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For a brick-and-mortar store, a lingering power outage generally means calling it an early day and heading home. A business can be reasonably secure in the knowledge the power company will sort things out in a matter of hours, and business operations will resume as usual by the next day.
For ecommerce and “bricks and clicks” hybrid companies that operate both physically and online, an “outage” can look very different, and can be potentially devastating to a business, even if it only occurs for a few hours. Continuity – a website or digital service’s ability to appear, perform, and operate as intended – is crucial for gaining and growing consumer trust. Buying products and services involves, after all, trusting companies with financial information – a website that’s constantly off and on doesn’t instill a great deal of confidence. This is why it is increasingly important for your organization or business to develop a critical business process like a disaster recovery plan or business continuity planning.
IT service continuity management prevents these outages and has become the “secret weapon” for modern businesses. So, what is the purpose of IT service continuity management? That’s easy: in general, it’s to get you up and running, and keep you there. With an ever-growing list of threats and the associated risk, both disaster-related and maliciously targeted, you need the reassurance of a team built for growth and protection.
What Does ITSM Mean?
Whenever business continuity or business continuity strategy enters the conversation, particularly when digital-dependent companies are being discussed, the acronym ITSM will make a prominent appearance. Short for Information Technology Service Management, it’s typically used to refer to a third-party, contracted IT team that is hired as a service provider in lieu of (or in conjunction with) an in-house IT team.
But why do companies outsource? Depending on the minimum agreed service level a company contracts for, ITSM may encompass everything from purchasing hardware and software on behalf of a company to setting up its entire tech infrastructure. While the literal meaning of ITSM is fixed, the answer to “What does ITSM stand for?” is a little more complex, owing in part to service tiers and company needs.
A part of ITSM is also “ITSCM” – which comes from adding a “continuity” into the job description. In this capacity, the team would pay special attention to ensuring that a company’s websites or digital offerings stayed functioning as intended.
What Are The Benefits Of Using ITSM?
When trying to understand the benefits for using managed IT services, a lot can be found in the question “What is included in managed IT services?” Using managed IT services for your business means that you have an ally that functions not only as a valued team player, but also as an impressive insurance policy against tech issues. Because they are involved in the setup, implementation, and oversight of your company’s hardware, (as well as the software and network), a managed service provider (MSP) is in the best possible position to fight against service disruptions and negative impacts as part of an overall business continuity plan. Here’s a detailed breakdown of some of the key benefits of an effective ITSM team with business continuity management:
- Setup of onboarding and post-termination safeguards: Never worry if a disgruntled former employee could compromise your network: your ITSM team will make sure their digital keys are promptly turned off at termination. This also applies to physical methods of entry, such as barcoded identification cards, or individual magnetic passkeys for office doors and rooms.
- Suggestions for improvement and recognition of vulnerabilities: One of the most dangerous phrases in business is “but that’s the way we’ve always done it!” – and that’s doubly true when it comes to your IT practices. An ITSM team will typically complete a system analysis when you begin working together, and ferret out any inconsistencies that could be leaving your files and inner systems exposed.
- Setting up safety routines and monitoring: To borrow another popular phrase, the best defense is a good offense. This is especially true with disaster prevention. Your ITSM professionals can design and grade digital “best practices” safety courses (e.g., ‘avoid these sites’, ‘watch out for phishing emails’, etc.) for your entire team, ensuring a base level of protection-in-practice. They can also implement alarm systems that will alert them if a virus, malware, or ransomware program makes its way into the company intranet.
- Disaster preparedness plans, and backup storage: The nature of accidents and disasters is that they come with little to no warning. Even after a risk analysis or a risk assessment, it is still challenging to know exactly when. That’s cold consolation for a business that has unexpectedly lost its entire functional database! An ITSM team can not only put automatic backup systems in place, they can also help your company shift to cloud-based services and programs that don’t carry the same vulnerability as a server in a physical office. If you are wondering “What are cloud managed services?”, we have you covered. Investing in disaster recovery planning is a great way to take risk reduction measures and improve your business continuity strategy.
- Compliance audits and improvements: Whether you’re holding your own company to task for stated goals and expectations, or you’re meeting third-party benchmarks, you’ll need to know where you stand. An ITSM team can make sure your business stays in compliance with local, regional, and federal standards, should your work involve sensitive personal or financial data handling.
Why Does My Business Need Continuity Management?
As previously noted, your customers perceive your business through the lens of reliability. On an individual level, going to a non-functioning website or checkout process is not only frustrating, but disconcerting. On a larger scale, however, a data breach making the news can send the stock of publicly-traded companies into a nosedive, and trigger boycotts against private companies. Reducing and working through disaster events are some of the reasons why overall business continuity management is so important.
In other words, it’s in your best interest to keep your company up and running as much as possible, and a reputable IT continuity service management team delivers that peace of mind. They serve as a touchpoint for preventing the data vulnerability problem in the first place, and address the matter quickly if it does occur. Without that structure in place, an “outage” event like a service disruption can cascade into a much larger issue, without an easy recovery option or recovery plan to consult.
Your organization should constantly protect itself against potential issues that could have a negative impact – otherwise, it wouldn’t have locks on the front door, insurance plans for company assets, or workers’ compensation insurance through HR. Think of ITSM as an extension of those safeguarding practices, with the added bonus of improving your business operations in the process. If your files, documents, images, and other digital media are worth creating under your brand, they’re worth preserving under the watchful eye and innovative mind of your new ITSM team.