With technology driving so much business activity now, it’s easy to start thinking of it as the be-all and end-all of business continuity. After all, cloud and virtualisation solutions instantly move computer loads between servers and sites. Policy-defined software programs securely control access to information. Virtual desktop applications exactly reproduce the same user computing environment on any device in any location for automatic business continuity, whether or not your physical office is still standing. However, the danger is in confusing a resource with an objective.
But you have to remember what is fundamentally important about business continuity – that the business continues to operate satisfactorily. Technology can be a huge help in making a business efficient and effective, but on its own it is insufficient. Technology without useful application is like a car without a good driver. In both cases, you risk getting lost, having an accident, or both. So the ability to balance IT loads and use virtualisation can be useful, but only if the workload itself bringing in useful results for the business. Being able to log on from a completely different PC and immediately recover your own personal work environment is great, but you as an individual need to be in good shape to use it. Disasters can affect workers and families too, not just IT systems and business premises.
If you make sure that you always have the key business continuity objectives in mind, including employee safety, customer satisfaction and business income, you can measure any technology action against these objectives. If IT staff says that certain systems are more important than others, check for yourself. Sometimes things appear to be more important to people when they spend more time on them. But what you really need to know is how critical any piece of technology is for achieving those basic BC objectives. Then you’ll have a good fix on what it takes to keep the business going in the face of adversity and the right levels of priority to be given to any system or technology in particular.