IT Pandemic Planning – How Will Your IT Organization Continue to Support Itself and the Business?

Michael Herrera

Does your Information Technology function have a sound Pandemic plan?    For many of our clients, IT has some of the most dramatic reliance on key individuals.  We have clients with hundreds of IT employees and those with less than 50, yet there still remains a high level of dependence on key personnel either due to layoffs, size of the department or just plain lack of bench depth.

With that in mind, the IT pandemic plan must be comprehensive and include key components:

  • A list of Any Open Items that will Cause the Plan to Fail or Not Perform Optimally (e.g., Lack of Laptops, Network Bandwidth, Personnel Depth, etc.)
  • Well Defined Criteria for Activation of the Plan Based on Severity of the Pandemic
  • Clear Understanding of the Mission Critical Functions of IT that Must Operate at All Times
  • Documented Ability to Remotely Monitor and Operate the Data Center  
  • Sufficient Laptops for Critical Personnel with VPN Access
  • A Data Network That Can Support  Remote Network Bandwidth
  • Pre-Agreed Upon Deviations to Production Operation Changes as Severity  of the Pandemic Increases
  • Key Documentation in Event Key Personnel Are Out
  • Ability to Forward Phones to Home Seamlessly
  • Communication Tools (Conference Bridges, Web Based Meetings, etc.)

 

In organizations with small IT populations, activation of the pandemic plan may occur before the rest of the organization as a preemptive measure to insulate itself.   Additionally, management must agree upon on deviations to normal operation of the production environment to include incident management, change control, problem management, data backups, project implementation, etc.  IT should regularly hold days for staff to work for from and validate the plan.

Lastly,  if the IT plan is not bulletproof, its ability to support the business is clearly compromised.

 

 About MHA:  MHA Consulting, with its decade-long track record, is a proven leader in business continuity planning, disaster recovery planning, IT best practices and data center moves and relocations. Every day, MHA helps protect trillions of dollars of global-market assets and top companies around the world rely on MHA services for the continuity of their business. For more information, please visit: http://staging.mha-it.com or contact Patrick Potter at potter@mha-it.com