Using Data and Analytics for Business Continuity Planning

April 2, 2020

The global outbreak of COVID-19 is a crisis that could impact business models and disrupt the business continuity of companies around the globe. Data and analytics leaders can contribute by using the tools at their disposal to build resilience against external events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steps data and analytics leaders can take to mitigate the business impact of COVID-19:

  1. Integrate current organizational data with external resources such as WHO and CDC for a comprehensive view of COVID-19
  2. Promote the effective use of data to guide business practices and improve the well-being of your organization and employees
  3. Identify business scenarios and the data needed to monitor and manage the impact on areas of business (e.g. supply chain, production, finance, HR, IT)
  4. Consider how data and analytics platforms can facilitate staff communications for a more informed workforce
  5. Develop core KPIs and design organizational impact dashboards to enable business impact measuring and tracking

What is Business Continuity Planning?

Business continuity planning (BCP) is not just about ensuring that your data backups are in place though that is part of the process. It involves maintaining or quickly resuming operations in every phase of the business. Ideally, a business should be able to avoid downtime while dealing with the disaster.

Disasters can be of different types. Common challenges include a fire at the place of business such as a warehouse, a cyberattack that shuts down information systems, server failure for an eCommerce business, and natural disasters such as a hurricane or flooding. Business continuity planning ensures that business operations keep running after a disaster occurs, whereas disaster recovery planning is focused on restoring normal business operations in the event of a disaster.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Earlier, backup and disaster recovery operations were handled entirely on-premise. Data backups to the cloud not only prevent data loss and ensure that critical information remains secure, but also help your organization increase productivity and reduce costs.

  1. Can your DBAs easily restore all of your data from a backup copy?
  2. Is your critical business data safe in the event of a wholesale outage or catastrophe?

According to an Oracle survey of database administrators, 39 percent of DBAs are managing 50 or more databases, and 95 percent of those IT professionals manually create and update these databases. A large percentage of DBAs have experienced some type of unplanned downtime in their careers, and most of them struggle to coordinate multiple management and backup tools. Protecting databases is a mission-critical responsibility and therefore DBAs are looking to analytics, machine learning, and AI solutions for assistance.

Benefits of Effective Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

  1. Minimizing the impact upon staff
  2. Minimizing the impact on the organizational supply chain
  3. Minimizing the impact upon service delivery
  4. Minimizing the impact upon the IT infrastructure
  5. Protecting the corporate reputation
  6. Minimizing the financial impact
  7. Enabling the organization to return to normalcy sooner

Why You Need Big Data and Analytics for Business Continuity

Large data sets give business leaders a more complete picture of their entire operation. That includes how employees are working in the business, how customers are engaging with its products and services, and how the company’s systems are operating on a regular basis. This type of information is especially useful for effective business continuity planning (BCP).
Business continuity analytics can help predict what might happen during a business interruption by analyzing different types of incidents. They can identify an organization’s vulnerable areas and propose solutions to:

  1. Predict future critical incidents
  2. Analyze risks and develop the best methods for mitigating them
  3. Know the effectiveness of current recovery processes
  4. Develop processes to restore systems faster
  5. Identify the best time and methods for systems backup

Business continuity analytics can also help answer questions on business continuity such as – How to enable remote access to important data in the event of an incident? How to ensure that the right communication channels are in place? All these questions need to be addressed in your business continuity plan (BCP).

Big Data Best Practices for Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

Train Your Team

After identifying the risks, data can also identify the key personnel that need to be involved and at which stage. Business continuity planning (BCP) ensures that all the critical employees understand their roles and data management responsibilities in the event of a disaster.

Ensure Good Data Quality

Unforeseen events that disrupt your business can uncover issues that you didn’t know existed, without access to the right data. It is therefore important to have accurate information about where data is located, who has access to it, how it can be accessed, and how it is used. All this information can be used to build more robust business continuity plans. While good data management alone can’t mitigate the risks of an ineffective business continuity plan (BCP), it can help you identify these risks and develop a better plan.

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