Have you ever been caught between the need to develop plans for individual facilities and addressing risk more comprehensively at the business unit level? What do you do?
While disasters frequently focus on the facility or building as the cause, smart organizations design their continuity and risk management plans around business units and business processes. For a mid-sized or large enterprise, designing risk mitigation strategies and continuity plans at the business level means having comprehensive plans that span multiple facilities — such as offices, manufacturing plants, R&D facilities, etc. When it comes to a specific event, it is the facility that suffers the outage, and it is the facility that must be remediated and returned to service, but the business units and processes are what keep the business operating, so the continuity and risk focus needs to be at the business unit level.
When assessing a business unit, practitioners must understand for each business unit and its associated processes how quickly these need to be back in service should an interruption occur. This translates into the type of recovery plan required and defines what mitigation alternatives are available. It also covers what technologies are required, how electronic and paper based records are protected, and how voice, internet and data networks need to be reconnected. These plans also need to be extended beyond the walls of the business itself to consider how external providers, vendors and customers are impacted. In the development of risk mitigation and business continuity plans, such issues are not easily addressed, and in some cases skipped altogether.
So while recovery and remediation plans often focus at the facility level, a comprehensive business continuity and risk management plan must be focused at the business unit level. We find that when practitioners “stick to their guns” and take this approach, the organization gains a greater ability to respond to unplanned events, the executive team gains greater confidence in the overall plan, and they find it to be a much more efficient and economical path to achieving the overall goal of ensuring that the business can remain operational.