CIOs bearing burden of disaster recovery role

Summary:Experts have warned that chief information officers should not be entirely responsible for disaster recovery and business continuity

Chief information officers are being put in charge of business continuity and disaster recovery strategies, even though there should be a broader response to the issue, a panel of experts has warned.

Business continuity and disaster recovery are seen as an IT responsibility, said Peter Thomson, director of the Future Work Forum, part of Henley Management College, which offers businesses advice on future working practices. But, he said, there needs to be a combined inter-departmental effort to plan for when disaster strikes.

Also speaking at the SunGard-sponsored roundtable, Richard Nichols, associate director at IT executive club CIO Connect, said there's a default assumption that disaster recovery is the responsibility of the chief information officer (CIO).

Nichols added that most CIOs are well placed to take on this responsibility, as they have the technology and probably the track record, but there needs to be a disaster recovery chief, rather than making such a role part of the CIO's job.

Insurance group Royal & SunAlliance has a separate post to deal with and plan for disaster. Ian Houghton, manager of continuity and technology at Royal & SunAlliance, said: "So many organisations have their CIO… in charge of disaster recovery [by default]."

However, people, not technology, are the key to business continuity, according to Houghton. "The key thing which drives our continuity is people. If we have not got people to operate the machines and understand the data, we do not have a business."

Houghton added that, despite many organisations giving their CIOs responsibility for these issues, they may not have had the training to deal with people affected by a disaster.

CIO Connect's Nichols added the chief financial officers need to be brought in to the discussion and "think beyond the pound and pence" to help out businesses with such work.

Topics: Networking

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