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Biz Continuity Goes Back to Basics

NEW YORK -- CIOs need to get back to basics when it comes to developing effective contingency plans, according to IT managers at a business continuity and security event here today.

Alex Tabb, president of consulting firm the Tabb Group, urged IT professionals not to get too bogged down in the latest servers and storage, but focus instead on building a simple and effective plan. "One of the things that I fervently believe in is the idea of back to basics," he said, noting that this involves working out which best practices fit your business, and developing a detailed plan for what gets done (and who does it) in the first few minutes of a crisis.

This plan, warned the analyst, should be carefully documented so that key employees, such as security and building operations staff, can quickly follow it. "In crises, oftentimes it's not people making decisions that causes problems, but people being afraid to make decisions," he said.

Financial sector IT managers taking part in a panel discussion agreed that this strategy is critical for success. "A back-to-basics approach is absolutely fundamental because that is the way that you are really going to show a good return on investment in disaster after disaster," said Deutsche Bank director Michael Berkowitz, adding that his firm uses the same processes to deal with small emergencies and major crises.

The director pointed to Deutsche Bank's Avian flu planning, which involves staff working remotely. "This push to get people and processes set up so that we can work from home pays dividends in a transit strike, a snowstorm, or a possible heat wave," he said.

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