes are, but also their impact on, and value to, the business as a whole. This kind of granular yet objective understanding of what the moving parts are, and the relative importance of each part, is extremely valuable - and it's not something that businesses usually have because each process owner sees his or her processes as critical. "Understanding the relationship between each process and the company's ability to achieve its strategic goals can be used to drive improvements, over and beyond assigning business continuity budgets," says Frielinghaus.

ContinuitySA

ContinuitySA

ContinuitySA is Africa's leading provider of business continuity management and related services. The company boasts some of the continent's most highly skilled and qualified business continuity and disaster management experts who help companies, organisations and government departments of all sizes prepare for and deal with all eventualities. These include potential threats, events, incidences and unforeseen or sudden disruptions due to human error or natural events.

ContinuitySA also provides a variety of hosting solutions, ranging from co-located to fully managed virtualised environments, with their primary focus being to ensure its clients are able to address the resilience and recoverability of their IT services. These hosting services are complemented by managed backup and recovery services, virtual server replication and high availability solutions to satisfy any level of continuity requirement.

ContinuitySA operates the largest recovery facilities in southern Africa. It has a number of recovery centres in southern Africa with over 20 000 square metres of recovery facilities in Midrand, Gauteng. Smaller sites have been located in Cape Town, Gaborone, Botswana and Mozambique, and a joint venture has been established in Mauritius.

ContinuitySA. Our business is keeping you in business. Additional information about ContinuitySA can be found at www.continuitysa.com.