Is your organisation using Big Data? If it is, business continuity questions will not be far behind. The first one is, naturally enough, on the business continuity of Big Data. The more Big Data is a strategic element in your organisation’s operations, the more important it is to guarantee its availability. If Big Data stores and systems are not adequately protected, a company could suffer interruptions to business activities and the reputational damage stemming from them. The second question is whether Big Data could help you to improve business continuity. It’s rather like question one, but in the opposite direction. How can you start to tackle both questions?

It’s wise to admit that multiple challenges face someone who wants to ensure Big Data availability and resilience. By definition, Big Data is big. It takes a lot of storage space to keep it and to keep replications of it. Big Data is also often finding its way into enterprises via marketing and business development functions. IT management of Big Data often arrives as an afterthought, if at all. As a matter of principle, business continuity managers should be aware of new technology initiatives, wherever they happen. The next step is to make sure Big Data users and IT are engaged, so that IT can make recommendations about proper management and safeguards.

In the reverse direction, can Big Data help an organisation to continue with normal operations in the face of adversity? The answer will depend on your organisation’s situation, but the question still needs to be asked. For instance, a company operating in a region with a high incidence of natural disasters may be able to use data from several sources to try to predict or manage the resulting emergency situations. By comparison, for an organisation in a stable, protected environment, trying to use Big Data for business continuity may be a distraction that hinders progress on more important issues.