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2015 Planning: BCP – Phase 1 – Getting started

2015 Planning:  BCP – Phase 1 – Getting started

I know I wrote that ‘Recover or Resume’ was the question….but the what’s the question that supports the need to begin with?


This is what Phase 1 is all about in this process.  Now remember what I said, EVERY business needs to plan for this.  EVERY business will do this differently and at different scales and levels.  After all, what constitutes a disaster for some, may not for others….well, we’ll just let that sit for a bit and stew…forward we go!

The exercise process to complete this first phase is really pretty simple.  Think of it as a brainstorming session with your department heads, VP’s, Directors and Managers, HR…everyone who is responsible for a specific operation or business flow area.  The biggest contention will be how long or short should the list should be for your company?  That’s actually pretty easy to answer – EVERY company needs to consider the same categories of disaster, but not everyone will have the same list, so remember that.

So what’s the list, you say?  That’s what the brainstorming session is all about.  Let your imaginations run wild, and yet stay focused on the item you can truly control or reasonably react to.

Lets start with Acts of God:  Floods, earthquakes, tornado’s, hurricanes, lightning, rain and even death.  So some of you may think now that we don’t have to worry about floods where you are, or some of the other natural disasters that can occur.  You would be right, but you can’t just consider the ‘disaster recovery’ part of the BCP when you go through these phases.  You MUST stay focused and include ‘business resumption’ and business process as well.  While you may not be anywhere near a flood area or region, perhaps one of your suppliers is.  If  they get hit, you can and will be affected, so you need to be able to plan on those possibilities as well.

Next, one of my favorites – Human Resources.  As we at SingerLewak design, implement, support and manage computer networks, and after 20+ years in this practice, the realization that operations stability sits more on the users than the equipment much of the time, has been the hardest to swallow.  Don’t underestimate your employees!  Sometimes users can be malicious, sometimes things happen accidentally.  From viruses to mistakenly deleted files, to pictures and music folders running your file server space down to nothing, to someone even stealing data or customer records before they leave and go to another job, you have to control where your intellectual property sits.  Also, that death thing….if your operations executive goes missing for whatever reason, is there anyone who can fill those shoes?  If your CFO breaks his neck skiing and retires – is there enough documentation and other knowledge immediately available to resume those processes?

Power – knowledge is, but cars and power poles don’t mix.  Worse yet – without power, you have no computers, maybe no phones, certainly very little light, so how do you work and function in that scenario?  Power issues can be combined with Acts of God, of course, further compounding the event into a possible business ender when all is said and done.

Accidents – not just the drunk driver, but that spilled cup of coffee on a laptop or keyboard?  Can that user get back to work fast enough to not affect business flow?  Is there data on that computer that you cannot recover?   When the laptop slips out of your hands as you take it out of your laptop bag at a client location for a sales presentation, do you have a plan to recover and resume your plan?  What about saving all of your data on an encrypted USB key…remember to remove it from your pocket before those pants go in the wash!!

If there is a regional outage or event – where can you go to get Internet access?  Computer resources?  Personnel?  Remember, everyone will have their personal emergencies when regional events happen.  The instinct is to take of yourself first, then others…then maybe go to work!  Ouch on that one!

So I hope you’ve got he idea on Phase 1.  The best person to invite to the brainstorm, by the way, is Murphy and his laws!  Anything that can go wrong, will…so plan reasonably!

Next phase on deck?  It’s all about RISK!

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