Activities within Business Functional Areas (BFAs) may rely on other activities happening prior to the activity in question being activated, or the activity may be reliant on internal or external services or products that are vital to the activity or process being successful. These reliances are known as Dependencies and they are critical in understanding the complexities of a business function’s activity and are most important to capture when developing the activity’s Recovery Strategy. Dependencies have great relevance on an activity’s Maximum Tolerable Outage (MTO) and consequently its Recovery Time Objective (RTO) which has significant bearing on its Recovery Strategy plan.
When activities rely on services, processes or products that another activity, either internal to the organization or external to the organization, is also dependent on or is providing or receiving services, processes or products that they are responsible for, they have an inter-dependency on each other (i.e. servers, computer systems communication ‘pipelines’ and electrical power). This inter-dependency must be understood, mapped out and a solution agreed upon between all parties. Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) or formal Contracts should be in place and become part of the Business Continuity Plan. These legal agreements need to be comprehensive and detailed to outline exactly what will be provided, to what level and or standard and outlining each party’s obligations, commitments and costs.
When two or more activities share or require the same service, process or product, they have a Co-dependency on each other and the desired / required service, process or product ( i.e. Power and Telecommunications). When this occurs, consideration must be given to clearly understanding the relationships, each dependency and prioritizing and scheduling of who gets what and when.
This works well with internal co-dependencies; however, when external multi-agencies are all vying for the same service, process or product it becomes crucial that legal arrangements be solidified and committed to well in advance of a business interruption. Failure to do this usually results in the organization not having the crucial service, process or product at the time of an interruption and pre-planned Recovery Strategies are unable to meet either their RTO or MTO, which usually results in that business functional activity failing and is usually detrimental to the sustainability of the organization.