For those of you in the Northeast who’ve been awaiting spring, this week we finally got it! Temperatures topped 70 this week, and flowers and trees are blooming and budding right on schedule. These early signs of growth and nature’s full emergence should be a reminder that once a year not only are we refreshed and energized by the warmer temperatures and the longer daylight hours, but we also look to update and refresh our plans.
How often do you refresh and renew the most crucial part of your Business Continuity Plan (BCP) – the strategy? How often do you really take a hard look at the plan already crafted, written, and signed off on? The DRI Professional Practices professes an annual review of most essential parts of your program. Some may argue that more frequent updates are in order, yet we know with certainty that plans should be updated anytime there is a significant change to the staffing, critical business functions, recovery sites, primary work locations, technology or risks. Why not institute a full program readiness review each spring? Why not implement plan reviews and managerial involvement whenever the flowers seek sunshine and warmth each spring? Why not take a close look at your last business impact analysis and determine the validity of it as company strategic imperatives may have changes in the prior months? Why not do a test of all your emergency notification procedures and contact information when the days grow longer?
If you are like me, I have a renewed spring in my step when the long months of winter become a distant memory. I love spring (if I am not sneezing from the pollen), and I love to expand my business and personal to do list. What better way to ensure preparedness than to take a long hard look each spring at all the most important moving parts of your many business continuity and technology recovery plans? Your organization is probably like many that I have worked for over the years – many reorganizations, acquisitions, staff changes, office location moves, new essential work processes, new technology upgrades, different equipment requirements, changes to venders and suppliers, new senior leadership, and so on.
The point here is that business continuity plans are dynamic documents, procedures, practices, and the recovery solutions should align with the business of ordinary daily business. The changes required to keep plans current and relevant are sometimes simple and more often somewhat complex. If your current practice is to update plans annually, my advice is start your plan revisions and updates in late winter and as spring approaches you are well on your way. Before summer vacations have the potential for slowing you down and making plans horribly inadequate due to changes and updates not made.
Refresh and renew yourself, your documented BC plans, IT DR program, emergency response procedures, training programs, crisis communication plans, risk assessments and business impact analyses, as well as your essential staff lists and callout procedures. Let spring be the time of year that viable plans bloom anew and senior leadership signs off on your key program initiatives. Have your plans updated and refreshed before summer comes, and then use September as Disaster Preparedness Month to train and make all staff aware of their roles and responsibilities should something interrupt normal operations in the months ahead.
Have a great spring, and I’ll see you June 4-7 at DRI2013!
Vice President and Director of Volunteerism
DRI International Foundation