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Rising Demand for Business Continuity Solutions in Asia

NTT Com Global Watch vol.4, Revised March 2015

To avoid risk and continue conducting business, the establishment of a business continuity plan (BCP) has become an urgent requirement.

Global BCP trend

Businesses are constantly battling to prevent interruptions and accompanying losses in the event of natural disasters, pandemics, and other types of threats to business continuity. For this reason, it is highly recommended that a plan is implemented to prepare for this type of natural disaster or accident. The implementation plan should define the method and means of continuing core business activities and/or a swift recovery.*1 As we now increasingly rely on information systems, businesses, in particular, must establish a BCP or disaster recovery (DR) plan that takes IT into account.

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Businesses are expected to develop a BCP to reduce the time needed to achieve a full recovery while continuing business activities without interruption, even in the event of a disaster.

Source: "Business Continuity Guidelines (August 2013)," Government of Japan

Since the September 11 attacks, worldwide recognition of the importance of BCPs has increased. Corporations in Europe and the U.S. have recognized the importance of BCPs, and some companies have established unified BCP standards worldwide. In Japan, the Great East Japan Earthquake further heightened awareness of the need for BCPs and impelled many companies to begin implementing concrete countermeasures.

 

 

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Risk and the necessity of BCPs in Asia

In the booming Asian economies, there is a tendency to prioritize economic efficiency and growth at the expense of other considerations. As a result, Asia generally lags behind the West in implementing expensive disaster response measures in their infrastructures*2. This is true even though Asia is more vulnerable to natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, and pandemics than the rest of the world, and is therefore in more urgent need of BCP measures.

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This indicates that Asia has a significantly higher ratio of deaths (including missing persons) and amount of damage.

Source: Disaster Prevention White Paper, (2014), Government of Japan

 

The 2011 floods in Thailand are a dramatic example of the risks posed by natural disasters in Asia. The floods severely impacted Japanese automobile, electronics, chemical, and other corporations operating over 3,100 companies*3 in the country. Moreover, damage to the factories of foreign hard disk drive (HDD) makers in Thailand significantly affected PC manufacturers and caused a steep rise in global HDD prices. Similar flooding tends to occur in countries bordering Thailand (such as Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh)*2, which generally share its climate and geographical conditions.

 

*2 Source: "Japan should make contributions through its world-leading disaster prevention technology after the Thailand flood" by Tomoyuki Takahashi (Professor of Safety Science, Kansai University)

*3 Source: "Special Project: Fact-finding survey on companies making inroads into Thailand" by Teikoku Data Bank (Japan version)

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Asia has far more reported human cases of bird flu (H5N1) than the rest of the world.

Source: About bird flu (H5N1) by Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry (Japanese)
(Please refer to this site for the latest bird flu figures.)

 

Businesses in Asia cannot neglect the risk of pandemics occurring. Although pandemics do not directly affect facilities and IT systems, they can prevent people from commuting to work and running those facilities and systems. If the epidemic becomes widespread, activities such as business trips, meetings, and other forms of personal interaction may become severely regulated. Specifically, commuting between home and the office, dispatching workers offsite, and business trips to other offices and customer sites will also become regulated.

 

To ensure the continuity of business activities regardless of the industry or scale of the corporation, it is essential to take high-level BCP countermeasures in Asia with these risks in mind.

 

 

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DC-oriented BCP solution and NTT Communications

It is important for companies to have a fail-proof system (BCP) to ensure the continuation of business in the face of risks that threaten business activities, including floods, building damage, power outages, terrorist attacks, political demonstrations, and pandemics. The utilization of data centers and cloud services are effective BCP solutions. Keeping the company's data on a cloud service or data center with security that can withstand disasters, can enable the continuation of business activities by allowing workers access to company data from another site if the company's facility is damaged. It is also important to keep backup data in a remote data center in case there is a widespread disaster, such as a large earthquake, volcanic eruption, or radiation contamination. The BCP office inside a secure data center can also be used as an office for managing disaster countermeasures.

In addition, investing in unified communication systems and mobile equipment that seamlessly integrate phone and video conference systems not only improves productivity but is an effective BCP tool.

In response to the increasing demand for BCP measures, NTT Communications is continuously expanding its BCP-related services. NTT Communications continues to provide optimal, comprehensive services to corporations expanding their business activities globally by strengthening their Internet connection services worldwide and helping them to leverage their global office networks and support frameworks.

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