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Business Continuity Plan

BusinessContinuity Plan

A business continuity plan describes the organization’spreparedness to protect its employees and continue with criticalbusiness operations in the occurrence of the unexpected. Unexpectedoccurrences include terror attacks, natural disasters and theftamongst others. In the event of unexpected occurrences, normalsystems fail subsequently leading to the failure of normaloperations. A business continuity plan provides the contingency planswhen the normal system fails. Businesses that understand theimportance of continuity plan for the impact of unexpectedoccurrences, assess data and technological needs if the normal systemfail, communicate and keep reminding the employees of the plans andshare the plans with external organization and the community at large(Sahebjamnia et al., 2015). The hurricane Katrina and the 9/11terrorist attacks are some of the most catastrophic and unexpectedoccurrences that the US has experienced. In spite of theseexperiences, some organizations were able to successfully continueconducting their critical business operations during and after theseoccurrences. This was made possible by the fact that they hadaccurate business continuity plans. One such organization is theAT&ampT.

Analysis

One of the main factors that ensured that the AT&ampT succeededduring the two occurrences is its preparedness in planning. Theorganization’s business continuity plans ensured that it wassustainable for a significant period during the occurrences. Going bythe fact that the AT&ampT is a multinational telecommunicationsconglomerate, it is considerably important that it ensures that itsbusiness operations are sustainable throughout the course of theinterruption. It is during this period that the people need tocommunicate. The AT&ampT had made several business continuity plansto ensure that all systems operate normally as discussed in thissection.

One of the main plans included ensuring that most of theorganization’s stakeholders had remote access services. Theseservices played a major role in ensuring that customer service hadbeen maintained, disruptions had been minimized and that theorganization’s opportunities had been protected. The organizationpossesses laptops that allowed its employees to connect even whenpower and Wi-Fi hotspot were not available. The organization’swireless data plan made this possible (Levy &amp Prizzia, 2016).During these occurrences, power disruptions were frequent. Thelaptops provided a temporarily sustainable solution. Like many otherorganizations, the AT&ampT could not have functioned without emails.The organization had developed a contact plan to reach employees evenin their homes before the occurrences. The wireless emails andwireless wide area networks (WWAN), however, made it possible for theorganization to quickly communicate the contingency plans to theemployees (“ Checklist”, 2016).

In spite of the disastrous occurrences, the AT&ampT hadcommunication plans that were so effective that the employees couldstill conference and collaborate. The organization had all forms ofconferencing including audio, video, and web. This made the decisionmaking process quick. Besides, consultancy could be made at thecomfort of the employee’s homes without having to travel to theoffices. It is important to note that in the occurrence of terrorattacks such as the 9/11, employees dread going to their places ofwork. AT&ampT’s business continuity plans were considerably clearon how employees could work from the comfort of their homes and thisis what they did granting it considerably high ability to avoidduring and after the crisis (“Business Continuity PreparednessHandbook”, 2016).

Beyond providing an effective disaster plan for its employees, AT&ampTalso had a direct business portfolio where the organization’scustomers could serve themselves. During times of unexpectedoccurrences, so many things are likely to disrupt the organization’sability to directly serve its employees. AT&ampT has put in placeplans that enable employee self-services in such occurrences. Inother words, the AT&ampT has a technological system that enables andfacilitates virtual access anytime, anywhere (“AT&ampT BusinessContinuity Preparedness”, 2016). This is considerably importantespecially in an organization such as the AT&ampT that is in thetelecommunications industry. Its essentiality is based on the factthat any efforts to keep the servers, applications and databasesrunning would be ineffective if those who need the most (theemployees) cannot access them. Enabling virtue access is, therefore,a key element in as far as business continuity planning is concerned(Kulkarani et al., 2015). In case the employees or customersare in considerably remote regions, the organization connects themusing a sophisticated network-based IP VPN for remote access. Thisensures that all relevant stakeholders are covered during disasters.

Furthermore, the AT&ampT has a virtual IT infrastructure. This is animportant element in the organization’s business continuity plans.During the 9/11 terrorist attack, the organization could not havebeen able to temporarily relocate its computing infrastructure fromthe highly impacted geographical areas were it not for its virtualnature. The organization has a synaptic hosting services thatprovides its customers with the ability to load and run theirapplications. As such, the 9/11 terror attack affected thefunctioning of the organization’s systems to considerably lowextents. Besides, the organization provides its customers with asynaptic storage service that enables them with an opportunity fordata backup, restoration, and disaster recovery. The virtual natureof this service comes in the sense that it is “cloud based” andusers can access it from anywhere, anytime. This element of thecompany’s business continuity plan helped it to succeed during thehurricane Katrina and 9/11 terrorist attack.

Finally, the consistency in the organization’s network made itpossible for its clients to communicate during the two occurrencesirrespective of their location. This was happening when thesubscribers of competing networks could not communicate or evenconnect. This affirms the resilience of the network beyond disasters.This benefited the firm after the occurrences to a considerableextent since more subscribers were attracted to it (Kahan, 2015). Thenetwork’s resilience was, again, enabled by the organization’scomprehensive business continuity plans. In its plans, theorganization had a telecommunication service priority point ofcontact that ensures that it has liaised with the thresholdregulatory organizations. Government agencies are, therefore, lesslikely to interfere with the organization’s operations due tonon-compliance. During disasters, the organization, via videoteleconferencing, liaises with these agencies to ensure that all therequirements have been complied with.

Conclusion

To wrap things up, businesses require comprehensive continuity plansfor them to succeed in times of disasters (Kahan, 2015). The AT&ampThas business continuity plans that has seen it succeeding in twounexpected occurrences the hurricane Katrina and the 9/11. Among themain elements of the organization’s business continuity planshelped it to succeed include provision of remote access services tothe main stakeholders such as employees and customers, enabling videoconferencing and collaboration, virtue access, virtual ITinfrastructure, and network resilience (“Industry Brief”, 2016).The organization’s ability to assess and plan for data andtechnology in advance also places it in a good position to ensurebusiness continuity. Its ability to use technology for effectivecommunication with the employees is a major strength in its businesscontinuity plans.

References

AT&ampT Business Continuity Preparedness. (2016). AT&ampT.Retrieved 19 November 2016, fromhttp://www.corp.att.com/healthcare/docs/business_continuity.pdf

ning Checklist. (2016). AT&ampT.Retrieved 19 November 2016, fromhttps://www.att.com/Common/merger/files/pdf/business_continuity_07/BC_Planning_Checklist.pdf

Business Continuity Preparedness Handbook. (2016). AT&ampT.Retrieved 19 November 2016, fromhttps://www.att.com/Common/about_us/pdf/business_continuity_handbook.pdf

Industry Brief. (2016). AT&ampT. Retrieved 19 November2016, fromhttps://www.business.att.com/content/article/Key_to_Effective_BC_Plan.pdf

Kahan, J. H. (2015). Hedging against terrorism: Are US businessesprepared?. Journal of business continuity &amp emergencyplanning, 9(1), 70-83.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26420397

Kulkarni, S., Hidding, G. J., &amp Cicekoglu, S. (2015). A Frameworkfor Post-crisis s. In System Sciences(HICSS), 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on (pp.143-152). IEEE.https://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings/hicss/2015/7367/00/7367a143.pdf

Levy, J., Yu, P., &amp Prizzia, R. (2016). Economic Disruptions,ning and Disaster Forensic Analysis: TheHawaii Business Recovery Center (HIBRC) Project. In DisasterForensics (pp. 315-334). Springer International Publishing.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307623846_Economic_Disruptions_Business_Continuity_Planning_and_Disaster_Forensic_Analysis_The_Hawaii_Business_Recovery_Center_HIBRC_Project

Sahebjamnia, N., Torabi, S. A., &amp Mansouri, S. A. (2015).Integrated business continuity and disaster recovery planning:Towards organizational resilience. European Journal of OperationalResearch, 242(1), 261-273.http://fulltext.study/preview/pdf/476597.pdf