Ensuring that your business continues to serve customers in spite of the myriad plagues of our time - summer floods,...
autumn leaves on the line, and retro industrial disputes - is maturing into a discipline that calls upon IT more than any other function.
However, business continuity should not just be about technology. As we report on page 8, risks to humans, such as viral infections, transport disruptions, and even kidnapping, are often overlooked in organisations' continuity plans. Moreover, since being global is increasingly a business imperative, globetrotting senior executives and their Blackberries will become more and more vulnerable.
Business continuity is the subject of this issue's special report on page 30. It paints a mixed but largely gloomy picture of IT organisations failing their own disaster recovery tests, and chief executives fiddling while Rome burns. Nevertheless, there is also a lot of creativity around continuity planning - and not just in large businesses.
Small and medium-sized enterprises have suffered badly this year, especially in the areas that were flooded, but also universally during the postal strike. The Federation of Small Businesses attests that 94% of its members use the Royal Mail exclusively, and many do not have contingency plans.
In response, some SMEs have turned to the technologies of remote working and outsourcing. As well as ensuring business continuity, firms are finding that these approaches can deliver security, efficiency and broader business benefits. Similarly, compliance with data protection regulation is forcing upon SMEs an attention to data storage that might not otherwise be there.
The messages of our special report are that business continuity is not a discipline conditioned only by catastrophe and terrorist attack, but also by more mundane disruptions and that SMEs have much to gain by intensifying their focus upon it.