Preparing For a Hurricane: Business Continuity Planning
Natural disasters often strike with little to no warning, but their operational and economic impact to an organisation can be devastating. On average, we see 12 tropical storms, but this year, we’ve seen 13 (so far!). These natural disasters highlight the importance of business continuity planning and a reminder for firms to leverage the calm before the storm to ensure that business continuity plans address key impacts of a disaster event to help ensure they can continue with operations.
Following are some key business continuity preparation questions you should consider:
A business continuity plan typically identifies a few key individuals who will activate at the plan. Will these individuals be available to execute the necessary steps? Often the BCP owners are also members of the management team who travel frequently. Now is the time to ensure they will be available to execute their BCP responsibilities.
What will be the criteria for allowing employees to work from home? Who will have the power to make that decision? You may want to consider allowing employees to work from home a few days prior to make sure they can assess the systems. Testing before the bad weather arrives is critical.
Do you have enough Citrix or VPN licenses to accommodate the number of employees working from home?
How will you communicate business continuity plans to employees during off hours? Will you use a call tree or an automated notification system?
If your office loses power or employees lose power at their homes, is there a central meeting location from which they can work? Hotels typically have generators and Internet/wireless access so they are ideal alternative employee meeting spots. Budget permitting, book a meeting room from which employees can work. Be sure to have a list of target hotels so you’re not scrambling to find a location at the last minute.
What type of employee assistance will you offer should a catastrophic event occur? How will employees access this assistance (i.e. call HR or go to third-party)?
Which employees are traveling and may be stranded in remote locations due to airport or other transportation related closings? What type of assistance will be provided to them?
Finally, remember that clear communication is critical to ensure all your preparation pays off.
Additional Resources on Business Continuity Planning:
Photo Credit: Google
Editor’s Note: This Article has been updated and was originally published in September 2010