Have you met the management acronym AOSTA? It’s a nice one to know, because it links assignments all the way through to actions (we’ll explain below), providing a handy checklist for business continuity practitioners in particular. It is also the name of a picturesque town in the Italian Alps, with picture postcard images that can make a handsome PC screensaver and handy daily reminder! But let’s talk about why AOSTA can help you to get business continuity right by using it both forwards and backwards.

Here’s what AOSTA stands for:

  • A is for Assignment. This is what people ask you to do or what your boss instructs you to do
  • O is for Objective. This is what you really should do. Hopefully it’s the same as your assignment. However, if you see divergence between what is asked for and the business continuity your organisation really needs, be prepared to politely but firmly argue your case.
  • S is for Strategy. This is how you will win the war, so to speak, so that your business continuity objectives will be properly met. It’s your overall plan, like deciding to use outsourced or cloud-based resources to do secure data backups, run important enterprise applications, and so on.
  • T is for Tactics. Each battle to be fought may need its own approach, and these are the tactics you use to win it. For example, to get the Finance department to agree to move its accounting to a cloud-based platform, you show them possible cost-savings as well as improved availability.
  • A is for Actions. This is the list of things to be done, such as reviewing cloud service providers and selecting one, organising and completing application migrations and so on. Some actions will be yours, but others will be done by the different departments concerned.

The beauty of laying out the chain like this is that you can also use it in the opposite direction. If you are thinking of a particular business continuity action, you can check to make sure that it really does relate to a tactic that supports a strategy that helps to achieve a useful BC objective.