Kaizen is the Japanese word for improvement. In philosophical terms, it really encapsulates a business philosophy of continuous improvement prevalent in Japan.
To me, kaizen is how one should approach one's business, and in reality all aspects of one's life.
Business continuity is a term that is close to our hearts here at IronTree. We are currently developing a cloud-based system designed to enable small and medium enterprises to manage their business continuity and to significantly improve their business through implementing business continuity principles.
Business continuity requires managing certain elements of a business. These are:
Essential services like electricity, water and plumbing
Vehicles and other assets
A core part of any business in our era is the corporate data of that business. Losing your corporate data can be an utterly disastrous event for a business in that it can completely disable a business from functioning. So really, a key aspect of any business conituity plan is to ensure adequate and safe backup of the corporate data.
This has to be done through online backup services. To rely solely on on-site backup to a disk or other medium is in fact irresponsible and certainly does not encapsulate the principle of kaizen. We come across many businesses who thought they had adequate backup using on-site backup system, but when it came to a disaster, either the backup was lost or the backup to a local device did not restore properly. Online backup to a reputable online backup service provider is essential.
Here's what online backup gives to a business:
A secure, encrypted copy of critical business data is available at an off-site location.
This copy can be restored to any other location at any time.
The data is transferred and stored in an encrypted state. This means that online backup is secure, while on-site backup is insecure in most cases.
The data stored in online backup cannot easily be stolen. Data theft for on-site backup, on the other hand, is easy; simply steal the unencrypted tape, memory stick or external hard drive.
The data stored in an online backup is generational, which means data can be restored as it was at a particular point in the past. This is very useful for dealing with employee fraud, data corruption and auditing investigations. With on-site backup, where one takes disks or hard drives off-site daily, we find that this seldom happens. So, if there is a flood or a fire the backup data is destroyed along with the production server(s).
Business continuity is not just about planning for disasters. In fact, it is planning your business so that potential disasters are mitigated and in fact are prevented from happening at all. In business, as managers, we are all constantly making decision to avoid disaster of all kinds from happening to the business. A business continuity plan simply takes these situations and tries to define a way of dealing with them that everyone in the business understands and can action.
A business continuity plan can be very simple or can attempt to cover every possible occurrence. In most cases, a plan that sits in the middle of these two extremes is the correct plan to have.
The business continuity plan should manage all elements of the business as shown above, and a most critical one in today's digital society is the management and care of corporate data via online backup.
We look forward to presenting our cloud-based business continuity system to all of our customers and hope that they will all espouse the principles of kaizen in their businesses. In the meantime, begin offline planning and ensure that your business continuity plan covers all the elements - including locations, people and data - via online backup, essential services, internet, telecomms, vehicles and other critical assets.