You have a great business continuity plan. You analyzed your network, you eliminated all the single points of failure, all your departments defined RTOs for all their systems, you have continuous cloud backup, and you have a warm site waiting just in case your data center gets a cootie infestation. Sweet!
Now, here’s the situation…tomorrow, your company gets hit by the H1N1 Flu pandemic burning through North America. Didn’t see that one coming did you?!? Thirty percent of your staff is down for the next two weeks, and another ten percent won’t come in because they’ve heard that one in ten people with the virus end up in the hospital with severe complications, even death.
Your network is running fine. Your business is about to go under because you are significantly down on your staffing for an unknown amount of time. Oh, and THAT wasn’t in your BC plan!
Business Continuity: It’s not just for IT, seriously
There’s nothing in “business continuity” that says “only for IT.” None of the Professional Practice Subject Areas for the CBCP certification mention IT. Of the four BC disciplines (Incident Management, Technology Recovery, Security Management, Business Recovery), only one is about technology. So why do so many companies think that business continuity is only about IT?
There are plenty of things that can happen to your business that aren’t about your computers.
- Headquarters building burns down.
- A flood leaves a foot of toxic mud in your primary production facility.
- Don’t get me started on hurricanes which wreck all your stores along the Atlantic Coast.
- Your largest supplier suddenly goes out of business.
- e coli shows up in your new line of Tangelo Yogurt Pops.
- That ACC pandemic cuts your workforce by 30-50% and your CEO is in the hospital
So, are you or is someone planning for these problems?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that no business ever died because its IT infrastructure failed for a few days. Airlines, banks, telecom companies, retail chains – all have had well-publicized IT disasters and have survived. What kills businesses (especially small- and medium-sized ones) are lost facilities, staff crises, scandals, customer exoduses, supply interruptions, long-term strikes, and catastrophic executive decision-making. If you’re not planning for these events, well….what exactly are you planning for?