What squirrels and business continuity management have in common

René Wagenhäuser
Squirrel with nut in mouth, which is supposed to stand for preventive measures with business continuity management

Squirrels have something ahead of many companies: a functioning Business Continuity Management (BCM). We like to watch the nimble animals in autumn as they collect nuts and acorns and hide them in various places to survive the winter - or simply put Business Continuity Management.

Admittedly, the timing of a power outage, hacker attack or natural disaster is less predictable than the onset of winter. Nevertheless, companies can prepare for these threats with a well thought-out business continuity management and thus have enough fodder in case of an emergency or can resume their business operations as quickly as possible.

Step 1: Identify dependencies

In most scenarios, IT operations are restricted or jeopardised. In order to find out which processes and functions are relevant for an organisation in the event of a disruption of IT operations, a business impact analysis can be carried out. Dependencies that exist between different areas of the company and the criticalities of the individual processes in the company are thus recorded and documented. On this basis, suitable business continuity management concepts can be created for various emergencies, or as the squirrel would say: no food, no survival.

Step 2: Define measures

Having established that it needs food all year round and that there is none in winter, the squirrel defines measures to ensure that it has enough for the winter. Similarly, in business continuity management, companies define measures and contingency plans in advance. In the event of an emergency, the primary goal is to be able to continue core business operations without interruption. Measures include personnel, organisational and technical steps, which are defined on the basis of various questions and from which the emergency plans are developed:

  • What must be implemented immediately?
  • How is emergency operation triggered?
  • How will work be done in emergency operations?
  • How will emergency operations be transferred back to normal operations?
  • How is the event followed up?

Step 3: No champion has yet fallen from the sky

Continuity management means: practice, practice, practice. Successful crisis management ensures that an emergency can be dealt with quickly and efficiently and that responsibilities and reporting channels are clearly defined. However, procedures often do not work smoothly the first time. An experienced squirrel knows exactly how much food it has to hide so that it has enough for the winter - minus shrinkage. In an emergency, this is exactly the crucial point. If the processes are practised regularly, discrepancies are noticed immediately, the measures then function almost automatically in an emergency and those involved are more relaxed. This reduces the risk of economic repercussions for the company. Those responsible can control and monitor the process thanks to precise planning in advance.

Step 4: Make IT systems fail-safe

Nothing is worse than high IT system downtimes that restrict business processes. Therefore, the disaster recovery strategy focuses on maintaining the IT infrastructure. Via backups with regular restore tests and geo-redundancy solutions, lost files or infrastructures can be restored within minutes in an emergency. Concepts should also be drawn up for this and regular tests carried out in order to be prepared for a crisis and to keep the economic damage as low as possible. Let's return to the squirrel: If it doesn't find a nut in its hiding place because someone else has already helped itself to it, it goes to its backup to get supplies.


Squirrels are good role models

Even if squirrels do not create concepts, they are still a good role model for companies to prepare for exceptional situations. For companies it is advisable to set up a concept for a successful business continuity management together with experts and to practice it regularly. EIKONA Systems supports you in process recording, consulting and creation according to ISO 22301 and furthermore takes care of the implementation and commissioning as well as the maintenance and control of your infrastructure.

René Wagenhäuser
René Wagenhäuser
Teamlead IT-Services

The authorized signatory and state-certified electrical engineer specializing in data processing technology has been responsible for IT infrastructure, logistics IT and digitization for over 15 years. It is particularly important to him that systems integrate flexibly and agilely into the customer's IT landscape.

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