I D C              A N A L Y S T                        C O N N E C T I O N                        Bob ODonnell           ...
change, software changes, systems change, infrastructure changes, suppliers change,     customers change, the environment ...
Q.         What technology should be included as part of a business continuity plan?A.         From a technology perspecti...
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Business Continuity Planning: Preparing to Weather the Storm


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Business Continuity Planning: Preparing to Weather the Storm

  1. 1. I D C A N A L Y S T C O N N E C T I O N Bob ODonnell Program Vice President, Clients and DisplaysBusiness Continuity Planning: Preparing YourWorkforce to Weather the StormDecember 2011Over the past several decades, businesses have become so heavily reliant on their businessapplications and IT resources that application or IT infrastructure downtime often results in lostproductivity and revenue. With the number of applications and the amount of data considered missioncritical within todays business environments at an all-time high, organizations must understand theincreasing imperative of maintaining sound business continuity planning. At its most simplistic level,business continuity is the ability to maintain operations and services in the face of a disruptive event.Business continuity requires the availability of computing, application services, physical networkaccess, and network services as well as user/client access to this infrastructure. According to IDC,the market for the various technologies deployed for the purpose of ensuring business continuitysurpassed $27.9 billion in 2010. The market is expected to increase 2.8% in 2011 and thenexperience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.6% through 2015.The following questions were posed by Citrix to Bob ODonnell, program vice president of IDCsClients and Displays research, on behalf of Citrixs customers.Q. Are most companies prepared for a workforce disruption (e.g., severe storms, natural disasters, pandemics)?A. No, most companies are not adequately prepared for workforce disruptions. While many companies do have some basic contingency plans in place, most do not have a thorough business continuity plan or the tools necessary to allow their employees to continue working in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. Over and over again, we see things happen to organizations that inevitably catch them off guard. Ever since September 11, people have recognized the need for contingency plans for their businesses, yet most people keep it in the back of their minds. As a result, here we are10 years later, and we still see organizations that encounter trouble because they dont have thorough business continuity plans in place. The truth is, relatively few companies have a bulletproof strategy should some sort of catastrophic event occur. And even an event that is noncatastrophic can impact certain systems or procedures, so its important to consider every contingency when developing these plans.Q. How often should a company update its business continuity plan?A. Organizations should update their business continuity plans at least once a year, but semiannual or even quarterly reviews are also a good idea. Companies change, marketsIDC 1228
  2. 2. change, software changes, systems change, infrastructure changes, suppliers change, customers change, the environment changes — all these different aspects need to be taken into consideration when developing and refining your companys continuity plans. Unfortunately, many organizations get stuck around business continuity plans because there are costs involved. But business continuity planning essentially is like an insurance policy. Most people accept the fact that they need to pay for insurance in the event of an unexpected event. Continuity planning is insurance for the business.Q. What are the three most important parts of a business continuity plan?A. At a basic level, you have to figure out the means by which people can get their work done. Typically, that means you have to provide tools for people to access their applications and data, or even their entire Windows or Mac desktop, remotely and securely. One obvious example is the ability to enable people to work from their homes in the event that they could not commute because of an illness or a natural disaster or because an office was impacted and therefore they have to work offsite. In addition, companies need redundancy of key systems and/or multisite datacenters. If a company doesnt have its own datacenters, then it needs to work with a partner that can provide a remote datacenter solution. Many organizations work with cloud-based solutions (which also need to be redundant) so that their employees can have access to their work data. Companies need to provide IT departments with solutions to support servers, devices, and employees from any location. Its not essential to go into the office to manage these devices or support people. Remote support and monitoring technology allows IT professionals to monitor, fix, and troubleshoot problems from any location with an Internet connection. For example, some solutions allow for remote support for employees from mobile devices. In some cases, of course, employees may have company-issued notebooks, so those applications may be installed on the local device. However, in many cases, the need for critical applications goes well beyond those workers who have work notebooks. For small businesses, critical applications are often found on systems that are located at their business location only. Organizations cant simply have applications located on a server inside an office building; if something happens to that office building or people cant get to that office building, employees will not be able to work. Organizations need to think about specific solutions that provide access to Windows desktops because most corporations and small businesses are still leveraging Windows and Windows-based applications to run their business. A third piece to consider is solutions that individuals can install on their own personal computing devices, whether those devices are their own home PCs or a tablet or another device — anything through which they can conceivably get their work done. That way, if they dont have access to their work PCs, they can still get their work done. For employees with notebooks, for example, an organization should install software and tools that allow them to remotely and securely connect to their corporate applications and data.Q. What do most business continuity plans lack?A. Most continuity plans lack a worst-case scenario in which every system and application becomes unavailable. Also, many business continuity plans dont take into account the critical components that may be impacted but that are out of their control. In effect, organizations have to come up with Plan B for when something they own breaks and then Plan C for a critical component that breaks that is not in their control. 2 ©2011 IDC
  3. 3. Q. What technology should be included as part of a business continuity plan?A. From a technology perspective, companies need to consider software tools that allow desktop access from any number of locations or different devices. This kind of architecture provides a great deal of flexibility for regular business operations and can be essential in the case of an emergency. The ability to remotely access key applications and data is essential for the ongoing operation of any business. Those small businesses that may not want or may not be able to invest in the kind of infrastructure that some of these solutions entail will want to look at finding a service provider or other partner that does have these kinds of capabilities. Many businesses offer moderately priced services that can provide small businesses with the same kind of critical remote access capabilities that larger companies have. Organizations also may want to offer collaboration tools so that people who are not physically located together can work together as if they were. Facilitating remote collaboration, such as videoconferencing, is important even in organizations that dont typically support work-at- home options. In the event of a disaster, youre going to need to have the tools in place that would be the same for work-at-home practices. If you did offer work at home, then collaboration tools enable people to work together on projects whether or not any or all collaborators are inside or outside the office. A B O U T T H I S A N A L Y S T Bob ODonnell, program vice president of IDCs Clients and Displays research, has a lengthy, multifaceted career in the computer and high-tech industry. ODonnell is responsible for tracking the latest and most important hardware developments that impact PCs, notebooks, thin clients, and other computing devices, as well as the ODM production of notebooks. He also leads IDCs Displays research program, where he tracks both the sales and technology trends affecting the worldwide market for computer televisions, monitors, projectors, and related technologies, as well as the market for large LCD panels and ODM production of monitors and TVs.A B O U T T H I S P U B L I C A T I O NThis publication was produced by IDC Go-to-Market Services. The opinion, analysis, and research results presented hereinare drawn from more detailed research and analysis independently conducted and published by IDC, unless specific vendorsponsorship is noted. IDC Go-to-Market Services makes IDC content available in a wide range of formats for distribution byvarious companies. A license to distribute IDC content does not imply endorsement of or opinion about the licensee.C O P Y R I G H T A N D R E S T R I C T I O N SAny IDC information or reference to IDC that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requiresprior written approval from IDC. For permission requests, contact the GMS information line at 508-988-7610 or gms@idc.com.Translation and/or localization of this document requires an additional license from IDC.For more information on IDC, visit www.idc.com. For more information on IDC GMS, visit www.idc.com/gms.Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA P.508.872.8200 F.508.935.4015 www.idc.com©2011 IDC 3