The time has gone when a “compliant” business continuity plan is sufficient evidence of an organisation’s ability to prevent and prepare for downtime and disasters. Research by Sungard Availability Services shows that 75% of such plans aren’t used at the time of a disruption or during a test. This is not surprising. Compliant plans developed to “tick a box” are not likely to be trusted, when trust is what you need most.
On Thursday 15 October at 9.15 am NZT, more than 1 million kiwis will be participating in the New Zealand ShakeOut (#ShakeOut) by “dropping, covering and holding” for one minute.
I suspect that this event will be a trigger for a lot of businesses to review their business continuity plans. If you’re one of them and find, to your dismay, that your plans lack currency, accuracy, completeness and accessibility, perhaps it’s time to look at a modern approach to business continuity management.
Here are three reasons why you might like to shake things up:
It’s a data driven world and when you discover that the data you rely on to make decisions is wrong, what happens? You stop trusting the data, and in the case of business continuity management, you stop trusting the plans - and if you, your colleagues and your stakeholders don’t trust your plans, they are unlikely to be used when a disruption occurs. Ergo, your plans are only as good as the data they contain.
I do love a good Before and After story
There are those that make me laugh out loud, such as the Sky TV ad with Sarah, the rustic French décor loving, Soho Channel watching wife who ruins her husband’s enjoyment for watching All Blacks games on TV – until he gets his wish that she be “more into sport” and Sarah’s sports fanaticism is unleashed.
Some inspire me. Formerly sedentary people who train hard and become marathon runners. Cancer survivors who team up and take on dragon boat racing. Then, there are the everyday heroes; the people who are bystanders, just doing their thing one moment and saving a stranger’s life the next. Some just give me a warm, fuzzy feeling like the plethora of home decorating shows that make me want to plump my cushions.
In an environment where there is little or no tolerance for business interruption, our leaders need to know that they have business continuity and disaster recovery plans that are immediately actionable at the time of an event. And by actionable, I mean: they are current, accurate and comprehensive; they have been tested and they have passed. Put your hand up if your business is in this state of readiness. I’m guessing there’s not many hands raised at the moment.
I’ve read this week that “almost 75% of users have never used their recovery plan at the time of test or disaster” (source: Sungard Availability Services). Why is that? Is it because people perceive that their company’s plans are out-of-date, difficult to access and a challenge to follow, so they are resigned to feel their way through an incident or test?
Topics: Business Continuity Management