ContinuitySA https://www.continuitysa.com Enterprise Resilience in South Africa Mon, 18 Jun 2018 08:23:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 How to get the business continuity solution you need. First time round. https://www.continuitysa.com/how-to-get-the-business-continuity-solution-you-need-first-time-round/ Mon, 18 Jun 2018 08:23:05 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=9528 Providing the right information upfront will mean that organisations get the right proposal from their business continuity management services provider and will avoid unnecessary to-ing and fro-ing. By Braam Pretorius, General Manager, Sales and Client Services, ContinuitySA We all know that the right business continuity management solution is vital in building organisational resilience in today’s...

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Providing the right information upfront will mean that organisations get the right proposal from their business continuity management services provider and will avoid unnecessary to-ing and fro-ing.

By Braam Pretorius, General Manager, Sales and Client Services, ContinuitySA

We all know that the right business continuity management solution is vital in building organisational resilience in today’s tough climate. To do that, the initial proposal on which the contract is based is obviously critical.

However, it’s been my observation that this initial phase can be unnecessarily prolonged as the proposal goes back and forth between the two parties. From every point of view, this is not ideal—not least because it starts the relationship between the service provider and client off on a bad note.

The most common reason for this mismatch is that clients do not fully understand what they want, and thus use the proposal process to help them puzzle it out. This is understandable as, for them, this may be the first time that they are having to think about business continuity and resilience.

The key here is to communicate your needs properly from the get-go. Following something like the journalist’s “Why, who, what, where, when, how?” routine will do the job every time:

  • Why do you want a business continuity plan and supplier? Most organisations are “prompted” by an event: an incident that they couldn’t recover from, a red flag from their auditors or a third party, such as the JSE, or the client need to adhere to an ISO standard or a regulator requirement. Understanding this will tell the business continuity provider a great deal about the scope and intent of the proposal.
  • Who will oversee the business continuity management solution? If there is no proper executive sponsor, it is very likely that the request for a proposal will be inadequate. If the provider knows this, it can be addressed upfront to save time and effort.
  • What do you want? Here’s where it is important to be honest. All too often, organisations give very low specifications in order to save money or because they do not really understand the realities. For example, a client might ask for a proposal for a 10-seat call centre recovery facility hoping that the other 30 agents would be able to work from home. When a disaster strikes, and this proves to be impossible, they assume that the provider will be able to provide an extra number of seats if needed but often this is not possible.
  • When must the business continuity plan be ready and implemented? Frequently, there is a looming deadline such as a year-end or a listing; knowing this will mean the proposal can be crafted to meet the deadline, perhaps with a second phase scheduled for later.
  • How much is the budget? Again, it’s critical to be upfront about this. A Rolls-Royce solution costs more than a Mazda. If, however, you are buying a Mazda, let’s make sure it’s assembled to meet your needs exactly.

A final word of advice: before a proposal is requested, it is essential that both parties visit each other’s premises. This will help the service provider understand the scope of the client’s operations and give an insight into some of the risks, while seeing the service provider’s data centre, control room and work-area recovery facilities will show the client what could be achieved.

A good proposal is the foundation for a successful, longstanding partnership!

Contact us today to make an appointment around your Risk, Resilience and Recovery solutions.

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Business Continuity training set for July and October https://www.continuitysa.com/business-continuity-training-set-for-july-and-october/ Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:13:41 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=9374 ContinuitySA will be running this five-day training twice this year—make sure you have what it takes to build your organisation’s resilience. Organisations are increasingly concerned about building resilience into their DNA in order to ensure they prosper in a world that’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). In turn, this focus on resilience is driving...

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ContinuitySA will be running this five-day training twice this year—make sure you have what it takes to build your organisation’s resilience.

Organisations are increasingly concerned about building resilience into their DNA in order to ensure they prosper in a world that’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). In turn, this focus on resilience is driving demand for a new generation of business continuity practitioners who have the specialist skills needed to drive organisation-wide programmes to build organisational resilience.

The answer is the ContinuitySA Complete Continuity® Practitioner Programme, which is designed to equip individuals with all the skills they need to design and implement a business continuity programme that delivers organisational resilience,” says Cindy Bodenstein, Marketing Manager at ContinuitySA.

“We have already run two training sessions this year, to the great benefit of the participants,” she says. “If you’re serious about building a career in this growing area, then it’s advisable to register as soon as possible.”

The course runs over five days at a cost of R14 500 (excluding VAT). It offers attendees a good mix of theory and practice to ensure they can put what they have learned into practice. It will be offered on 23-27 July and 15-19 October 2018.

For more details and to register, visit http://www.continuitysa.com/training/register-here/.

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Make sure you are ready for a pandemic https://www.continuitysa.com/make-sure-you-are-ready-for-a-pandemic/ Fri, 18 May 2018 03:20:06 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=9150 In today’s crowded and mobile world, pandemics represent an ongoing threat to business continuity. Is your business continuity plan up to it? By Kabir Singh, Senior Manager: Advisory Services, ContinuitySA Pandemics are increasingly a fact of business life, and they pose a fundamentally different set of challenges to traditional threats to business continuity. Business continuity...

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In today’s crowded and mobile world, pandemics represent an ongoing threat to business continuity. Is your business continuity plan up to it?

By Kabir Singh, Senior Manager: Advisory Services, ContinuitySA

Pandemics are increasingly a fact of business life, and they pose a fundamentally different set of challenges to traditional threats to business continuity. Business continuity plans are typically designed to help companies respond to localised threats, like fires, bombs or IT outages. Once the event is over, recovery can begin even though the effects may linger.

By contrast, a pandemic unfolds over a large geographic area. Current models suggest that the next pandemic is likely to come in multiple   waves, with each wave sweeping across the globe in a matter of weeks and lasting a few months. So there needs to be a shift in the nature of continuity planning, away from strategies that protect infrastructure and toward those that protect employees and their ability to conduct business during a sustained crisis.

There are multiple facets to a plan to respond to a pandemic, among them human factors (such as employee education, hygiene, staff movement and evacuation, sick leave policies, and absenteeism) as well as operational issues (managing supply chain and distribution-network disruptions). As companies factor this kind of threat into their business continuity planning, they will find themselves having to frame a broader, more resilient approach to business resilience that can better equip employees, operations, and relationships, even in the face of traditional threats.

Especially important for resilience is the realisation that having plans in place is not enough; continuing sensing and response capabilities will be required.

The following basic elements should be addressed when preparing for a pandemic:

Identify core business activities. Having identified the organisation’s core operations, management must decide whether they have the necessary people and skills to continue running the business in the event of a pandemic, or whether different geographical locations can be centralised in the event that staff numbers vary at different sites.

Identify infrastructure and resources. What infrastructure and resources does the business need to continue to offer its core services at an acceptable level? Executives may also need to decide on the minimum level of service to ensure the company stays in business. Trading might not be economically feasible in the short term.

At the same time, though, a resilient company could increase market share and profitability at the expense of ill-prepared competitors.

Involve stakeholders when the business continuity plan is implemented. Stakeholders need to know why it is in operation, what it is and their role. They also need to be fully briefed on its effects; for example failing to notify suppliers that a company has pared back the business may result in overstocking products or increased liabilities under supply contracts.

Minimise workers’ illnesses. A business’s existing obligations under safety legislation continue when a pandemic strikes. Executives need to eliminate or minimise the risk of harm to employees, contractors and customers. Obligations can take the form of preventing employees interacting with the public or finding alternative ways to do business.

Implement pandemic plans. The World Health Organisation has declared that pandemic plans should already be in effect. The plan should factor in the potential for implementing the plan during a seasonal outbreak. Practically, this may be as simple as discouraging sick people from coming to work.

Revisit disclosures and obligations. Company officers need to ensure that the business has appropriate cash reserves, access to lines of credit, or the ability to quickly liquidate assets if trading conditions deteriorate rapidly. Insurance arrangements may also need to be reviewed, as it is likely that any pandemic would normally be deemed a force majeure under standard insurance contracts.

Develop mitigation strategies. Employers must examine how they can mitigate economic or business disruptions. A pandemic can cause absentee rates to rise dramatically; suppliers or distributors may also be affected.

Other considerations are whether the company has fall-back strategies when it is impracticable to continue with current work practices in the short term. For example, low staffing levels may force a company to eliminate all cash handling and provide only electronic banking.

Rebuilding and recovery. Business continuity plans should allow for rebuilding and recovering after a pandemic or epidemic has finished. Companies that can recover quickly may have a distinct competitive advantage.

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How to build a resilient company https://www.continuitysa.com/how-to-build-a-resilient-company/ Wed, 16 May 2018 03:20:09 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=9147 Building resilience is more important than long-term planning—we all know that plans inevitably are overtaken by change, now more than ever. By Kabir Singh, Senior Manager: Advisory Services, ContinuitySA Resilience is one of the new business buzzwords, but for very good reason. Planning, the old corporate mainstay, is becoming less reliable: things change more quickly...

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Building resilience is more important than long-term planning—we all know that plans inevitably are overtaken by change, now more than ever.

By Kabir Singh, Senior Manager: Advisory Services, ContinuitySA

Resilience is one of the new business buzzwords, but for very good reason. Planning, the old corporate mainstay, is becoming less reliable: things change more quickly than in the past, for one, and new risks seem to come out the left field.

In short, developing the ability to respond to, and recover from, any eventuality—resilience—makes excellent business sense.

However, resilience is hard to achieve. At the most profound level, resilient organisations are built on a culture of shared values, and display a stronger sense of team unity than usual. But there are some concrete actions that organisations can take to build resilience:

  • Work on more than one time cycle. A company without a Plan B puts itself at grave risk of failure. Instead, work on more than one time cycle at a time, thus creating value for both the very short term and long term.
  • Embrace cognitive diversity. The best companies display cognitive diversity; that is, people with the same values, but with different thinking styles. The ideal is for employees to aim toward the same goal but bring unique insights and ways of looking at problems.
  • Actively weave accountability into the fabric of the culture. Accountability, like other elements of corporate culture, is driven from the top.
  • Delegate leadership responsibility and authority down the chain of command, right to the frontline—and then provide the tools and resources for rapid execution.
  • Exist in a constant state of transformation and reset goals every few years. Resilient organisations accept that plans must change, and so they set a clear time-bound vision and communicate it regularly. Information is disseminated quickly, and they involve as many people as possible in planning.
  • Manage performance and risk across different horizons. Resilient organisations protect their base or core business and are quite cautious about disturbing the success formula and established processes.
  • Leverage a wide array of information to make decisions. Resilient organisations have several established processes for information-gathering, but they almost always supplement these by seeking out alternative sources.
  • Maintain a broad portfolio of strategic options. While all organisations have established core businesses, resilient organisations also seem to have a broad portfolio of future opportunities.
  • Establish effective governance structures and processes. Organisations that have good governance structures have three things in common. They pay particular attention to board selection, training and performance—with a focus on the board’s ability to engage and challenge management. They provide good-quality information to board members timeously. And, finally, they take a realistic view of the total corporate risk the organisation faces, including non-traditional risks such as compliance, natural hazards.
  • Close alignment with the operating environment. Resilient organisations recognise that different parts of the environment pose different challenges, and they know the organisation needs to respond with a specific offering or strategy in each of these segments.
  • Separate resource allocation and deployment. Resilient organisations derive great benefit from separating the processes of deciding what opportunities to pursue from deciding how to undertake that pursuit operationally.
  • Strong sense of purpose and values. While almost all organisations have statements of purpose and values, resilient ones link purpose to the overall client value proposition.

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Partnership is key to improving organisational resilience in the public sector https://www.continuitysa.com/partnership-is-key-to-improving-organisational-resilience-in-the-public-sector/ Mon, 14 May 2018 04:30:56 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=9144 As we move into Business Continuity Awareness Week, let’s consider what this year’s theme means for the public sector. By Luyolo Hela, Head: Public Sector at ContinuitySA The theme for this year’s Business Continuity Awareness Week is Working together to improve organisational resilience. It’s a very timely subject because it links the concept of resilience...

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As we move into Business Continuity Awareness Week, let’s consider what this year’s theme means for the public sector.

By Luyolo Hela, Head: Public Sector at ContinuitySA

The theme for this year’s Business Continuity Awareness Week is Working together to improve organisational resilience. It’s a very timely subject because it links the concept of resilience to partnership—and that’s something the public sector has to take to its heart.

We are all increasingly aware of the shifting and expanding threat landscape that organisations of all types face. From cyber terrorism and crime to natural disasters to industrial action, some sort of disaster is just around the corner.

While every organisation does its best to identify and mitigate the most pressing risks, the whole point is that many of them come out of left field and could not have been covered in the typical corporate planning process. As a result, there has been a growing global emphasis on building organisational resilience as the end goal of any business continuity management plan.

At last, the public sector is becoming more aware of resilience. This is long overdue because its services are of prime importance both to citizens and private sector business community. Downtime for a government department of utility such as Eskom has a ripple effect on large parts of the economy.

The importance of public-sector resilience can be seen in the fact that the Auditor-General now includes business continuity in its annual audit. Governance codes like King IV, along with legislation like the new Companies Act and the Public Finance Management Act, all make the senior leadership of the public-sector organisation accountable for its resilience.

However, the public sector’s journey towards organisational resilience is threatened by the fact that it does not properly understand that its achievement requires it to build a true partnership with its business continuity and resilience provider. This collaboration between client and service provider is captured in the word “together” in the theme of this year’s Business Continuity Awareness Week.

Creating, implementing and maintaining a business continuity and resilience plan is complex, and thus cannot simply be outsourced to the expert service provider. The two parties need to work together closely in order to align the business continuity efforts with business strategic goals.

This level of planning, and the need for the continuous testing and refinement of the plan, requires buy-in to the process at all levels of the organisation, as well as sufficient budget and resources to be allocated. A true partnership will need to be built because business resilience is a continuous process, not an event.

Without this kind of partnership based on mutual trust, true resilience will remain elusive for the public sector, with dire consequences for those who are accountable.

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ISO22301? Learn how to implement it https://www.continuitysa.com/iso22301-learn-how-to-implement-it/ Thu, 10 May 2018 05:44:57 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=9139 The ISO22301 standard offers scant guidance on implementation. This course plugs the gap. The International Organization for Standardization issued ISO22301 as the standard for business continuity. As with most other ISO standards, ISO22301 is used by many auditing firms to establish whether an organisation’s business continuity management is credible, and likely to identify and mitigate...

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The ISO22301 standard offers scant guidance on implementation. This course plugs the gap.

The International Organization for Standardization issued ISO22301 as the standard for business continuity. As with most other ISO standards, ISO22301 is used by many auditing firms to establish whether an organisation’s business continuity management is credible, and likely to identify and mitigate the risks it faces, and can recover from any disaster.

However, the standard is short on guidance. What are the practical steps that should be taken to implement business continuity management practices that will turn theory into practice. ContinuitySA’s ISO Lead Training is a five-day course that offers the practical guidance needed to design and implement a business continuity management programme that embodies ISO22301.

“People who have done this course confirm that if offers great guidance on how to create a business continuity management action plan that is faithful to ISO22301,” says Cindy Bodenstein, Marketing Manager at ContinuitySA. “It is basically a plan/ check/ do methodology for ISO22301.”

ContinuitySA will offer the ISO Lead Implementer Course on 21-25 May and there are courses in August and in November 2018. For more details and to register, visit http://www.continuitysa.com/training/iso-registration/

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ContinuitySA supports BCAW2018 https://www.continuitysa.com/continuitysa-supports-bcaw2018/ Mon, 07 May 2018 06:42:04 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=9072 ContinuitySA will be supporting the annual Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW) this year. BCAW 2018 is a global event facilitated by the BCI to raise awareness of the latest trends in business continuity, and the value effective business continuity can bring to organisations of all types and sizes. BCAW 2018 takes place between 14 to...

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ContinuitySA will be supporting the annual Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW) this year. BCAW 2018 is a global event facilitated by the BCI to raise awareness of the latest trends in business continuity, and the value effective business continuity can bring to organisations of all types and sizes.

BCAW 2018 takes place between 14 to 18 May 2018.

“Business continuity is becoming more and more important to organisations as the risk landscape becomes more complex and threatening each month,” says Cindy Bodenstein, Marketing Manager at ContinuitySA. “By building more resilient organisations, business continuity practitioners can increase their ability to respond effectively to disasters of any kind, and resume trading with the least possible disruption.”

The theme of this year’s BCAW 2018 is Working together to improve organisational resilience. Webinars will cover a wide range of issues including crisis leadership, building resilient cities, cyber resiliency, supplier dependency, the operational and organisational resilience, maximising employee engagement in resilience, the future of organisational resiliency, and many others. The BCI will also use BCAW to launch the Organisational Resilience Manifesto.

As part of its contribution to BCAW, two consultants from ContinuitySA will deliver webinars.

On 15 May, Karen Humphris, Senior Manager, Advisory Services at ContinuitySA, will explore “Operational resilience as part of organisational resilience”. Her focus will be on how go beyond crisis response to building the ability of people, processes and information systems to adapt to disruptive events. To register please click here.  

On 17 May, Lynette Smit, Senior Manager, Advisory Services at ContinuitySA will present on “How organisations’ business continuity management needs are evolving over time”. Her presentation will look at how the profession is evolving in order to meet the changing needs of its clients. To register please click here.

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More reasons to outsource business continuity https://www.continuitysa.com/more-reasons-to-outsource-business-continuity/ Mon, 19 Mar 2018 07:19:12 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=8876 Completing my top reasons for working alongside a specialised business continuity service provider. By Willem Olivier, GM: Africa, ContinuitySA In my previous blog, I began to offer Reasons to outsource business continuity. Let me conclude with the remaining reasons to consider working with a specialist provider to ensure that this critical—but non-core—capability is fit for...

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Completing my top reasons for working alongside a specialised business continuity service provider.

By Willem Olivier, GM: Africa, ContinuitySA

In my previous blog, I began to offer Reasons to outsource business continuity. Let me conclude with the remaining reasons to consider working with a specialist provider to ensure that this critical—but non-core—capability is fit for purpose.

  • Spec the recovery site correctly. It is common for inexperienced people to get this wrong. For example, an important consideration would be to ensure that the recovery site does not share the same telecommunications, power and water infrastructure as the production site, and is accessibly by the transport choice of all staff. However this may be all relative in a small country such as Seychelles or a remote location where you do not have the luxury of dual utilities. Remember it is all relative, 10 kilometres in one country could mean something totally different in another when selecting the appropriate site.
  • Access the right business continuity skills. Deciding to go it alone on the business continuity front is not just about putting the infrastructure in place; it is necessary also to ensure you have people with the right skills on your payroll. Finding and keeping these professionals, who are increasingly in demand, can add an unwanted dimension to the existing war for talent.
  • Optimise your cost base. Building your own facilities means that you are bearing the full capital and operational costs, whereas a specialist provider can offer you syndicated recovery infrastructure to optimise the cost-risk equation. This will also avoid the trap of using redundant IT equipment and substandard furniture in recovery facilities. There are many hidden costs in going it alone. Having an outsourced Opex solution versus an insourced Capex solution may be what your CFO wants.
  • Protect critical recovery equipment. It can be hard for an internal unit to resist urgent requests to use IT and other equipment set aside for business continuity when the business needs it. I have personally seen data centres missing servers and recovery centres with no desks or chairs because of this—rendering them effectively useless when a disaster is invoked.

Even in the most developed economies, putting together a recovery plan that works when disaster strikes is a specialist’s job. Here in Africa we have more challenges in this regard, and we face an uphill battle in competing globally: outsourcing business continuity to the right partner is just smart business.

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Reasons to outsource business continuity and avoid the iceberg https://www.continuitysa.com/reasons-to-outsource-business-continuity-and-avoid-the-iceberg/ Thu, 15 Mar 2018 05:47:53 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=8808 Business continuity is a critical but non-core capability that can help African companies position themselves for global competitiveness. BCM outsourcing makes good business sense. By Willem Olivier, GM: Africa, ContinuitySA As I argued in my previous post, Business continuity is too important not to oursource. Insourcing’s apparent attractiveness disguises a great number of hidden disadvantages....

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Business continuity is a critical but non-core capability that can help African companies position themselves for global competitiveness. BCM outsourcing makes good business sense.

By Willem Olivier, GM: Africa, ContinuitySA

As I argued in my previous post, Business continuity is too important not to oursource. Insourcing’s apparent attractiveness disguises a great number of hidden disadvantages. Now I would like to look at the positive benefits of outsourcing this critical function, particularly within the context of Africa’s drive to enhance its competitiveness.

  • Ensure appropriate sponsorship attention. For most African companies, business continuity is relatively new. The danger is that it is often assigned to relatively junior employees, and it lacks the executive-level sponsorship that driving mindset change requires. It may also not be seen as a key performance indicator for that individual. If it is handled by outside specialists, its effectiveness becomes the key performance indicator.
  • Test, test, test. When disaster strikes, it is no time to discover the holes in a recovery plan or capabilities—that’s why continuous testing is critical. But how to run meaningful tests that are invariably seen as an irritating interruption in the busy business day, and how to embed the lessons learned into a process of continuous improvement, are all things that a specialist business continuity provider can do.
  • Get the practicalities right. It is easy to fall into the trap of seeing business continuity as a technical problem with technical solutions. Technology is certainly a necessary and useful tool, but there is so much more to business continuity than this. For example, when staff arrive at a recovery site, they will also need a whole kaleidoscope of practical information and aids, such as Web shortcuts, passwords and stationery, not to mention toilet facilities, food and drink.

Next time, I conclude this blog series on why it makes sense to outsource business continuity management.

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Beware the iceberg: Business continuity is too important not to outsource it https://www.continuitysa.com/beware-iceberg-business-continuity-important-not-outsource/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 06:02:33 +0000 https://www.continuitysa.com/?p=8767 By outsourcing business continuity, African companies can position themselves for success in the global business environment. By Willem Olivier, GM: Africa, ContinuitySA One often hears the argument that it is cheaper to insource business continuity than to outsource it. On a first glance, it can seem as though costs are lower but, like the proverbial...

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By outsourcing business continuity, African companies can position themselves for success in the global business environment.

By Willem Olivier, GM: Africa, ContinuitySA

One often hears the argument that it is cheaper to insource business continuity than to outsource it. On a first glance, it can seem as though costs are lower but, like the proverbial iceberg, this is because many costs, including staff time, are hidden below the surface.

We estimate that only 18 percent of the true costs of insourcing are recognised—they would include equipment and furniture purchase, and development costs. The rest of the costs, which include planning and design; installation and development; rental of premises; rates, taxes and utilities; insurance; maintenance; supplier management; electricity and diesel; operations personnel; security and clearing; and administration, among others.

The truth is, though, is that business continuity is one of those critical but non-core functions that is best outsourced

It is mandated by all governance codes and investors will look out for it. At the same time, though, it requires specialist knowledge to develop an effective business continuity management plan, keep it current and, critically, to ensure it works through regular, thorough testing.

There has been a lot of hype about Africa as an investment destination and new growth frontier but it is underpinned by real opportunity. However, if African countries are to maximise the benefits to their economies, their companies need to be able to compete with foreign competitors. To do this, they must be able to attract investment by demonstrating to investors that they are safe.

However, some companies will opt to implement it alone for a variety of reasons. However they quickly find that business continuity is a difficult job, not to mention expensive both in terms of capital and management costs but also in terms of a loss of executive focus. All too often, I have found, in-sourced business continuity is a casualty of the daily pressures of running a business: processes are not tested, and equipment is “borrowed” for production, and when a disaster strikes, the company finds its recovery capability is not adequate.

Next time: more detail on why outsourcing business continuity makes good business sense.

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