Business Continuity Management (BCM) in The Cloud: Benefits and Planning

When planning for business continuity, the benefits of cloud-based applications and processes should certainly be considered. There are several advantages to this. One is the ability of cloud technology to provide on-demand scalability. This is especially important for organisations which are trying to navigate in an environment which is beset by disruption and uncertainty. They find it difficult to anticipate what they need, but when an incident occurs, they will require quick solutions, depending on the extent of the impact. “Cloud reach” – the cloud-based extent of what is available for use – is a critical consideration.

It makes sense particularly from the perspective of the current volatility, complexity and ambiguity of the business environment.Many firms were forced, in the onslaught of the pandemic, to function remotely. Business had to continue regardless, and be managed by whatever means possible or available. They found that cloud-based apps were supportive of their needs. Looking to the cloud for computing needs has thus continued as one of the trends in the new normal. Cloud video conferencing capabilities, for instance, have become the default method for many firms.

These have become a practical and reliable method of keeping in touch with a dispersed workforce quickly and simultaneously. Many employees, too, have taken to this with alacrity and the facility looks set to gain traction even beyond the recovery process. Cloud service providers have also made business continuity management services available publicly, without organisations having to set up their own centres for this purpose; downtime and costs are thus reduced. But with all this has come increased risk which may impact on business growth in the long term.

At a time when needs have never been so great, yet so fraught with uncertainty and threats, what should businesses be doing to secure their systems if they want to use cloud-based applications? Firstly, they should check to see if the cloud provider has the necessary firewalls, encryption facilities and monitoring tools to ensure data is protected. The reliability of the cloud provider, where infrastructure robustness and security levels are concerned, cannot be overemphasised. Within the organisation, employees’ digital skills should be at a level which can expedite the use of the apps provided; reskilling and upskilling may be necessary.

The firm should have a BCM plan to begin with, which can be operationalised using cloud-based apps and services as supporting tools. The cloud is really the firm’s fallback position in the event that the business experiences disruption that prevents it from continuing in the usual manner. While the depth, breadth, availability and outreach of cloud services may prove invaluable, there are drawbacks to consider as well. These will depend on the kind of services an organisation requires, and on the abilities of the cloud service provider. Confidentiality, access, loss of control over data and ownership may spark added concern among cloud users.

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