Since September 11, 2001, business continuity planning has assumed a new importance for American companies. Unfortunately since that time, American companies have been mired in an economic slump and many of them have cut back on IT activities of all sorts -- including implementing business-continuity plans, with concomitant backup plans for all sorts of corporate data.

One of the keys to doing more with less is to prioritize. According to Donna Scott of the

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Gartner Group there are several things enterprises should focus on when the money for business continuity is limited. Scott presented these ideas at the Gartner Symposium ITXpo 2002 in Orlando, Florida in October.

The first thing, Scott says, is to have a crisis-management plan. The goal of the plan is to ensure employee safety, maintain continuity of decision-making and the view from the outside world. This plan should include an employee call tree and diagrams of facilities, as well as responsibilities of key employees if the plan is activated.

Another important action is to make a list of assets and key supplier contacts. This information must be kept current. Secure, off-site tape backup storage is another must for business continuity. The enterprise should spend the available money for business continuity to favor the most critical business processes. That means performing the analysis to identify and prioritize the business processes. Including work-at-home programs in a business continuity plan can help keep the company running in the event that the enterprise's facilities aren't available. The final suggestion is contingency planning aimed at mitigating the risks of eternal events.

A copy of Scott's presentation is available at: symposium.gartner.com/docs/symposium/itxpo_orlando_2002/documentation/sym12_15a.pdf.


Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.


This was first published in December 2002

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