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Business Continuity Planning and quantum computing

Posted by on November 28, 2016.

I must admit that this topic is one that really gets me excited. Yes, other aspects of security can benefit from quantum computing, and the job can be eased or made more cost-effective. But in emergency planning, you can actually save lives, and reduce suffering.

As with risk analysis and management, so business impact analysis (BIA) is a difficult and laborious aspect of business continuity and disaster recovery studies. The same type of least path calculation that can aid risk and safeguard analysis will assist in this area as well. Both least path and simulation analysis can be used to find functions with a high concentration of business dependence, as well as single points of failure.

I do volunteer work in emergency management. Business continuity planning and disaster response planning are very similar functions. A lot of work in all three areas concerns the allocation of resources. In a major disaster, you need to assess your placement of resources: they need to be close enough to be called upon, but not so close that they are destroyed. Those risk calculations take an enormous amount of time, and, with traditional computing, really can’t be of any benefit under the time pressure of an approaching storm or wildfire.

In the medium term, quantum computing applications, along with various forms of artificial intelligence, will likely be able to guide and assist decisions about the optimal assignment of resources to address disasters. This will probably be initially used by governmental agencies in managing large scale disasters, with capabilities and systems being made available to regional governments as the technology develops. Very soon thereafter the costs and capabilities will be within range of large corporations (initially possibly on a contract or service basis) for the management of disaster recovery and response, and the benefits, in terms of damage mitigation and recovery speed, will probably be immediate. With some advance preparation, quantum computing applications will be able to assist in the management of emergencies in real time.

Simulation will also assist with the testing of business continuity plans. We already use simulation tests, but on a very limited level. Quantum simulations will be able to assess a very wide range of conditions and possibilities, and to determine combinations of events and situations that may overwhelm our prepared plans.

For those companies using quantum computing, there will be considerations for continuity of operations for these special devices. For example, given the nature and operating environment of the equipment created to date, damage may result if the power and/or cooling fails. In the near term, it is probable that a mere loss of power will result in damage to, or loss of, the computing elements themselves, and a requirement to recreate sections of the environment.


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Submitted in: Expert Views, Insights, Perspectives, Rob Slade, Security |