As business continuity professionals, we tend to gravitate to the activities where we think we can deliver the most value. This often takes the form of the business impact analysis, helping management come up with strategies that minimize risk, and documenting these strategies into plans. Ensuring that a business continuity program employs effective training approaches and engages business process owners, unfortunately, often plays “second fiddle” to other activities. One only needs to browse any of the top business continuity and disaster recovery related publications to see this disparity. Searching for “business impact analysis” or “business continuity plan” yields substantially more results than “business continuity training.” Yet without effective training, all that hard work will likely either fail or not perform to desired standards during a real disruptive incident. Continue reading
Practice—it’s a key to success in any pursuit. Whether it’s within sports, hobbies, or business, practice is integral to fostering success, and business continuity planning is no exception. Arguably, the most effective way to practice implementing business continuity plans, processes, and strategies is by performing exercises. Not only will a good exercise improve preparedness, it will also socialize business continuity planning among the organization’s key leaders and demonstrate the value of business continuity planning. However, many exercises fail to “impress” and meet the goals of socializing capabilities, building competencies, and identifying opportunities for improvement. Within this perspective, we’ll take a look at some of the key causes and simple fixes that will allow business continuity practitioners to plan for and facilitate an engaging, beneficial business continuity exercise. Continue reading
Nearly all business continuity practitioners understand the importance of conducting a business impact analysis (BIA) in order to lay the foundation for a viable business continuity program. Organizations who perform and continually improve effective BIA processes gather essential business information for the activities that support organizational product and service delivery, such as process-related information, justification for business continuity requirements, recovery objectives, and resource requirements necessary to achieve recovery objectives and performance targets following the onset of a disruptive incident. This information drives the selection of organizational business continuity strategies, serves as an input to business continuity plans, and provides insight into potential organizational risks. Continue reading
Senior management engagement is critical to business continuity success, so it’s becoming more and more common for organizations to involve management when designing and implementing business continuity programs. However, after the initial implementation project wraps up, it is much less common for organizations to regularly engage management on program direction, capability, and maturation, via what the management system concept calls a “management review”. While the concept of management reviews is relatively new to the business continuity profession, when fully implemented and combined with appropriate messaging, management reviews are the best way to get management to participate actively and stay engaged, as well as close program gaps and improve performance. Continue reading
Developing strong business continuity plans characterized as actionable, relevant, and simple to execute can be a very difficult task for many organizations. In other articles, Avalution examined the different types of business continuity plans, what information should be included, and how organizations can focus on the basics to develop effective plans. One trend that our consultants see across industries is that as business continuity programs mature, planning approaches inevitably change, often (and unfortunately) becoming more complicated and burdensome over time. As plans become overburdened with complex requirements, simplicity, quality, and effectiveness suffer.
This perspective examines the six typical symptoms of “bad plans” and their common root causes, and provides suggestions on how organizations can develop plans described as actionable, relevant, and simple. Continue reading