Business continuity tends to be a topic overlooked by business leaders. Many see it as a responsibility of their IT teams. This could not be further from the truth. When IT managers design and operate their IT systems they need to have input from business managers, aka customers, on required protection level when a disaster strikes. However, it is responsibility of business teams to prepare and test plans a potential event that can severely affect company’s ability to operate.

The Cloud can play two very different parts in this planning. First, it is almost guarantee that the company is using Cloud services, with or without IT department knowledge. Let’s put aside this grey Cloud usage; certainly a topic for another day. What business executives need to understand is that any IT system will break; including the Cloud. Overall, last year there were many outages of Cloud providers; some planned, others not. I see the biggest problem for businesses when outages of Software as a Services occur. This is due to mainly bespoke nature of these services. For example, if SalesForce goes down for 1 day, what a business would to do replace it? Especially, when all the data is in SaleForce? Arguably, this is no different from a situation if SalesForce-like software was operated inside the company’s premises or a data centre and fully under the control of their IT team. The bottom line is, the planning needs to include all business critical applications that support business processes. These applications include: CRM, email, invoicing and Sales systems, Logistics and trade system.

Second part the Cloud can play in business continuity is when a disaster occurs that hinders internal IT systems. It can be relatively easy to setup Cloud infrastructure to support some business functions. However, in order to get the best results such a scenario needs to be planned and tested ahead. Unfortunately, enabling bespoke applications in the Cloud is somewhat most difficult or even cost prohibitive.

The main point for business leaders is to be prepared and recovery scenarios tested, with or without Cloud.