1. The Old-fashioned Way
Business continuity is a proactive attitude toward disaster, but 2011 seemed intent on giving that “come what may” attitude a run for its money. In 2011, we were bombarded by natural disasters of all kinds, including blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and more. All told, these disasters cost $52 billion, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).
By contrast, in 2010, the cost was less than $10 billion. Even though natural disasters only account for a small number of disasters that affect businesses, they came out in force in 2011 to remind us that those businesses who aren’t prepared could easily find themselves up a creek without that proverbial paddle.
And Mother Nature wasn’t alone. Last year brought us everything from a tepid economy to high profile hacker attacks to entire countries pulling the plug on the Internet. If 2011 had anything to say to us, it was that bad, malicious, and unexpected things are going to keep coming and only the businesses with a solid business continuity plan will stay alive.
2. By Complicating Things
According to this infographic, every 60 seconds, there are 168 million emails sent, 1,820 TB of data is created, and 710 computers are sold (along with 81 iPads, 925 iPhones and 18 Kindle Fires). In 2011, everything just got bigger and more complicated.
Of course, there’s more to it than just data growth. Remember those iPads and other devices? Increasingly today the expectation is that IT departments support a wide array of employee-provided hardware and software (it’s called BYOD, or “Bring Your Own Device”).
And then there’s the cloud. Of course, the cloud’s not new, but 2011 was kind enough to show us that it’s not bulletproof. High profile cloud outages (like Amazon’s) made it clear that whatever its value, the cloud isn’t infallible.
Clearly, as we diversify our businesses, try new technologies, and grow at astounding rates, we need to have that structure of business continuity beneath us to catch us when things don’t go as planned.
3. By Reminding Us What Really Matters
I remember reading this blog post from Netflix shortly after the Amazon cloud failed. I was impressed by the professional way the Netflix team handled a potentially disastrous situation and got their business up and running again. This was business continuity in action: having a plan, executing that plan, and then constantly reviewing how to make that plan even better.
Just a few months later, however, Netflix began its now legendary descent into infamy and it struck me as a perfect lesson about business continuity. If 2011 taught us anything, it’s that having solid, sustainable business continuity gives us the freedom to do whatever else we want with our business. We can innovate, we can try new things, and sometimes we can run ourselves into the ground and try and pick ourselves back up again. But without the protection of a good business continuity plan, we simply don’t have that choice.
So whatever 2012 throws at us, let’s remember what 2011 had to say. Business continuity gives us freedom, and that’s a great thing.
Curt James is VP of marketing and business development at StorageCraft, which works closely with MSPs. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.