developments can we expect to see in the coming year? David Honour
gives his top ten predictions.
Over the past few years there have been clearly definable events
which have stood out as being the major business continuity story
for that year:
2000’s happened at the start of the year with the Millennium
Bug and the huge sigh of relief that was breathed when this failed
to result in major problems. This was partly due to the high quality
of the business continuity planning that took place to mitigate
the problem and partly due to the whole issue being over-hyped and
exaggerated. This second factor led to a depression in the business
continuity market over the coming year as business continuity managers
attempted to rebuild confidence in boards that became sceptical
about the genuine importance of business continuity.
2001’s defining moment was, of course, September 11th. This
was a defining moment not just for the business continuity profession,
but for the world as a whole. The sentiment that the world had changed
in a day, which was postulated at the time, has proved to be true.
2002 continued to be greatly affected by the fall-out from September
11th but, in terms of the business continuity market, much of the
year was dominated by acquisitions. During the first few months
of the year outsiders watched with interest as SunGard worked to
digest Comdisco, which it has won a hard-fought battle with HP for.
The process started on the 14th January 2002 when SunGard announced
that it had combined Comdisco’s business divisions with its
own Business Continuity and Internet Services group to form a new
group named SunGard Availability Services (SAS).
The Comdisco acquisition was quickly followed by the purchase of
UK-based Guardian iT by SAS, a deal which was completed on 11th
In 2003 the world’s attention was grabbed by two major issues.
The first of these was the advent of SARS disease, which changed
many business continuity professional’s thinking on the importance
of protecting human resources, not just technology resources. The
second was the various wide-area power outages which severely impacted
businesses situated in the East Coast of the United States; much
of Italy; South East England; and Sweden and Denmark. For many businesses
these outages highlighted the need for business continuity in a
way which no other event had managed to.
So to 2004; a year which has seen more than its fair share of natural
disasters. Severe storms and floods have been widespread problems,
but none more so than the stream of hurricanes which lined up to
track through the Caribbean to the South East United States. Disaster
recovery companies showed their worth and business continuity planning
was displayed in its best light.
What about the coming year? What factors will affect the business
continuity world during 2005? Here are my top ten areas to watch:
1) More standards development is on the cards – the US, Australia
and Singapore all have versions of business continuity standards.
2005 should see new countries added to this list; the most likely
being the UK, whose standards body, the BSI, is about to commence
work on a business continuity standard.
2) Terrorism will of course be a recurring theme, with UK elections
raising the alert status within that country. Al Qaeda can be expected
to continue its long term campaign to erode the United States’
economy and will chip away at soft and economic targets.
3) Civil Contingencies Act – this recently passed act is the
first time that business continuity has been made a legislative
requirement in the UK. The first half of the year will pass fairly
quietly as the Cabinet Office refines its advice to local authorities
and other stakeholders in the Act. Presuming that the UK election
is held in May 2005 and that the Bill is retained by the new Government,
local authorities will be taking business continuity planning very
seriously in the second half of the year, spending time and resources
on developing their own BC plans and working on awareness raising
schemes to reach out to local businesses.
4) Business continuity is a relatively young discipline and, as
such, its importance has yet to be fully recognised by most governments.
2005 could be the year when several governments make the move to
include a ‘Business Continuity Czar’ in their ministerial
teams. There is a groundswell of opinion in both the UK and the
US for this measure which may see fruition during the coming year.
5) On the technology front, the inexorable march towards high and
continuous availability will continue, with traditional disaster
recovery becoming more confined to the small and medium sized business
6) In terms of business continuity suppliers, 2005 will be an important
year for SunGard Availability Services, with the spin-off of this
company from its sister companies. This should happen in the first
quarter of 2005, and could be the catalyst for significant growth
at SAS. The company, which has always been acquisitional in nature,
may turn its eyes towards new acquisitions in the high availability
market and in world regions where it is currently under-represented.
IBM and HP will both emerge from a period of post-acquisition consolidation
during 2005 and some aggressive competition between these big three
players may develop.
7) There is the potential for an even worse year for natural disasters
during 2005. As well as the increasingly accepted impact of climate
change, climatologists are seeing signs that El Niño conditions
may be developing. This often results in more frequent and stronger
8) 2005 will be an important year for the Business Continuity Institute.
2004 saw a lot of disruption with the resignation early in the year
of John Sharp, the BCI’s chief executive officer. An internal
investigation followed complaints made by Mr Sharp concerning various
BCI board members. BCI needs to move forward in 2005 and to be able
to focus more of its resources on membership growth and services.
In the UK, the resurgence of Survive and a new focus on personal
memberships by the Continuity Forum will provide additional competition
in the business continuity membership services market.
9) Corporate governance is an ever increasing driver for business
continuity, especially within larger companies and this will continue
in 2005. The Sarbanes Oxley deadline for overseas companies will
be a particular focal point.
10) Finally, Basel II. 2005 will be the year when banks really have
to start ramping up their Basel II compliance activities. There
may be particular attention given to the operational risk aspects
of Basel II, with these being less easy to define and measure than
other aspects. The realisation that business continuity is an important
part of operational risk management may dawn on many people in the
financial sector who had not previously ‘seen the light’.
Make a comment or add more things to this list –
David Honour is editor of Continuity Central
With more potential subscribers and many renewals of legacy
contracts due in 2005 I feel that risk mitigation will play
a bigger role in business continuity. Asking questions of
number of recovery facility subscribers, total number of contracted
users or ‘seats’ into a facility, exclusion zones
and fall-back solutions will need to be scrutinised in order
to get the right balance of service, cost and risk.
Common sense, underpinned by the European Working Time Directive,
will see organisations be more considerate about the needs
and logistics of their employees and how practical proposed
solutions are over the long-term rather than a few days. With
the risk of disaster statistically high, given all the possibilities
detailed in the above article, then the possibility of having
to use your proposed/contracted cover and designated centre
becomes more apparent. Without people – there is no
I believe that communications resilience will become a significant
area where improvement will be sought this year. If continuity
started with IT recovery, evolved into high availability and
then workarea then communications is the next aspect to be
considered both voice and data and particularly in the SME
Osborne, operations director, ICM
4th January 2005 •Region: World •Type:
Article •Topic: BC
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