The severe weather across the USA has significantly impacted the ability to continue normal business and the ability of our staff to continue to come to work safely. As a proactive measure, BCP programs should have been activated well in advance of the approaching storm and contingency plans activated for the critical processes of the organization.
A number of proactive measures should have been taken:
- Ability to Receive and Assess Weather Updates and National/Local Forecasts
- Stakeholder Communications to Internal and External Parties Advising of the Event, Frequency of Update and How the Organization Will Respond to Minimize Impact
- Assessment of the Supply Chain, Business Cycle and Impacts the Weather Will Have Upon Both
- Review of the Business Process Criticality List
- Determination as to What Personnel are Critical versus Who Can Stay Home with No Impact to the Business
- Activation of the Continuity Plans for the Critical Business Units of the Organization
- Activation of the BCP Status Line and Website for All Employees to Receive Current Status
- Activation of the Work at Home Program Where Possible
- Activation and Preparation of the Physical and Virtual Crisis Management Command Center
- Decisions as to Policy of Staff Who Cannot Get to Work and or Need to Take Care of Family
- Ability to Maintain Contact with Staff and Receive Updates
- Acceptance of Risk if Data Center Backups Cannot Go Offsite (if data replication is not used)
- Postpone IT Changes Until the Weather has Subsided
- Travel Advisories to Traveling Staff
- Facilities Plan to Maintain Operation and Security of Facilities
The recent severe weather scenarios will bring to light how fragile many continuity programs are in today’s organization. Is the network robust enough to support remote access from a large employee population? Do employees have access to perform remote access work? Can we determine what the status of our employees is and who can work/not work? What business processes cannot work from home and how must they be addressed to ensure continued operations? How do we address employees who cannot leave offices and must stay on? Can IT effectively remote monitor their data center? Additionally, the need for an enterprise wide stakeholder notification system will be an item that will be tossed around after the snow melts.
The BCP program must be proactive and be activated in advance of the severe weather. A good program has all of the tools in place to support the organization and minimize the impact. Good luck to all.
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 on MHA, contact Michael Herrera at herrera at mha-it dot com or visit www.mha-it.com.