How Covid-19 Has Changed IT Disaster Recovery Planning in Capital Markets Forever
IT disaster recovery planning is an essential part of any business continuity strategy. Most businesses aim to avoid downtime, but in the capital markets sector, disruption to infrastructure or connectivity can have a critical impact.
Firms have recently experienced a massive test of their disaster recovery capabilities due to Covid-19. It has arguably changed business continuity and IT disaster recovery planning forever.
In this post, we look at the impact of the pandemic on companies working in capital markets and financial services, how they’re responding and how the crisis has changed their approach to disaster recovery.
Why financial services need business continuity more than most
Business downtime is costly in any industry. For the financial services sector, resilient IT is essential, not least because of the impact it has in the broader economy.
Customers and businesses choose firms based on trust. Capital is always at risk, but wealth managers and investment funds are trusted with their money because of their expertise and assurances. If firms suffer IT infrastructure failures or data breaches, it jeopardises trust and customers are likely to look elsewhere. If an individual’s identity, money or data is lost because of a breach, it could be ruinous for that firm.
Customers also want to access their money at any time, wherever they are in the world, so uptime is critical to ensure constant connectivity and communication. Also, the risk of failure is greater in the financial services sector, as it’s always a prime target for cyber-attacks, so security is a high priority for any respectable firm.
But as good as business continuity may have been before the pandemic, the disruption it caused was unprecedented. IT disaster recovery planning has required a major review.
How the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted IT disaster recovery planning
A good IT disaster recovery plan should account for worst-case scenarios and anticipate data loss, damage to hardware, loss of connectivity and more.
With cybercrime as big a threat as ever, it’s something that all businesses should have in place. Whilst most will account for disasters such as flooding, fire and theft, not many could have anticipated the effect that a global pandemic would have. After all, Covid-19 didn’t pose an immediate threat to IT infrastructure - a different kind of virus - rather the threat was the instability caused by a sudden change in the way businesses had to operate. For companies in capital markets, many of whom were based in global financial centres, this was a huge problem.
The impact of remote working on business continuity
One of the key challenges posed by the pandemic was how to maintain key business processes and communication during lockdowns and social distancing, etc.
Many companies didn’t have the infrastructure in place to facilitate easy communication between their remote teams and customers, whilst maintaining previous levels of productivity. IT disaster recovery planning was in unprecedented new territory.
In-person communication and meetings became obsolete. Everything had to be done using remote conferencing software. And firms had to act fast to meet new technology and communication demands and leverage cloud-based solutions.
Keeping business running during the pandemic relied on having the right software, fast adoption and a workforce that was adept at using new solutions. The security of these tools was also paramount, especially as they were now being used in a remote environment.
Security protocols relevant for the office needed to be transferred to a home working environment. Whilst the pandemic didn’t pose an immediate threat to cyber security, there was an increase in cyberattacks seeking to exploit the vulnerabilities of a remote workforce.
Another big concern for businesses in capital markets during the pandemic was whether home networks could handle the demand being placed on them. Resiliency is critical for a sector that deals with information that changes by the second. How could this be ensured?
What are businesses in the Capital Markets doing in response to improve their disaster recovery capabilities?
In response to the pandemic, numerous measures and strategies are being put in place to future-proof infrastructure and trading communications. Let’s explore how firms operating in the capital markets are working to improve IT disaster recovery planning.
Utilising remote cloud-based solutions is one of the obvious adjustments being made industry-wide. Numerous SaaS solutions are now central to the daily running of many businesses in the space.
Risk assessments will now include the possibility of a similar event occurring. The threat of global pandemics and contagion is not over. We have experienced similar threats in the past, as this guide from TechTarget highlights. There’s every chance that we could face something similar in the future, even if it’s not to the same degree as this one.
If data backup procedures weren’t already in your IT disaster recovery planning, they will be now. The possible difference is the greater reliance on cloud-based and distributed storage and the ability to access this remotely.
Having distributed architecture for your servers is also essential to ensure there is no single point of failure. Centralised management is another strategy that means no matter where your endpoints are located, they can be managed in one place. Security protocols can be shared throughout the organisation.
The importance of cloud-based solutions and unified communications in IT disaster recovery planning
As in any crisis, there were big winners and losers when it came to the global markets. Providers of cloud-based business solutions or communication technology were certainly one of the areas to thrive.
One of the main responses to lockdowns and isolation was to embrace software that helped businesses operate remotely. Many of these solutions already existed but were not as widely adopted.
Whether it’s unified communications software that allows businesses to communicate across teams, share information and collaborate on tasks remotely, or cloud-based storage and productivity tools, most people’s entire workload now has remote capability scope.
For those in capital markets, there are numerous critical applications, so it’s essential that they can run in the cloud and be accessed anywhere. There’s also the need to communicate concurrently without relying on an office-based server or telecoms system.
While most businesses have returned to the office, the remote solutions will likely stay in place as they provide people with increased flexibility and mobility. With countless people experiencing a work/life away from large financial centres, many may choose to stay remote - at least in some form.
According to PWC’s Remote Work Survey, more than 70% of financial services employers said they found the work-from-home experience successful or very successful, whilst 86% of employees support the idea of working from home at least one day a week (with 35% keen on remote work as a full-time option).
Summary: Digital transformation in capital markets is vital for effective IT disaster recovery plans
There are few sectors more reliant on uptime than capital markets. It’s essential that those working in this space always have access to reliable software and communications tools, wherever they are based and on whatever device.
The pandemic caused a seismic disruption (and, in turn, a vast opportunity) that has changed how businesses work forever. It’s unlikely that a company’s data and infrastructure will ever be again tied to a single physical location. Instead, businesses should always be ready to continue unhindered by having a workforce who can do their jobs from wherever. Take a look at our article on the on-premise vs cloud unified communications deployment decision
It’s time to adjust your IT disaster recovery planning to include a clear roadmap for what happens when a similar event to the pandemic occurs and how cloud-based solutions will enable you to maintain business continuity and resilience.
For a more in-depth analysis of this change, we highly recommend checking out our whitepaper entitled ‘Exploring the Growing Need for Digital Transformation in Capital Markets.’
Speakerbus is a leading provider of seamless trading communications solutions for traders, and we offer UCaaS (unified communications as a service). Learn more about how UCaaS can reduce your trading communication costs.