In the Event of a (Technology) Emergency …

Jonathan Chisholm

The pace of change in a global economy requires you to leverage technology to gain competitive advantages and lower costs. You are asked to employ technology to automate and enable your operations and to operate at a faster pace than ever before.

  • Fact: The average organization has 600 business-critical applications, with about 65 percent being sourced from external suppliers.
  • Therefore, the typical organization has 390 business-critical applications that are supplied by third parties.[i]

With all the recent data breaches, security threats, compliance requirements, risk assessments, audits, and regulations, you need to make sure that your underlying intellectual property is secure and accessible – regardless of who develops your application.

Challenge: We’re on the cusp of a technology evolution that will transform the way we live, travel, work, and communicate in the next five years. For instance:

  • Blockchain Technology will change the financial industry and many other industries;
  • Autonomous Vehicle Technology will change how we travel;
  • Artificial Intelligence will change how we work; and the
  • Internet of Things will create a system of connected devices that will capture and create enormous amounts of information.

Question: How do you manage your risk if you’re investing in these technologies? How do you alleviate concerns of your customers if you provide these solutions?

Answer: You must create a contingency plan for the “in the event of an emergency” situation.

Think about it, from the time we were children, we were taught emergency procedures. As an adult and father of two small children, I’ve never had to exercise any emergency procedures in a real life or death emergency, such as evacuating a building, performing CPR, saving a drowning victim, etc. But, these are all techniques that I practice (from time to time), and I plan to teach to my children. Why? Because a failure to plan, is a plan to fail. In the same way, you need to protect your technology “in the event of an emergency” … just in case.

For example, in the event of a system failure, you need to understand:

  1. The Goal: What do you want to do?
  2. The Time frame: How much time do you have to get the solution operational?
  3. The Materials: What are the materials you need to achieve your goal?
  4. The Schedule: How often do the materials change, and will need to be updated?
  5. The Outcome: Is your outcome in line with your goal?

If you were to catch on fire, you would stop, drop, and roll. If someone stopped breathing, you would look, listen, and feel. If you’re entering a mission-critical business relationship, you first need a business continuity plan. Then, you need a technology escrow arrangement that includes a goal, a time frame, a list of materials, and a schedule to ensure you have everything you need in the event of a breach of your business arrangement.

As this latest technological revolution unfolds, more risks will be introduced into your IT environment. Business continuity planning (BCP) will become more essential than ever. And, technology escrow goes hand-in-hand with BCP to ensure that businesses can continue to run smoothly, even if their software or other technology is no longer supported. Today, more than ever, companies rely on technology to gain a competitive edge and to get to market faster. Whether your business comes to rely on AI or the IoT, you will rely on software – and it’s always a prudent step to keep that software protected and operational … in the case of an emergency.

 


[i] Veracode: The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Supply Chain Transformation, original research by Quocirca Research – Outsourcing the problem of software security, February 2012.

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