Business Continuity Tip of the Month

The final countdown

With less than a month to go before the Millennium, if you haven’t done so already, now’s your last chance to complete and test your contingency plan. As with any Business Continuity plan, your Millennium contingency plan should include important contact information (key staff, suppliers, customers, etc), details of your control centre(s), invocation procedures and task lists to be followed in the event of problems.

Make sure you know the whereabouts and associated contact numbers of your key staff over the whole of the Millennium period. Don’t rely on a single means of contacting them (eg consider alternatives to their mobile ‘phones in case of network problems). Consider how they will get to your control centre if they have been indulging in the Millennium spirit. Nominate deputies for the most critical staff – and let them know they’re part of the team.

Consider the location of your control centre. If it’s on the 23rd floor and your lifts fail, or if your primary site is inaccessible, do you have an alternative? Is there UPS and generator cover? Are there sufficient ‘phones, fax machines, whiteboards, catering supplies, etc.

Think about how you will report status, problems, progress, etc to any interested parties (including senior management, staff, customers, etc). Will you set up a regular schedule or only report on exceptions?

How does your Millennium plan interface with your "normal" Business Continuity Plans, in case of non-Millennium related problems over the period?

And when you’ve completed your plan, don’t forget to test it. This will ensure that you’ve covered all your bases and that everyone involved knows what’s expected of them.

Hopefully, all that Y2K preparation will pay dividends and with a bit of luck your contingency plan won’t have to be used in anger. But if it is, it could be the difference between a happy and a miserable New Year. So make sure it’s comprehensive and that you’re confident it will work.

Here’s wishing you a happy and incident free New Millennium.