The next problem comes from a fundamental flaw in thinking that the BIA process perpetuates. By focusing on business processes in an attempt to place responsibility for defining criticality and budget with the business owners (as opposed to IT), the BIA infers that “process recovery” is the goal.
In fact, there are few if any critical business processes in today’s organizations which stand alone and which can be recovered or “continued” manually. In virtually all cases, the automated applications which support the critical processes must be recovered in order for the process itself to continue. This is the BIA’s 7th fatal flaw. Business owners rarely understand the applications that they use in sufficient detail to provide the information that is necessary for disaster recovery planning. They do not understand application inter-dependencies, they do not know which physical assets their applications run on or which platforms must cross-communicate, they do not understand the network requirements for minimal connectivity and they usually do not have knowledge of the physical nature of the files that contain their data or of how those files are backed-up or rotated.
The result is that the BIA process cannot be truly complete without Applications and Operations involvement, which is usually outside the original project’s scope and which usually, requires a second project once the primary BIA is completed—which in turn further delays proactive planning efforts. In order to avoid this outcome, there is a tendency to assume that through a superhuman manual effort the business will make-up for the technology shortfall. This is seldom the case and more often, well-intentioned but naive assumptions about the viability of manual alternatives will actually exacerbate the situation and complicate the recovery.
It’s time to dump the traditional BIA!