Employees in our Boston, Stamford and New York offices all felt it. Businesses and residents are still reeling over it. The 5.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Virginia today was felt up and down the East Coast, in a part of the country mostly unaccustomed to this type of natural disaster.
But like the tornado outbreak across the country earlier this summer, today’s earthquake is a reminder that a business can never be too prepared for a disruption. This is why we encourage all of our clients to create a business continuity plan that clearly and explicitly outlines business processes if something such as an earthquake strikes.
Business continuity exercises are an essential, ongoing initiative. Your plan must be regularly tested using predefined strategies, which detail the conditions and frequency for testing applications and business functions. The testing strategy should include testing objectives and associated measurement metrics, scenario scripts and test schedules.
A full test should be completed at least once a year, with less disruptive testing of subcomponents performed throughout the year. If a certain part or system that is to be tested depends upon another part, then both should be tested at the same time. This will allow for a full understanding of interdependencies.
Proper training is vital when it comes to BCP planning. Procedures in training should be considered part of the regular new hire orientation if they have any role in implementing the plan. Key personnel should undergo training frequently enough that they are intimately familiar with the procedures that they will have to carry out under the plan.
Finally, business continuity plans are living documents that must be updated, at a minimum, every six months to help ensure that they account for changes within your firm, as well as evolving threat scenarios. As part of the maintenance process, your firm must conduct annual comprehensive business impact analyses or risk having an outdated plan that does not appropriately map to and protect your firm’s business recoverability requirements.
If you would like to speak with one of our Certified Business Continuity Professionals, please contact us.