We have all been involved in long, drawn out BIA interviews that put everybody to sleep and / or make everyone cranky. At MHA, we have worked to develop a process that is the least invasive, achieves our objectives and takes the least amount of time to get the information our clients require to have a BIA that is consistent with industry best practices and standards. Our BIA interview process requires the business unit to spend 1 to 1.5 hours on pre-work and 2.5 hours in the BIA interview. A total of 4 hours or less is all that is required from each business unit to complete a comprehensive BIA. What keeps others from getting it done this way is simple, the process is made too difficult, lengthy and hard to understand.
- Create a questionnaire using MS Excel that can be easily manipulated, exported and does calculations. Our tool evaluates the responses and calculates RTOs and RPOs.
- Weight your dollar and non-dollar impact categories in order of priority to the organization to ensure business units cannot skew the prioritization.
- Only ask the minimum questions in your BIA questionnaire that you need such as department information, processes, computer systems, legal/regulatory, dependencies and vital records. Remember this is not the recovery plan!
- Ask the business units to complete 1 page pre-work information for you such as department information, peak times, business processes and computer systems.
- Pre-load completed pre-work into your questionnaire. This will greatly speed up the process.
- Use two people to complete the interview; one to facilitate and one to take the information from the interview.
- If you are not good at facilitating, find someone who is good at it.
- Create a script for the interview
- Don’t let the interviewees stray into minutia; you will lose focus and time.
After hundreds of these interviews, its now a repeatable process that can used at any type of client. Remember, the BIA is designed to determine criticality and feed information to the recovery strategy phase; its not designed to collect all of the data for the recovery plan. What you want interviewees to say at that end is, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was and I learned alot!’.
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.