Sharing David Discenza’s article “Exercise is good for you, and for you and Business Continuity plan!” from The Business Continuity Monthly Advisor, Vital information to keep your business resilient, presented by Discenza Business Continuity Solutions, June, 2015 Source http://eepurl.com/bpMj2D
David wrote: ‘We all know there is a benefit to regular exercise. It strengthens muscles and our cardiovascular system. It helps to strengthen our skeletal system. It even helps improve our overall sense of happiness and well-being. And yet……
I won’t cite statistics about how many people actually exercise or how often they do. That’s not the point of this article. The point is that, despite the known benefit, most people just don’t bother or they over estimate the amount of exercise they get. The same seems to hold true for business continuity plans (BCP). “Why bother to conduct an exercise?” Some people say, “All the information we need is in the plan. All we need to do is follow it, right?”. Well,… no. This type of attitude is based on three assumptions that, to quote the old song, “ain’t necessarily so”.’
Assumption #1: the Business Continuity Plan is up to date.
Assumption #2: the plan is a “cookbook”.
Assumption #3: “We’re never going to use this anyway.”
David shared a true story: “I was the BCP manager for the risk management department of a major card payment company in New York City. Testing our plan was required annually by the central Service Continuity staff. Usually, they provided the scenario but this time I had to write the scenario for our business unit.
After doing some research with the NYC Department of Emergency Preparedness and with the management firm that operated our building I constructed a scenario with two hurricanes a week apart threatening the NYC area. The first one missed to the south. The second one was a direct hit.
In my scenario, lower Manhattan was flooded up to 23rd Street. The subways and the commuter trains were completely flooded, as were all the electrical conduits that run under the streets. Worse, our building was flooded due to the storm surge damaging the electrical distribution system, the heating and ventilation system, and the communications system. Power was lost over much of the region which meant that our employees couldn’t work from home because they’d lost both power and internet access.
The team members ran through the exercise and did a good job, though we did find some gaps in our plan that needed to be addressed. On the way out of the exercise, one of the senior VP’s pulled me aside. “You went a little over the top with this ‘doomsday’ scenario, didn’t you?” he said. “Well, maybe”, I conceded. Never argue with a senior VP. “But, it could happen”, I replied. Several months later it did in the form of Superstorm Sandy.
Sandy played out much as I had written in my scenario, except it was much worse. Because our team had practiced, we knew to shift work to other sites well before Sandy hit. We also knew our building would likely be damaged and unavailable for a period of time and so our employees were instructed to take their laptops home and plan on working from home for the near term. Because we had anticipated this type of a situation and practiced for it, we were better able to cope with the magnitude of interruption to our business operations that exceeded what my imagination was able to produce.
Business continuity plans need to be exercised for the same reason that people need to exercise; to strengthen their weaknesses, to improve their overall health, and to improve their sense of well-being. Teams which exercise their plans regularly improve their ability to respond to business interruptions and gain confidence in their ability to respond effectively, even to situations for which they have not practiced.”
If you need assistance in exercising your Business Continuity plan, then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss exercising your business continuity plan.