When it comes to developing a recovery plan, first listen carefully to your local contacts.
By Pete Frielinghaus, Managing Director, ContinuityEastAfrica
While many African countries share similar challenges, developing an effective recovery strategy must begin with the realities of a particular country. Good local information is the foundation of success.
It’s also very encouraging to note that innovative local solutions are starting to emerge in many of the countries across the continent.
However, some common issues should be considered, even though the details—and the answers—will vary from place to place.
Bandwidth is likely to be the most important infrastructural issue. Most businesses in Africa already have generators and other contingency measures in place, but connectivity remains problematic. Most modern data and system recovery capabilities, such as replication, rely on bandwidth. It’s wise to consider using multiple service providers and connectivity types.
Data sovereignty is complex. Many technology-based recovery strategies can involve crossing national borders to use service providers elsewhere in the continent or, in these days of the cloud, globally. National policies relating to, and tolerance of, cross-border data traffic vary and must be taken into account. The same is true of cloud-hosted PABX solutions.
Work-area recovery can solve temporary accessibility issues. Many African cities are volatile politically; security measures, as well as protest action, can make it difficult for staff to get to work. Having an alternative site that staff can reach will help companies keep trading when short-term accessibility issues arise.
The impact of security is multi-faceted. Consider, for example, Nigeria’s decision to close down some communication base stations as part of an initiative against Boko Haram, affecting many companies. Similarly, political instability in one country can affect its neighbours.
Company leadership is critical. In general, people take their cue from leaders. It is thus vital that leaders buy into the importance of business continuity management in general.
Once you’re certain you are listening closely to local sources, also look inwards to make sure you understand your own company’s limitations—and ask for help when it’s needed.