Got BCP?

by Scott Owens, PMP, CBCP on August 29th, 2011

In my experience as a business continuity planning professional, I have generally seen three ways in which organizations start down the path of business continuity (BC) or disaster recovery (DR) planning.

The first is usually through legislation, regulation, or government mandate. Those companies in regulated industries such as healthcare, insurance, banking/financial, and energy have various requirements that specify a need for BC and DR planning. More often than not, these regulations do not specify exactly how this must be accomplished, but provide an end game. Additionally, most industry trade groups have some level of expectation regarding disaster planning. 

The second way that real BC or DR planning work typically starts inside a company is when the corporate executives understand that managing risk is an important way to help keep their business healthy. These types of organizations tend to want to have an internal expert in this domain, and invest their people’s time in education and training.

And finally, some firms start the BC or DR planning process after a disaster strikes their organization or the company of a close friend or colleague. Seeing the devastation, understanding the financial or other loss, and feeling the personal affects has the unique power to motivate people into action. But often, at this point it is too late.

Don’t rely on choosing option #3. If this is your strategy, you might not even have the opportunity to recover. Make sure you have a current, realistic business continuity and disaster recovery plan, and make sure it has been tested recently.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Best Practices, Strategy, BCP Life Cycle


S. Michele Cohen - August 30th, 2011 at 10:20 PM
What role do you find succession planning has in BC/DR planning? It seems that some of the natural disasters and other business crises you touch on might naturally lead to the need for temporary or permanent senior leadership transitions. From the inside of an organization sometimes a leadership team feels too close to the problem or crisis to make sound executive decisions under pressure.
Scott Owens, PMP, CBCP - August 31st, 2011 at 1:46 PM
Thanks for your insightful comments, Michele. You are right in that this is a process that is often overlooked by organizations. Our approach is to start by designing the entire recovery process and all related procedures and documentation with the expectation that the person primarily responsible for the functional area is not available. We don't design it for just anyone, but rather plan for a backup role (or maybe multiple backups) that is reasonably qualified to perform the duties required. And you might have separate short and long term strategies, depending on what types of disasters for which you are planning.

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