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IT Service Continuity Management



4.5.1 Purpose/goal/objective

‘The goal of ITSCM is to support the overall Business Continuity Management process by ensuring that the required IT technical and service facilities (including computer systems, networks, applications, data repositories, telecommunications, environment, technical support and Service Desk) can be resumed within required, and agreed, business timescales.’

As technology is a core component of most business processes, continued or high availability of IT is critical to the survival of the business as a whole. This is achieved by introducing risk reduction measures and recovery options. Like all elements of ITSM, successful implementation of ITSCM can only be achieved with senior management commitment and the support of all members of the organization. Ongoing maintenance of the recovery capability is essential if it is to remain effective. The purpose of ITSCM is to maintain the necessary ongoing recovery capability within the IT services and their supporting components.

The objectives of ITSCM are to:

  • Maintain a set of IT Service Continuity Plans and IT recovery plans that support the overall Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) of the organization
  • Complete regular Business Impact Analysis (BIA) exercises to ensure that all continuity plans are maintained in line with changing business impacts and requirements
  • Conduct regular Risk Analysis and Management exercises, particularly in conjunction with the business and the Availability Management and Security Management processes, that manage IT services within an agreed level of business risk
  • Provide advice and guidance to all other areas of the business and IT on all continuity- and recovery-related issues
  • Ensure that appropriate continuity and recovery mechanisms are put in place to meet or exceed the agreed business continuity targets
  • Assess the impact of all changes on the IT Service Continuity Plans and IT recovery plans
  • Ensure that proactive measures to improve the availability of services are implemented wherever it is cost-justifiable to do so
  • Negotiate and agree the necessary contracts with suppliers for the provision of the necessary recovery capability to support all continuity plans in conjunction with the Supplier Management process.

Scope

ITSCM focuses on those events that the business considers significant enough to be considered a disaster. Less significant events will be dealt with as part of the Incident Management process. What constitutes a disaster will vary from organization to organization. The impact of a loss of a business process, such as financial loss, damage to reputation or regulatory breach, is measured through a BIA exercise, which determines the minimum critical requirements. The specific IT technical and service requirements are supported by ITSCM. The scope of ITSCM within an organization is determined by the organizational structure, culture and strategic direction (both business and technology) in terms of the services provided and how these develop and change over time.



ITSCM primarily considers the IT assets and configurations that support the business processes. If (following a disaster) it is necessary to relocate to an alternative working location, provision will also be required for items such as office and personnel accommodation, copies of critical paper records, courier services and telephone facilities to communicate with customers and third parties.

The scope will need to take into account the number and location of the organization’s offices and the services performed in each.

ITSCM does not usually directly cover longer-term risks such as those from changes in business direction, diversification, restructuring, major competitor failure, and so on. While these risks can have a significant impact on IT service elements and their continuity mechanisms, there is usually time to identify and evaluate the risk and include risk mitigation through changes or shifts in business and IT strategies, thereby becoming part of the overall business and IT Change Management programme.

Similarly, ITSCM does not usually cover minor technical faults (for example, non critical disk failure), unless there is a possibility that the impact could have a major impact on the business. These risks would be expected to be covered mainly through the Service Desk and the Incident Management process, or resolved through the planning associated with the processes of Availability Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Configuration Management and ‘business as usual’ operational management.

The ITSCM process includes:





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