having a PC at the business and a laptop
with the owner the best redundancy option
available for low cost. The best survival
solution for any business is a combination
of anticipation of possible disruptions,
communication between management and
workers, and education of all employees
concerning their role in maintaining business operations.
The business owner and employees
need to be aware that disruptions may
have a low probability of occurring; however, the few that do occur often are large
enough to destroy unprepared businesses.
Open dialog between the business owner
and employees about possible interim and
long-range recovery processes provide a
foundation for immediate survival of one
important asset – people. Training employees to handle alternative operating procedures and recovery operations reduces the
initial stress of disruptions and allows the
business to be a survivor.
Dr. William “Stew” McConnell has a
doctorate in management specializing in
information systems and technology. He
has an extensive background in COOP and
has been promoting continuity education for
small business owners. Comments about this article may
be sent to email@example.com
20 threats that all impose the same risk,
except to make the list look longer to satisfy the auditors?
Organizing on risk leads directly to
my second list which covers the planning
process. Every business function depends
on three critical elements: people, places
and processes. You have to provide backups for each of them. Like the proverbial
farmer hand milking the cow, he sits on
a three legged stool. If a leg breaks, he
falls over and the entire process comes to
a halt. Our job is to prevent that from happening.
Every person or team in the organization needs a backup. Maybe they aren’t
fully proficient, but trained and exercised
well enough to continue a minimum level
of service for the duration of the crisis.
(And no, reorganizing the names in the list
doesn’t create a second list!) Publish the
names in your plan. Don’t let it be enough
for human resources to bury an entry in the
Every work location needs a backup.
For whatever reason the facility becomes
unavailable, staff need to know where they
go to work – and that location needs to be
ready to go. It doesn’t matter if the cause
was flood, earthquake, hurricane, fire,
riots, the result is the same – staff must go
somewhere to work.
Every process needs a backup. Keep
the KISS principle at the fore here as well.
Just because a primary process has a com-
plex IT supporting process, it doesn’t
necessarily mean that the backup must
be IT based as well!
For example, following Katrina,
financial institutions dispensed cash
from black garbage sacks stored in the
trunks of cars using folding tables set up
in parking lots. The transactions were
recorded on old-fashioned ledgers until
IT systems were restored.
Was it elegant? No!
Did it work? Absolutely!
With backups for people, places,
and process identified, published, and
exercised, our intrepid small business is
miles ahead of their competition, ready
to face any adversity that might befall
them. Have they developed a BIA, done
a gap analysis, applied any statistical modeling to their risk assessment?
However, they now have the foundations of a business continuity plan, and
they can take care of these other details
later. They’ve got a great start! And,
after all, that is what we in the industry
want them to have.
Ken Schroeder is vice president of
business continuity for Southeast
Corporate Federal Credit Union, and
consults for Southeast’s member credit
unions. He serves on the board of PPBI,
and is a member of the DRJ Editorial Advisory Board.
He is a retired Air-Force rescue pilot and employment
DISASTER RECOVER Y JOURNAL FALL 2009 25