Real-Life Uses of BCP (Business Continuity Planning)

Real-Life Uses of BCP (Business Continuity Planning)

Think about all the time and energy we spend preparing for emergency events. We develop strategies and plans, generate documentation, identify risks, and work to mitigate those risks. We’re going to help you answer those internal and external questions about how BCP provided concrete value or prevented an outage.  In this blog post, we’re offering you five real-life client examples where business continuity planning efforts have been utilized.

1. IT Emergency Management

Many organizations have crisis management teams and plans that they only use during their annual tabletop exercise. That’s not always the case. We work with organizations that utilize their IT Emergency Management team whenever there is a potential issue or non-DR outage. They often let us know, “By the way, we activated our IT Emergency Management team due to X outage.” They mention that using the team in these situations helps to address potential risks and coordinate efforts better than if those efforts were performed ad-hoc. The plan provides consideration of items often forgotten and allows for more rapid action to restore services.

2. Technical Recovery Plans

During planning for a complete data center outage for significant maintenance, our client utilized recovery plans and RTO listings to provide the dependencies and startup and shutdown orders. RTO listings also have information on who needs to be involved in recovery activities across the organization, including the non-IT departments. There was still work for planning, but the base information was already there and saved considerable time in data gathering.

3. Third Party Contact Lists

A critical part of the BCP process is to perform a vendor assessment. To do that, you need a list of vendors related to needs and efficiency. After a BCP is created, when organizations seek out a listing of critical vendors, they find that the list already exists. Information regarding what goods or services the vendor provides and why that particular vendor is used is also helpful and should be readily available.

4. Exercises and Risk Assessments

Sometimes necessary maintenance or fixes occur as a result of an exercise scenario or risk assessments. Risk assessments often provide findings that are not addressed due to time constraints. For one of our clients, our exercise scenario included an unauthorized physical access due to gaps in procedures or maintenance. Once the client experienced a potential risk through an exercise and discussion, they had the impact awareness to allocate the time to correct the issue.

5. Time and Effort

We know that organizations where risk management or BCP groups have helped resolve business issues have developed trust and better working relationships with business units, vendors, and individuals. Inside many organizations that we work with, the BCP and risk departments are viewed as allies and problem solvers by their peers. Their colleagues look forward to participating in BCP exercises. They’re happy to assist with risk and BCP activities because they know the work will help them relieve their pain points. Not only does this help internal business relationships, but it also addresses business issues and makes the organization stronger.

We’ve gathered this information through years of offering business continuity planning support. We’re always glad to hear that our work is so useful to a client. What’s more invigorating is when they explain how it helped them. BCP can provide a great deal of business value. It is not only pure risk reduction or outage preparation but support for day-to-day operations and non-BCP projects. Remember, you are the business. When we, as business continuity professionals, look at our responsibilities to help move our organization forward in all its needs and functions, we can see that we provide tremendous value to the company.

Richard Long is one of MHA’s practice team leaders for Technology and Disaster Recovery related engagements. He has been responsible for the successful execution of MHA business continuity and disaster recovery engagements in industries such as Energy & Utilities, Government Services, Healthcare, Insurance, Risk Management, Travel & Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Education. Prior to joining MHA, Richard held Senior IT Director positions at PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) and Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT) and has been a senior leader across all disciplines of IT. He has successfully led international and domestic disaster recovery, technology assessment, crisis management and risk mitigation engagements.

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