Business Continuity Tip of the Month

Ready for action

Imagine the scenario – the alarm goes off in a fire station, the fire fighters leap into action…and then start discussing what they should do next. "Who’s going to the scene of the incident?"; "How will we get there?"; "Does anyone know how to drive that big red truck?"; "Where are the hoses kept?"; "Shall we use the pole or the stairs?"; "I think there’s a plan somewhere – has anyone read it?"

Clearly this would be ridiculous. But, worryingly, this is not far off the mark for some organisations as regards their incident management and business continuity plans. There may be a documented plan, but no-one’s actually read it, and it’s never been tested. But they assume it will all work seamlessly if they ever have to activate it. In fact, what actually happens is that they completely ignore the plan and ‘fire fight’ in the worst possible sense.

Think about it – when the fire brigade aren’t putting out fires for real, they practise putting out fires, so that when they have to do it for real everyone knows what to do.

The time to find the holes in your continuity plan, or in the strategy and solutions that underpin it, isn’t when you invoke it for real. So take a tip from the professionals and practise, until you’re confident that everyone knows what to do and that the plan will actually work.