Business Continuity Tip of the Month

Rudolph the red-faced BC manager (a Christmas tale – sort of!)

Once upon a time there was a senior manager called Rudolph who, on top of his many other responsibilities, was put in charge of the business continuity project. Rudolph was a busy chap with a lot on his plate. He didn’t have time for detail. And anyway, disasters never happen do they? Well, only to other people.

So, rather than doing any proper analysis, he leapt straight into plan-writing. In fairness, he also thought about the business continuity strategy. For about five minutes. Then he took out the cheapest contract he could find for some ship-in IT equipment, assumed everyone could work from home and wrote a lovely looking plan based on a number of un-validated (and, as it happens, invalid) assumptions. It didn’t take him long at all really.

He didn’t bother to brief or train the incident management or recovery teams or exercise their plans or even tell anyone about them – no need, disasters never happen do they? Job done. A tick in the box. Sorted.

Then one foggy Christmas eve, after everyone had left the office, an electrical fault caused a huge fire and the building was gutted. Rudolph was called out in the middle of the night to invoke his business continuity plan. His chance had come to shine.

The trouble was, his assumptions about recovery time and recovery point objectives were flawed, as were his assumptions about critical processes, IT requirements and people’s ability to work from home.

The upshot was that the business failed to recover and early in the New Year it ceased trading. Rudolph went down in history all right…as the bloke whose business continuity plan wasn’t worth the paper it was written on!

Don’t be a Rudolph – if you’re embarking on a business continuity programme, do get the groundwork right. Or if you already have a mature business continuity management system in place, do revisit the analysis and the strategy and validate the underlying assumptions from time to time.
Wishing you a very happy (and incident free) Christmas and New Year! 



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