A close look at the customer cabinets inside SunGard Availability Services’ data center located at 1500 Spring Garden, Philadelphia, PA.
SunGard Availability Services believes business continuity services should be simpler for its customers to manage. This isn't a hunch: SunGard engaged more than 100 customers every three weeks in its effort to design and develop a better way to deliver business continuity services.
The result is SunGard Assurance(cm) a continuity management software as a service offering. The end result is a product that is more user friendly – "Facebook easy," one might say. It also serves as a platform for democratizing the entire process, allowing less technical stakeholders to provide valuable input.
SunGard Assurance(cm) is a secure SaaS solution available anytime from any device, including mobile devices, with a service level agreement (SLA) guaranteeing 99.9 percent uptime. Its interface is simplified and designed to be accessible for even those who aren’t disaster recovery experts. The solution also incorporates dynamic plan templates that dramatically reduce the amount of data entry needed to create plans that meet the test of disasters. There’s also Integration with Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) to provide a real-time view of data center infrastructure configuration.
“This solution is designed for all people involved in business continuity planning and execution,” said Louis Grosskopf, general manager, Business Continuity Software. for SunGard, who said there’s a good reason to involve more personel in the planning and execution. “There’s a common misperception that the team of business continuity (BC) planners are the only ones responsible for BC. However, these teams – usually five to 10 people depending on the size of an organization – must rely on others in their organization to understand and be prepared to act on their BC plan.
"The ‘novice planners’ also called the ‘innocent bystanders,’ are the people that outnumber the BC plan team and usually have no disaster recovery (DR) experience," Grosskopf added. "However, they’re expected to provide the information critical for recovery (e.g. the manager of accounts payable, or a bank branch manager; someone with no DR experience).”
Business continuity assurance helps customers deliver on the core business benefits of disaster recovery and business continuity planning at the time of need:
- Providing service to customers with less interruption
- Safeguarding customers and employees before, during and after disaster scenarios
- Protecting corporate reputation-Enhancing shareholder value
Since the 1980s, business continuity management (BCM) has seen numerous shifts in regulatory pressure, and each issue forced customers to react swiftly, according to Grosskopf.
“First it was data center recovery, then Y2K and next was terrorism," he said. "The current issue disrupting BCM is state-sponsored cyber threats. As the world of business continuity stays focused on ever-increasing pressures from regulators, business leaders today demand broader participation in the planning process and increased confidence that today’s plans will lead to better outcomes. These changes in market dynamics are driving a need for a new business continuity approach.”
The company gives the example of natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy and the business risks they pose to customers.
""The outcome we all seek is to keep the business running, our employees safe and our shareholders protected from risk," said Grosskopf. "With higher engagement from the whole organization, assurance aids customers by increasing confidence at the time of need that the plan meets the test of disruption."