As 2012 slowly fades from our memory, the disasters of the year behind us remain clear in the minds of Business Continuity Planning (BCP) folks like us. Forgetting and moving on isn’t in our business continuity genetic make-up. Moving forward with fresh approaches and more data to justify the time, money, and energy expended to make us more resilient is part of our make-up. This past year presented a host of major challenges for BC planners and IT DR staff. We’d like to believe that the lessons learned are lessons really learned.
As I write this column, lower Manhattan still has pockets with no power, no telecom, and no internet as a result of Sandy. Homes and businesses in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut still work to rebuild and recover. All across this fine land, we recognize how costly and time-consuming it is to rebuild and start over. We recognize that we are parents, children, siblings, family members, and friends to all those who need us when they need us. Whether it’s our home or business, rebuilding and restarting is an arduous task.
This was a year that saw less costly outages across the globe vs. 2011, but the outages that occurred were devastating nonetheless. If you were to take a look at the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report in 2012 (it usually comes out in February each year) the types of risks are so numerous. We don’t necessarily plan for each, but we are ever mindful of the types of outages that could impact our staffs and business activities across the globe. The reality is that floods, hurricanes, wild fires, tornados, geopolitical risks, famine, economic disparity, civil war, political conflict, etc. are here to stay.
I was recently reminded by a former colleague that several years ago when I was the leader of a Business Continuity Management (BCM) program, I wrote a song to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “The Times they are a Changin'”. I titled my song “The Risks They are a Rising” and had my wife play the guitar and sing the song via the polycom for one of my strategic planning sessions with my staff. It was a moment of levity, and we all sang along, but it also highlighted the importance of planning for so many different outage types that seemed to be changing and rising all the time. When you see me at the DRI2013 conference in Philadelphia, ask me to sing a few lines. None of you need to be reminded that our business is a difficult one and the outcomes of our rigorous planning are not always the intended (or predicted) outcome. That is the nature of this business. Flexibility must always be our middle name.
I usually end my conference presentations by playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” while I read these words:
Imagine a management team that is completely supportive and engaged. Imagine a company with a completed and tested series of continuity of operations plans for all critical aspects of the business. Imagine all corporate colleagues prepared and ready for anything. Imagine an emergency response model that includes all the appropriate levels of leadership and corporate support teams to support the response and recovery. Imagine a crisis management program that includes all appropriate local authorities and internal resources. Imagine an IT department with fully-redundant and recoverable critical applications and data. Imagine a program that ensures critical resources are fully-trained. Imagine a program that has the appropriate emergency notification systems in place. Imagine the response, recovery, and return to normal all working as scripted and tested. Imagine a plan/program that has been fully tested and passes the most rigorous of audits. Imagine a management team that praises your work and stands behind you to deliver the viable program that protects your revenue stream, reputation, legal and regulatory concerns, and safeguards your staff.
Imagine that! Happy New Year one and all! May this year be all that you hope for both personally and professionally.
All the best,
P.S. Please feel free to e-mail me with your additions to my “Imagine” list above. I would really like that.