find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Business continuity gets over IT

Business continuity gets over IT

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY failures remain among the biggest causes of downtime for business continuity (BC) managers, and are at the core of BC planning, but many organisations are now doing far…

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY failures remain among the biggest causes of downtime for business continuity (BC) managers, and are at the core of BC planning, but many organisations are now doing far more to plan for staff welfare, says a survey of continuity managers.

However, the report found there is still a need for a lot more testing of scenario plans, with many BC plans still just on paper.

IT was closely followed by natural disasters and then loss of utility services as the biggest interruptions of the past year, according to the Continuity Forum’s Benchmarking Survey of 2007, released to members late last year.

“These results show that BC is now more people-oriented, rather than IT-oriented, as it was in the previous years,” said Marilena Salvo, a spokeswoman for the Continuity Forum, with similar reports produced in 2000 and 2003.

Although IT failures were still the major cause of downtime, she said pandemics and other threats that affect staff safety directly are now given greater consideration, and plans to deal with the aftermath of such disasters are more sophisticated.

In fact, a pandemic was perceived to be the biggest threat, with terrorism now less of a concern than in previous years, although it was still the fourth biggest worry.

The report notes that two similar surveys from Macquarie University and KPMG found the main cause for concern was centred on IT, which in this survey was the second biggest concern, virtually equal to natural catastrophes.

“This trend might be less significant for organisations that are more reliant on their infrastructure, such as those in the manufacturing sector,” it states.

Although there were some promising signs thrown up by the report, it said there were still too many organisations (20 per cent) without a business impact assessment (BIA) of the various risks to business continuity, and more than a third had not updated their BIA in the past 12 months.

Ross Piper, joint head of corporate risk at Macquarie Bank, told a banking risk forum last month that it should be obvious that business continuity plans should primarily be about human beings.

“People think it’s all about IT, but without people, the infrastructure means nothing,” he said.

One of the more important changes in the maintenance of business continuity, he said, was the shift in “ownership” to each business unit. This was particularly important in a company like Macquarie, which had a very decentralised management structure, with many different businesses within the group.

“The fundamental change that we have had is about ownership. [The role of the BC area] is to facilitate good business continuity. There needs to be ownership, and understanding and accountability within each business,” Piper said.

He also stressed the need to “test” and “challenge” those who must implement the BC plans, and establish whether you have contingencies should anyone of those tasked with carrying out the plan not be able to do so.

Even more fundamental than determining whether and how you are going to be able to keep people working, he said a plan needs to take into account the very first requirement for employees involved in a major disaster — the need to contact family members, and perhaps to leave work and see them. “Safety of people is paramount,” he said.

Some of the factors that will be important in BC management in future, he said, was utilising new technology to allow greater flexibility in work arrangements, ranging from off-site data centres and work areas, to use of more powerful mobile devices.

He said this was also one of the biggest challenges. “Almost week-to-week for us, it seems there is a continual shifting of goalposts about options [for infrastructure and technology use].”

Macquarie Bank hadn’t got to the stage of “super sites” for recovery and data storage, but these may become economically viable in future, he added.

He said recent issues at their Canadian sites had also shown how close regional offices could also be very dependent on each other, with the incident in the Canadian offices having knock-on effects in their US offices.

In the Continuity Forum survey, about 45 per cent said the maximum allowable “outage” was less than 24 hours, and 10 per cent said it was less than an hour.

Piper said for Macquarie Bank, however, there was “a variation in downtime tolerance” across its businesses, often depending on the financial exposure of that business, which was one good reason for each business to have its own recovery plans.

The survey also found that most respondents were using the Australian and New Zealand Risk Management standard 4360 as their benchmark, rather than several other specific business continuity standards.

See www.riskmanagement magazine.com.au

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Business continuity gets over IT
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Violence
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...