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Respect him or not, Mao Tse-tung had it right when he said, “The only real defense is an active defense.” Businesses have taken this literally and have adopted Business Continuity Plans (BCP) to ensure that when a disaster strikes they are ready with an active plan. Many of them are prepared technology wise, but the other assets may not be so ready.
Here are six key non-IT functions and processes that need to be in place to ensure your company is ready to effectively execute your BCP.
Easy to use plans
Many continuity plans have been developed mainly for the IT department, as such, they can be a little complicated to understand and follow if employees don’t have a technical background. You should aim to have a plan that’s easy to follow and can be understood by all employees.
Remember that your plan encompasses all facets of your organization. It’s crucial that every employee knows their role and the relevant actions to take when the plan is executed. To do this, you need to ensure that all employees have access to a copy of the plan and any changes or updates are clearly communicated.
Beyond communication, it’s important to conduct regular tests, with every quarter being sufficient. The tests should be as real as possible and span all departments within the organization. This will ensure that employees are aware of how they, and the systems, will react under duress. It’ll be beneficial to your business if the first time the employees execute the plan isn’t during an emergency.
Short term and long term plans
Your BCP should consist of both long term and short term elements that can be easily adapted to meet changing business environments and the emergence of new threats. You should aim for an even mix of short and long term solutions that cover as wide a variety of situations as possible.
Ensure buy-in from all levels
If you’re in the process of instituting a BCP you should ensure that the whole organization is onboard with the plan. If an employee is unsure about the validity of a part of the plan, take the time to find out why and ask for suggestions. An uninformed or uncooperative employee could be the difference between survival and failure in a disaster situation.
Update and Review
After every test, staff turnover and technological update, you should review the plans and make changes if necessary. Essentially, if anything in the company changes, review and update the plan. Remember: just because you have an effective plan this month, doesn’t mean it’ll be so in the future.
Continuity plans are only as strong as the weakest link. In an emergency, the last thing you want is an employee following the wrong process or be unsure of what they should be doing. If this happens, you could see an exponential growth in recovery time and costs. We’re ready to tell you more, so please contact us if you would like to talk continuity planning.
Published on 16th May 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.