This lesson is about chapter 11. Objectives important to
Who to include
Construction of the plan
Elements for effective plans
Activating a BC plan
Maintenance and improvement
chapter begins by taking us back in
time, nine months before the fire that started at the beginning of the
last chapter. All is well, and the business continuity team is
inspecting a possible operations site for emergency use.
The text compares this chapter to chapter 9, which was about planning
for disaster recovery. It notes that the business continuity plan has
common feature, but the two plans have different goals. Disaster recovery
is about moving from a temporary site back to our original or new operations
site. Business continuity is about resumption of interrupted operations
at the temporary site. They are both concerned with continuing operations,
but the disaster recovery plan assumes that operations are currently running.
The text spends its usual number of pages recommending who should be
on the planning committee, reminding us to include decision makers as
well as people who know how the work is actually done. This includes technical
work (e.g. hardware, software, maintenance) and the actual
work of the organization. The text continues with its templates about
creating the plan and testing it, reminding us to include controls to
avoid our needing to activate the plan. People charged with creating such
a plan may forget that the best approach to dealing with a disaster is
to prevent its occurrence. I am reminded of a British car company's commercial
from several years ago (no video available, unfortunately) that discussed
car crash tests, and observed at the end that "in England, we attempt
to miss a wall". Let's follow
that model, where we can.
The creation of a business continuity plan is complicated by
the necessity of dealing with an outside
entity, whether that entity is another office in the same organization
or an external space/service provider. The text proposes a list on pate
448 that starts with moving some people out of their usual location
into another one that is still within the confines of our owned/managed
space. It goes through six levels, concluding with moving everyone in
the organization to "an external, distant location". Obviously, the
logistical complications become more involved with each increase in the
number of people to move
and the distance to move them.
Each level of complexity requires a separate plan.
Expanding on that idea, the text tells us to make sure we
accurately measure the level of damage and the number of people
affected by the disaster at hand. When a low complexity plan is
engaged, we need to be sure that we have not made a mistake, moving an
insufficient number of people and insufficient distance. Likewise, we
don't want to overreact to the disaster, moving staff who do not
actually need to move. The move will disrupt business if it is not
needed, which is the opposite of our intent.
The state of Michigan, for example, often encounters incidents
that cause staff to be moved, temporarily, from one location to
another. This is often due to a power outage at their usual location.
When this occurs, it is necessary to take as many of the measures that
the text lays out as the incident calls for. Notify staff, notify the
media, notify customers, and continue notification as the situation
changes. The state is a large enough organization that staff of most
departments can move for a short time to space in other state
buildings, usually buildings occupied by the same department. When this
is not possible, higher level plans are used.
The text presents a number of considerations that will be
encountered by any organization moving a significant percentage of its
operations. Space, equipment, and services cover most of the worries.
On several pages in the chapter, the text discusses the actions of "the
Advance Party". In one
respect, the committee that
secures that alternate site is the advance party. They make the first
inspection, long before an incident occurs, and they arrange for
expected services, equipment, and space. In another respect, that
inspection and arrangement only sets up an expectation. The reality is what the first people we
send to an alternate location find waiting for them. If we know that
the location will have equipment that needs to be set up (warm site?),
that first group needs to include the technicians who can do that job.
The second wave does not need to arrive until some of that set up
activity has been done.
usual, the author stresses testing the plan as a read-through, as a
table-top exercise, as a walk-through, and as a live exercise.
A thought to take from the video I have inserted above is that
people are always in motion. It is natural to be going somewhere else.
What's hard is to move everyone somewhere at once. Maybe we would do
better to embrace the idea of working remotely, so that we can continue
our operations regardless of where the staff happen to be.
Whatever your plan turns out to be, be flexible and make it
work. Improve the plan as you go, if you can, and improve it for next
time if you can't.
large part of the city of Paradise, California was destroyed in wild
fires this year (2018). This NPR interview with the mayor of that city
details some of what happened.
For our purposes, we need to
consider the fact that this city had a plan, and had used it multiple
times before. What happened? What should have happened? Check other
news sources for images and facts about the situation.
Write a brief paper outlining the following points.
Were there flaws in the evacuation plan the city
What changes would you make if you could?
Write a business continuity (evacuation) plan that
will minimize risk, enable
operation, and allow for the best case continuation of the town and
survival of the next disaster.