Preparing for High-Impact, Low-Probability Events: Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Planning 

 March 19, 2019

By  Craig LaPine

Photo depicting extensive tornado damage to a community in Oklahoma.
Tornado damage in Oklahoma. Are you prepared for when disasters occur?

Preparedness does not simply encompass planning for a response to an emergency scenario.  Any adverse event that affects your business will cause a series of downstream, 2nd and 3rd-order effects.  True preparedness accounts for these effects – in the form of continuity and recovery planning.  This planning, and the associated tools used to augment planning, addresses the multitude of factors involved with continuity and recovery, will force you to ask and answer questions such as:

  • How will a business disruption – due to an adverse event – effect you?  
  • Your employees?  Your customers?  Your business?  
  • Do you have a Business Continuity Plan?  A Disaster Recovery Plan?  
  • Can you access your plans, even at the most inopportune times (i.e. out of town, on vacation)?  
  • What disaster remediation/restoration company is best suited to handle your recovery needs, and how do you provide them the information they need?  
  • What can you do (before an event occurs) to ensure any potential insurance claim adequately covers damages, restoration, and loss?

This line of questioning should also force you to ask the more abstract “what impact will an event have on your business – not the human impact (loss of life, limb) – but the stigma (think the court of public opinion)?  What is the long-term impact of people actively avoiding your business because an adverse event happened there (ask yourself, would you ever patronize the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the movie theater in Aurora, or The Station Nightclub in RI?)?  According to writer Alan Gleeson (author of “Black Swans and Strategic Planning”) “planning becomes more important in times of uncertainty, rather than less so… strategic planning can no longer be based on merely extrapolating into the future with a few variations, but needs to include contingency plans related to more extreme events.” 

Once these questions have been asked, it is time to document the questions and their answers – in addition to a range of other data points – in your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans (BC/DR Plans).  

  • Business Continuity Planning.  The who/what/when/where/why of keeping your business up and running, whether at the affected site or a secondary/backup location.
  • Disaster Recovery Planning.  Restoring vital “systems” after an adverse event.  “Systems” can range from IT, to hardware, to the physical plant of your business location.

At PrePlanLive, we advocate for BC/DR Plans that leverage National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600:  Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Programs.  The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) recognized NFPA 1600 as the National Preparedness Standard of the United States.  Widely used by public, not-for-profit, nongovernmental, and private entities on a local, regional, national, international and global basis, NFPA 1600 has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a voluntary consensus standard for emergency preparedness.  Additionally, NFPA 1600 is SAFETY Act Designated and Certified by DHS.

If you are interested in learning more about BC/DR and how PrePlanLive can benefit your organization, please feel free to contact us today.

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Craig LaPine
Craig LaPine