Keep your Business Continuity Plan close and your Disaster Recovery routine closer
While many companies recognise the importance of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC&DR) plans, too few demand the same resilience from their technology partners. In the wake of several recent high profile cloud platform failures in the Insurance sector, bosses at Aquarium Software say firms risk reputation and revenue for lack of synergy in business planning with their key partners.
“A marked change in recent years now sees almost all firms, especially those working in heavily regulated areas, with robust BC&DR plans in place,” said Mark Colonnese, Sales and Marketing Director at Aquarium Software. “Yet to be fit for purpose, any plan must cover not just your own infrastructure, but that of your technology platform provider, especially if it’s a cloud based solution. Too many companies are falling into the trap of planning for the worst case scenario in their own back yard, yet failing to consider the implications of a critical failure with a third party provider on which their business depends.”
The comments come in the wake of global reports of business and organisations who have struggled following hardware and software failings from third party providers1. On the face of it, such outages are catastrophic; but firms can minimise the risk by selecting business platform providers committed to their own high BC&DR standards; who have planned for those inevitable IT gremlins, should the worst happen.
“Of course, things can and do go wrong so it makes sense to work with those who have considered the ‘what ifs’ before they become ‘if only’,” added Colonnese. “As an insurance technology specialist, this is something we take extremely seriously. The Aquarium view is, an apology for an anomaly, be it four days or four weeks in duration is cold comfort if your business is the one losing customers, client base and credibility as a consequence.”
Using the terms Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery together is a recognition that customer and client must collaborate; working in partnership in a symbiotic rather than parasitic business relationship. Aquarium ensured their own business would withstand client scrutiny several years ago, with the pursuit of full ISO 27001 and 9001 certification.
This approach became a necessity as Aquarium expanded into the emerging global pet insurance sector, where certification of international compliance is a standard requirement and a Key Performance Indicator (KPI).
“As one of the KPIs ensuring our Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) are fit for purpose, securing ISO 27001 in 2014 was a milestone,” added Colonnese. “We knew clients would recognise continuity plans count for little unless they could depend on ours. Hardware and software failures can and should be planned for. Having robust BC&DR plans covering your infrastructure and that of your business platform provider – not just the strategic approach but the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the operational side too, cannot be exaggerated. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, failing to plan is planning to fail.”