Risk Assessment Purpose and Pitfalls

Risk Assessment RHFire, flood, swine flu, power loss, severe storms, workplace violence, supplier loss, and a myriad of other events threaten the very existence of organizations large and small. Risk management and business continuity professionals are challenged with addressing these threats, with an equal focus on mitigation and continuity planning. Today’s executive demands an equal focus on proactive risk mitigation, as opposed to an exclusive focus on reactive response and recovery planning. A proper, value-added risk assessment process provides a method to bring structure, clarity and focus to the mitigation aspect of the risk management effort. This article aims to make the case for risk assessment process execution and the role it plays in building the foundation of solid risk management, as well as some of the more common risk assessment pitfalls to avoid. Continue reading

Human Resource Policy Considerations During a Pandemic

hr policy perspectiveSince the April 2009 H1N1 outbreak, business continuity professionals around the world began the process of reevaluating their pandemic preparedness strategies. A commonly-identified preparedness activity is the evaluation of Human Resources policies. In the past, some organizations amended their policies to enable appropriate responses, others drafted amended policies but held them in reserve until a time when they may be necessary. Still others did nothing, hoping for the time to make amendments if needed.  However, with the rapid spread of the April 2009 H1N1 outbreak and its origination in North America, those organizations that chose to wait because they made an assumption that they would have time were greatly impacted. Human Resources policies, with appropriate content reflecting issues present during a pervasive public health event, were needed almost immediately due to heightened concern brought on by the media and government agency responses (i.e. school closures, social distancing recommendations, and additional sanitization measures). The purpose of this article is to equip business continuity professionals with the information necessary to partner with their Human Resources professionals in establishing (or amending) policies in preparation for a pandemic response, regardless of severity or locality. Continue reading

Key Success Factors in Facilitating Exercises

ryan exercise perspectiveOne of the most visible and essential elements of a business continuity program is exercising.  Performing exercises enables the organization to validate and improve business continuity capabilities and plan documentation. It is typically recommended that exercises occur at least once a year for every plan, process or procedure, although the actual schedule should consider organizational change and the criticality of the product or service recovered.  As organizations are often resource-constrained (e.g. time, money and skills), a number of different types of exercises exist to meet stakeholder requirements while still addressing organizational constraints (see graphic below). Continue reading

Do You Need A Policy Statement?

ryans_perspectiveManagement involvement is not the only driving force behind repeatable, organizational performance.  Short, concise policy statements also set expectations and drive consistent performance.  Consequently, Avalution finds that regardless of the size or culture of an organization, a policy statement can be a tool to drive business continuity program performance, particularly in organizations where business professionals perform planning in a decentralized manner.  This article describes the benefits of, the objections against, and recommendations for an organization-wide business continuity policy. Continue reading