Seven Steps to Identifying
Private and Public Interdependencies
By JOHN JACKSON
Public and private interdependencies have always been an important focus of PPBI! This column hopefully gives you an idea you can put into practice. So first, let’s define what we mean by interdependen- cies. Interdependencies are relationships that encompass
primarily outside entities, both public agencies and private companies, which can affect your ability to recover from an outage
and conduct business.
Simply stated, interdependencies require that companies not
only focus on their own individual recovery plans, but they must
also consider external influences that can significantly impact their
ability to recover in a timely manner, or possibly recover at all!
To address the issue of understanding interdependencies, we
have developed a seven-step approach that will help you create
an awareness of the interdependencies that affect your organiza-
tion’s business continuity planning and its ability to recover in a
timely manner. It can be used as an aid in conducting an inter-
dependencies assessment within your organization. The process
of conducting an interdependencies assessment, and the resulting
awareness and information will help you:
The better you understand interdependencies, the more prepared you will be to respond to them. You will be able to develop
relationships with public agencies that strengthen your recovery
capabilities and reduce the need for inefficient interaction and
potential friction when problems arise. You will also better understand the impact on your ability to operate or to recover, based
on the recovery capability of other companies or businesses with
whom you transact business or upon whom you rely.
The steps in identifying interdependencies include:
Step 1. Raising Awareness and Preparing for the
The first step in the Interdependencies process is to create a
sense of awareness to the issue of interdependencies.
Spend some time researching private and public partnerships and sharing that information with other in your organization. Great sources to research are the FBI and DHS supported
InfraGard organization www.infragard.net, Michigan States’
Critical Incident Protocol site www.cip.msu.edu, groups like
ChicagoFirst www.chicagofirst.org, The National Council for
Public-Private Partnerships www.ncppp.org and of course Private
and Public Businesses Inc. www.ppbi.org.
In addition, you may choose to go out and meet with external
organizations you identify, both to understand how they would
react to an outage, validating or mitigating your concerns, as well
as to help them understand your plans and requirements.
Step 2. Define A Scenario
This step will help you understand the scope of potential inter-dependencies, based on the types of disasters that may strike.
Remember that any scenario must be one that impacts more than
just your organization. Hence, an equipment failure, fire, flood,
power outage or other localized problem would probably not
result in an interdependencies concern.
To determine how interdependencies would impact your orga-
nization, the infrastructure disruption under consideration would
probably be the result of a number of different scenarios, such as:
When you think about the scenario, make sure it is one that
would not only impact your organization, but one that would
involve public agencies and other local businesses, so that the
interdependencies can be evaluated.
This scenario should also be one that external groups would
acknowledge if you elect to involve them in discussion at some
Step 3. Identify the Public Sector Interdependencies
Public agency interdependencies are those that encompass
outside public agencies, which can affect your ability to recover
from a disruption and conduct business. Typical issues that arise
with public agency interdependencies include: