ITIL IT Service Continuity Management | ITIL Foundation | ITSM

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In this tutorial, we will discuss the ITIL IT Service Continuity Management Process (ITIL ITSCM). In this chapter, you will learn about the Definition, Scope, Objective, Activities, Stages, and Sub-Process of IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) - ITIL V3 Process.

What is ITIL IT Service Continuity Management Process? 

IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) is one of the well-defined main processes under Service Design process group of the ITIL best practice framework.

As defined in ITIL, ITSCM prepares the organization to recover from disasters and major emergencies to maintain the business continuity.

It helps the organization in two ways (i) by doing preventive planning for disasters and emergencies, and (ii) by doing periodic exercises for the handling of disasters and emergencies.

As stated in ITIL V3, the implementation of ITSCM has to be aligned with organization's Business Continuity Management.

ITIL IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) Scope: 

For a Service Provider, IT Service Continuity is an essential part of the warranty of a service. If service continuity cannot be maintained and/or restored within SLA, then the business may not be able to get the full advantage from the Service.

ITIL IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) focuses only on those events that the business identifies as significant enough to be treated as a Disaster. Any less significant events are taken care of by the incident management process.

ITIL ITSCM process is tightly bound with other ITIL processes, such as Availability Management, Capacity Management, Service Level Management to access and plan for the resources required to maintain the desired service level.

ITIL Continuity Management also works closely with Risk Management and  Information Security Management to access the potensial threats to the service continuity and take preventive actions.

Moreover, in case of occurance of any major incidents, ITSCM has to coordinates with Incident Management to ensure that proper steps are being taken to resove the issue as quickly as possible.

ITIL IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) Objective: 

The primary objective of ITIL IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) is to manage risks that could seriously impact IT services.

The ITSCM (ITIL V3) process is responsible for planning and reducing the risk of a disaster to an acceptable level so that the IT service provider can meet the minimum agreed Service Levels under any situation.

ITIL Continuity Management also ensures that the service recovery plans are aligned with the overall Business Continuity Management plans.

IT Service Continuity Management Stages or Activities: 

Broadly IT Service Continuity Management process has four stages or activities. Those activities or stages of ITIL ITSCM are as follows:

i) Initiation:

Initiation includes defining policy, scope, terms of reference, project planning and resource allocation for ITSCM strategy and plans.

ii) Requirements and Strategy:

In this step, business impact analysis and risk assessment are performed for each of the IT services to identify the assets and their threats & vulnerabilities. And also priorities are assigned to the Services that are to be recovered.

iii) Implementation:

This stage includes evaluation of recovery options, planning the risk reduction, executing risk reduction measures, and testing the implementation of contingency plan.

iv) Ongoing Operation:

This Operation stage takes care of testing, reviewing, and revising the ITSCM plans on a regular interval, change control of ITSCM plans, and also responsible for user education and awareness.

ITIL IT Service Continuity Management Stages and Activities

ITIL IT Service Continuity Management Sub-Process: 

According to ITIL v3, IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) Process has four sub-processes. Below are the objectives and short descriptions of those sub-processes, followed by a diagram illustrating the ITIL Continuity Management Process Flow:

1) ITSCM Support:

This sub-process makes sure that all IT personnel with responsibilities for fighting disasters are aware of their exact duties and they have instant access to all relevant information when a disaster occurs.

2) Design Services for Continuity:

This sub-process is used to design appropriate and financially viable continuity mechanisms and procedures to meet the agreed business continuity targets. This includes the design of risk reduction procedures and recovery plans.

3) ITSCM Training and Testing:

This ensures periodic testing of all preventive measures and recovery mechanisms designed for disaster recovery. It also ensures that appropriate training on disaster recovery is given to every IT Staff.

4) ITSCM Review:

This sub-process is used to verify that the ITSCM testing is being done as per schedule. And also to ensures that the present disaster prevention measures are still in line with the business requirement.

ITIL IT Service Continuity Management ITSCM Process Flow

Important Terminologies & Definitions: 

Below lists describes the important terminologies and definitions used in ITIL IT Service Continuity Management Process:

Availability/ ITSCM/ Security Testing Schedule:

  • A schedule for the periodic testing of all availability, continuity and security mechanisms, jointly regulated by Availability Management, IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM), and Information Security Management.

Business Continuity Plan (BPC):

  • It describes the Plan or approach to ensure the continuity of Vital Business Functions (VBF) in the case of disaster events.
  • The BPC is prepared by the business continuity management team and serves as a reference point for producing the IT Service Continuity Strategy.

Disaster Recovery Invocation Guideline:

  • A document produced by ITIL IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM - ITIL V3) with detailed instructions and steps to be followed in case any disaster occurs.
  • This guideline also defines the first steps to be taken by 1st Level Support in case they suspect about disaster occurrence.

Index of Disaster-Relevant Information:

  • An index of all information that is relevant in the event of disasters.
  • This document is maintained and circulated by ITIL ITSCM process to all stakeholders who are responsible for disaster recovery.

Vital Business Function (VBF):

  • VBF refers to business-critical elements that are supported by an IT service.

Service Failure Analysis (SFA):

  • It is a structured approach to identifying causes of service interruption.

IT Service Continuity Report:

  • The IT Service Continuity Report is created at regular intervals and provides other Service Management processes and IT Management with information related to disaster prevention & recovery.

IT Service Continuity Strategy:

  • The IT Service Continuity Strategy contains an outline of the strategic approaches to be done to maintain the continuity of vital services in the case of disaster events.
  • ITSCM Strategy includes a list of Vital Business Functions (VBF), and risk reduction or recovery options for those functions.
  • The IT Service Continuity Strategy should be aligned with the Business Continuity Strategy.

IT Service Continuity Plan:

  • IT Service Continuity Plan is the detailed step-by-step disaster recovery procedure created on the basis of ITSCM Strategy.
  • ITSCM Plan describes specific instructions on, how the continuity of service would be maintained at the time of specific disaster events and services.
  • It specifies the measures to enhance the resilience of services and describes how to effectively respond to a disaster event.

Recovery Plan: 

  • Recovery Plans are created jointly by Availability Management and IT Service Continuity Management.
  • The plans contain detailed instructions for returning specific services and/or components to a working state from a Major failure.

Test Report:

  • A Test Report provides a summary of testing and assessment activities performed by any ITSM process.

Learning-Tips-mod-blue-35Special Note:
There is a slight difference between IT Service Continuity Plan and Recovery Plan.

IT Service Continuity Plan ensure service continuation by providing a redundant or alternative service at the time of disaster, whereas, the Recovery Plan works on restoring the primary service to its working state.

ITIL IT Service Continuity Management Roles and Responsibilities: 

IT Service Continuity Manager:

  • This role is the Process Owner of ITIL IT Service Continuity Management Process.
  • The IT Service Continuity Manager is responsible for managing risks that could seriously impact IT services.
  • This Role also guarantees to provide minimum agreed service level at the time of disaster, by reducing the risk to an acceptable level and planning for the recovery of IT services.
  • To achieve the above objective, IT Service Continuity Manager works hand-in-hand with Risk Manager & Availability Manager.

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