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Organisations working on their continuity provisions for the first time ...

Organisations working on their continuity provisions for the first time or reviewing their existing coverage often tend to assume it's something they need to do themselves in-house. Yet actually, the consulting and provision of continuity, data protection and recovery services is well suited to third-party outsourced provision for a number of good reasons.

Firstly, it's an expertise that you're unlikely to have in-house and you won't get much benefit from developing. Business continuity is a specialist niche discipline, and one that is only required periodically by a business. IT services professionals may develop this knowledge as an extra string to their bow, but if you're looking at it for the first time, it makes more sense to tap into a pool of resources from a third party.

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Secondly, IT resource requirements are highly unpredictable. You don't really want to have a dedicated pool of IT resources just sitting there waiting for an adverse event to occur so you can invoke it. But equally you need to know that when you do need to invoke it, the resource is ready and not being used elsewhere. Cloud provision is a perfect fit for this kind of resource.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to know that the provision of services is fit for purpose. As we argued in a previous blog, while you can test individual parts of your continuity plan, the whole end-to-end plan only really gets a run out when the service is invoked for the first time (ideally as part of a test). And you don't want to discover at that point that there's some crucial point you've forgotten about. So having an experienced provider who's actually done this hundreds of times before for other customers is a bonus.

Finally, from a cost and compliance perspective, outsourced providers may be able to offer higher levels of service than you could provide in-house. Because they are providing skills and a pool of resources for many customers, the economies of scale that they enjoy far outweigh anything that you could offer in-house. And compliance with RPO and RTO expectations are also likely to be higher that you could provide yourself.

Why don't organisations consider outsourced services first? It may be a lack of awareness, but also a feeling that it's the organisations own responsibility. But whatever the reason, it's an avenue worth investigating.

5 thoughts on "Out at play"

  1. Outsourced services indeed is the call and many Company'e have engaged such service providers
  2. With one major exception, I agree with everything in said.

    That exception is the use of "business continuity". I won't rehash our industry's glossary failings (there's plenty of that to be had on LinkedIn), but whenever the term 'business continuity' is used (as it is in this blog) to refer specifically to the narrow area of Information Technology continuity, the over-riding subject (outsourcing "business continuity" is a good idea) can cause confusion to those on the Business Operations side of 'business continuity'.

    The author has a right to use any term her or she chooses, but would better serve the potential audience if a disclaimer we're part of the context since a highly justifiable counter argument can be made for NOT outsourcing business operational (business process) 'business continuity'.

  3. This is a general problem with outsourcing terminology. There are so many specific functions that can be outsourced it is hard to avoid confusion. It does make sense that specialist activities should be left to the experts though.
  4. I agree, play it safe, leave the technical specialities to the experts, what's the problem with out-sourcing?
  5. Outsourcing is all well and good, but what happens when something serioulsy goes wrong particularly if you are a multi national company? The damage could be huge both internally and with your customers. I think you need a balance, in fact a back up plan if your outsourced providers prove to be inefficient or fail to take responsibility. It works for smaller organisazations, but for multi nationals it' is risky.

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Posted in IT services Post Date 12/30/2014


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