Project Objectives

Michael Herrera

 

You have gone through the project definition stage, finding your problem statement, the mission statement, high level requirements, constraint and an optimal solution. Now it is time that you develop project objectives. The objectives for a BC/DR plan can be very narrow or very wide, depending on your company’s specific situation. In this post we will discuss some of the types of BC/DR plans that can be created. From this, you can develop specific objectives suitable to your company.

Business Continuity Plan: Focuses on sustaining the company’s business activities, particularly those related to revenue generation and management of corporate obligations. BCP can be written for a specific business process or for all key business processes. In most cases, a BCP addresses the long-term recovery processes needed for the company to resume normal operations. And in almost every company your BCP will have an IT component since almost every company operating today utilized IT in some extent.

Continuity of Operations Plan: Focuses on restoring mission-critical operations on an alternate location and performing these functions for an extended period of time. A continuity of operations plan might be developed as the overarching project and the BC and DR plans may be considered sub-plans. IT operations and alternate IT arrangements clearly are an important part of any continuity of operations plan.

Disaster Recovery Plan: This plan focuses on restoration of key business processes immediately following an emergency or disaster. Unlike a BCP, the DR plan typically does not include processes and procedures for ensuring the continuing and ongoing operations of the company long-term. Within the DR plan, there should be a section listing the technological needs of the company during an emergency and a section on the initial steps needs to restore all affected IT systems.  It will also include the identification and specifications for an alternate operations site following an emergency.

Crisis Communication Plan: This should be developed either as part of your BC/DR plan or as a separate but related project. Communicating effectively during a crisis can make a difference in determining whether the company ultimately succeeds or fails. It also can help employees maintain a sense of calm and order by giving them important information they might not have access to otherwise. Planning and providing consistent and clear communications for employees and external parties helps organize recovery efforts and helps reduce some of the anxiety employees face when a disaster hits their company.

Cyber Incident Response Plan (CIRP): Your firm should consider a CIRP as part of the DR portion of the BC/DR plan. The CIRP establishes procedures to immediately address cyber attacks against the organization. Procedures to identify the nature and extent of the attack, the ability to mitigate and stop the damage, and to recover from and resume IT operations should all be included. Like the BC and DR plans, the CIRP requires a specialized team that is trained to quickly and effectively take action upon discovery of a cyber incident.

Occupant Emergency Plan: This plan is specifically related to the building’s occupants. It includes how to safely exit the building in the event of a fire; where to go outside or where to congregate inside a building if the best option is to shelter-in-place, it also incudes details about contacting emergency personnel. This plan is typically part of the Facilities department, but in the absence of such a department, you should include these types of plans in your BC/DR plan.

 

About
Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.