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Julia Halsne, Business Continuity Manager, EBMUD
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Business Continuity Practices in the age of Information
By Mark Eggleston, CISSP, GSEC, CHPS, Vice President, Chief Information Security and Privacy Officer, Health Partners Plans
When we implement new technology or applications, we first explore SaaS (Software as a Service) options or systems we can install into an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service.) Doing so helps us ensure high availability while minimizing investments we would make if the application was hosted locally. This shift to cloud has downstream implications important to business continuity professionals. Instead of building detailed plans for in-house recovery efforts, we now focus on due diligence with the cloud vendor.
The vast array of remote working solutions has also impacted continuity planning. Ensuring workforce enablement is paramount for continuity professionals. We did intense rapid planning several years ago, as our business was impacted by the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia (“Popenado” in our vernacular).We had to plan for public transportation issues and street closures, so we ran impact assessments to ensure we had appropriate bandwidth for several hundred concurrent connections. We also had to account for VPN (Virtual Private Network) licenses for each user, supporting critical and necessary work functions. Nowadays, most employers offer some level of work-from-home enablement beyond VPN, including remote productivity tools. These tools can double as continuity communication tools. In fact, technology advancements in virtualization have shifted continuity professionals’ planning efforts for workspace recovery. Gartner predicts that by 2019, 50% of new Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) users will be deployed on DaaS (Desktop as a Service) platforms. DaaS allows a third party to host desktop applications, operating system and system upkeep, all with predetermined SLAs. This can help defray or even replace workspace recovery space, so the time and costs of conducting workspace recovery capacity planning are, in many cases, becoming obsolete.
The above tactics will help business continuity professionals work in the evolving digital world, bringing both resiliency and efficiency to their planning efforts.