Thursday, May 8, 2014

Article: The Top Five Ways To Fail Business Continuity

by Ryan Hutton and Jacque Rupert

Experienced business continuity professionals often advocate a series of accepted practices to increase the effectiveness and quality of a business continuity program. Common activities include conducting a business impact analysis (BIA), documenting plans, exercising response and recovery capabilities, and training key personnel. However, despite the close attention paid to the details of methodologies and best practices, business continuity professionals often find their programs are not as successful as they should be.

There are many factors that can contribute to a “less-than-perfect” business continuity program – or a program that truly fails to meet management expectations. Five of the most common reasons why business continuity planning initiatives fail, their consequences and what can be done to avoid them.

1. Failing to Understand the Organization
Too often, business continuity professionals attempt to enhance their program by hastily layering in tools and software applications. However, this often becomes a waste of resources because a key underlying issue is a failure to understand the organization and its key products and services.

2. Executing Methodology Instead of Managing a Program
There are a wide variety of business continuity methodologies and standards, all of which are designed to improve how organizations create and continually develop and improve their business continuity programs and practices. Although building a program based on best practices is a great starting point, without an overall strategic goal linking the activities together, it can quickly become a “check-the-box” exercise that does not provide the intended value – or result in an appropriate level of readiness.

3. Unnecessarily Using Business Continuity Jargon
As expected, business continuity jargon can be confusing to non-business continuity professionals. Jargon includes acronyms such as EOC, RTO, RPO, BIA and COOP, or common terms with different meanings such as emergency response or disaster recovery. Using these types of terms can create frustration and unnecessary barriers when trying to communicate with business and technology stakeholders.

4. Unrealistic Recovery Objectives
Many organizations request that each business unit or business process define their own recovery objectives during the analysis phase of a business continuity planning effort. However, managers often struggle to define the appropriate recovery time frame.

5. Failing to Create a Culture of Business Continuity
A business continuity program can have the best people, systems, analytic conclusions, strategies and plans, but that same program will fail if it does not have the support of the business or if the business fails to think about risk mitigation and recoverability when making day-to-day decisions.

About the Author
Ryan Hutton and Jacque Rupert are consultants with Avalution Consulting. They focus on business continuity, including program definition, risk assessment, BIAs, strategy, plan development, testing and training. They have extensive experience working with government, utilities, manufacturing and distribution. They are frequent authors, and can be reached at and, 

For more information about Business Continuity, IT Disaster Recovery and Audit Training and Certification, visit or contact or call 1-800-869-8460.

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