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Going for gold in business continuity

Business of IT: London 2012 has the potential to bring serious disruption to some companies, making now a good a time to update business continuity plans.

The clock to London 2012 is counting down. Heathrow airport has built a new, temporary terminal. Transport for London is painting Olympic express lanes on the streets, and roadworks have been suspended. Even postal delivery times will be changed during the Games.

We have done a lot of work with the public sector and local government bodies that will be directly or indirectly affected by the Games.

The Olympics will be a sporting spectacle, but there is also no doubt that it could bring no small measure of disruption to businesses in and around the capital.

Already the Government has advised companies to ask non-essential staff to work from home, and others to stagger their journeys.

And, even if everything at the Games goes according to plan, congestion and other issues such as the anticipated spike in internet usage could cause problems for firms' day to day operations.

The Civil Service has already tested extensive home-working arrangements, and companies such as mobile operator O2 have run comprehensive testing days. But not all enterprises are so well prepared.

Proper planning

Business continuity planning is one of those tasks that can be frequently overlooked. Even companies that have a detailed plan in place often fail to keep it up to date or test it.

The Government has issued a comprehensive guide to contingency planning for the Olympics. But the general principles of business continuity planning and disaster recovery still apply.

The international Business Continuity Institute is a valuable resource for IT professionals that want to boost the resilience of their organisations.

However, although there are plenty of technical solutions on the market from virtualisation to backup software technology is, in many ways, less important than the plan itself, and the people who carry it out. In some cases, these plans mean keeping technology and people apart.

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