Utilities

Business Continuity and IT Disaster Recovery for Utilities

Avalution has helped utilities large and small successfully overcome their business continuity and IT disaster recovery challenges. If you’re looking for assistance with building or improving your business continuity program, contact us today.

COMPLEX ORGANIZATIONS, COMPETING PRIORITIES

Utilities are unique; they often contain multiple cultures, priorities, technology organizations, and levels of business continuity maturity within one organization. Overall, most do an excellent job of protecting assets and responding to incidents, but oftentimes do not place the same emphasis on internal functions. The challenge is establishing an internal facing business continuity program while acknowledging and leveraging the prevalent service and problem resolution culture. Experience has taught our team how to efficiently navigate and succeed in this complex environment. We have built plans in support of critical grid operations, scheduling, and trading functions, as well as internal business and support organizations. Are you ready to get started? Let's connect!

TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION

Transmission and distribution functions tend to be engineering driven and externally focused on service delivery. They exist in a highly regulated world with entities such as NERC requiring in-depth security and systems resiliency. Their daily business focuses on service and responding to outages is part of the core business. The challenge in this environment includes adding a focus on internal needs to continue operations, ensuring that non-control network business systems are properly protected. Often this is accomplished through tabletop exercises that highlight losing inventory, engineering, and other internal support groups.

TRADING, SCHEDULING, AND SUPPORT

Outside of the control room and transmission/distribution, activities are much more business oriented and the technology environments are often much less regulated than grid or distribution system operations. While the majority of utilities have continuity strategies in place for critical functions, the maturity of both IT recovery and business continuity planning is often lower than the more regulated activities. Common challenges include developing a business focused program in an environment that historically has been dominated by engineering and regulatory concerns, and leveraging mature program elements to establish an organization wide program that maintains regulatory compliance while integrating business continuity governance and best practices.

PROJECT EXAMPLES

  • Independent Electric System OperatorPerformed a comprehensive assessment of business continuity activities against industry regulations (i.e. NERC CIP) and best practices (i.e. ICS, ISO) in order to develop a road map for future enhancement activities. Established a Business Continuity Program and Steering Committee through charter, policy and standard operating procedures in order to communicate future business continuity expectations to the organization. Performed a BIA and risk assessment of critical departments, improved or developed plan documentation, provided awareness and training to personnel, exercised plan documentation, and provided recommendations for the Program’s continual execution, maintenance and improvement. Result – Regulatory compliance and the implementation of a best-in-class Business Continuity Program, anchored by policy and standard operating procedures, that enable the continuous execution, maintenance and improvement of critical activities that strengthen organizational resiliency.
  • Electric UtilityPerformed a third party (supplier) business continuity and IT disaster recovery program assessment on behalf of the client. The assessment documented the outsource partner’s recovery capabilities, enabled the parties to clarify business continuity expectations, and provided a road map to improve performance. Result – Clarified and mutually agreed to business continuity expectations and a road map for how to achieve expected capabilities.

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If you’re looking for assistance with building or improving your program, contact us today!


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