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Value to the business

ITSCM provides an invaluable role in supporting the Business Continuity Planning process. In many organizations, ITSCM is used to raise awareness of continuity and recovery requirements and is often used to justify and implement a Business Continuity Planning process and Business Continuity Plans. The ITSCM should be driven by business risk as identified by Business Continuity Planning, and ensures that the recovery arrangements for IT services are aligned to identified business impacts, risks and needs.

4.5.4 Policies/principles/basic concepts

A lifecycle approach should be adopted to the setting up and operation of an ITSCM process. Figure 4.21 shows the lifecycle of ITSCM, from initiation through to continual assurance that the protection provided by the plan is current and reflects all changes to services and service levels. ITSCM is a cyclic process through the lifecycle to ensure that once service continuity and recovery plans have been developed they are kept aligned with Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) and business priorities. Figure 4.21 also shows the role played within the ITSCM process of BCM.

Figure 4.21 Lifecycle of Service Continuity Management

Initiation and requirements stages are principally BCM activities. ITSCM should only be involved in these stages to support the BCM activities and to understand the relationship between the business processes and the impacts caused on them by loss of IT service. As a result of these initial BIA and Risk Analysis activities, BCM should produce a Business Continuity Strategy, and the first real ITSCM task is to produce an ITSCM strategy that underpins the BCM strategy and its needs.

The Business Continuity Strategy should principally focus on business processes and associated issues (e.g. business process continuity, staff continuity, buildings continuity). Once the Business Continuity Strategy has been produced, and the role that IT services has to provide within the strategy has been determined, an ITSCM strategy can be produced that supports and enables the Business Continuity Strategy. This ensures that cost-effective decisions can be made, considering all the ‘resources’ to deliver a business process. Failure to do this tends to encourage ITSCM options that are faster, more elaborate and expensive than are actually needed.

The activities to be considered during initiation depend on the extent to which continuity facilities have been applied within the organization. Some parts of the business may have established individual Business Continuity Plans based around manual work-arounds, and IT may have developed continuity plans for systems perceived to be critical. This is good input to the process. However, effective ITSCM depends on supporting critical business functions. The only way of implementing effective ITSCM is through the identification of critical business processes and the analysis and coordination of the required technology and supporting IT services.

This situation may be even more complicated in outsourcing situations where an ITSCM process within an external service provider or outsourcer organization has to meet the needs not only of the customer BCM process and strategy, but also of the outsourcer’s own BCM process and strategy. These needs may be in conflict with one another, or may conflict with the BCM needs of one of the other outsourcing organization’s customers.

However, in many organizations BCM is absent or has very little focus, and often ITSCM is required to fulfil many of the requirements and activities of BCM. The rest of this section has assumed that ITSCM has had to perform many of the activities required by BCM. Where a BCM process is established with Business Continuity Strategies and Plans in place, these documents should provide the focus and drive for establishing ITSCM.

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