Saturday 27 February 2021

Ahmad Al Bikawi

Continuity, recovery planning key to business survival

DUBAI, December 28, 2020

By Ahmad Al Bikawi

A business continuity plan is quite possibly the most important consideration for any company – something that has been highlighted during the global pandemic.

Conditions throughout the majority of 2020 have caused companies to rapidly and radically change their way of working, and for many, the restrictions caused by Covid-19 have resulted in the need to close shop after periods of massive working disruptions.

Going forward, having a contingency plan in place that can ensure continuity in difficult scenarios will help to build a solid foundation for the future of any company, with business resilience and employee safety as the two driving factors.

No one could have predicted the events of 2020. However, those companies which had business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) plans, as well as the ability to adapt quickly, have made the best out of a tough year. Response plans that address who can work remotely, how they can achieve it, and that provide solutions to any other potential issues that enable work to continue while employees stay safe, are now essential. But what goes into such a plan, and how are they ultimately designed?

At its core, business continuity planning is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company. In addition to prevention, the goal is to enable ongoing operations before and during the execution of disaster recovery. During the Covid-19 pandemic, BC and DR plans have made the difference for many businesses throughout the Middle East.

Generally speaking, however, activating remote working policies is common in almost any disaster scenario that may prevent employees from reaching their place of work. As most of that work will be implemented remotely and over the internet, there is a larger threat surface, so BC and DR plans must include cyber security controls by design.

Technology is thus a key component in any BC or DR plan, as it plays a primary role in accessibility and ensuring operations continue as smoothly as possible. This makes IT expertise a vital element in any plan. Someone well-versed in the latest technology solutions can help to build a robust network that can accommodate BC and DR plan outcomes. Employees, too, must be trained in the systems that will keep them connected in the instance of an emergency situation, so that they can continue working as normal.

It may be impossible to anticipate every single incident that could impact one’s business. However, there are clear risks to companies and employees if cyber security and information security standards are not considered. With strong BC and DR plans in place, as well as the backing of a solid technology network, companies in the Gulf can be better prepared to weather any storm that arises; safe in the knowledge that their employees are being taken care of as well as the bottom line.

About the author: Ahmad Al Bikawi is Chief Security Officer – North Gulf, Huawei Middle East


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