Strategies to continue critical business functions by understanding business impacts, time objectives, and resource needs.
Supply chain failure, computer application failures, voice and data communications outages, machinery and equipment breakdown, building damage, loss of power, and pandemic disease are just a few of the potential causes for business interruption. In today’s business world of high efficiency and minimal tolerance for downtime, businesses have to prepare. Customers are demanding it. More and more regulations require it.
Business continuity planning begins with management commitment and a clear understanding of the business. A steering committee comprised of managers from major business functions should be organized. A business impact analysis should be conducted to identify business priorities and identify the resource requirements to support mission critical processes. Continuity strategies and manual workarounds should be developed and documented in a business continuity plan. The business continuity program including plans and capabilities should be implemented and evaluated through a process of training, testing, and exercising.
We begin by asking questions to learn about your business. We help organize a business continuity team bringing together administrative, operations, and technology staff. We conduct a risk assessment to identify hazards and scenarios where facilities, systems, or equipment may be damaged or operations may be interrupted. We identify opportunities for loss prevention and hazard mitigation.
Business Impact Analysis
Using customized questionnaires and interviews, we identify critical business functions and the potential impacts that the interruption of critical functions could cause over time. Our goal is to determine the maximum allowable downtime—the “recovery time objective”(RTO)—before the impact of the interruption becomes unacceptable.
During the business impact analysis we help you prioritize the recovery of time critical functions. We also identify the minimum resources—personnel, facility, technology, supply chain, and vital records—needed to support critical business processes at minimally accepted levels. Our facilitated discussions also help to identify manual processes—“workarounds”—to overcome the loss of systems and equipment.
We facilitate discussions and present options for development of business continuity strategies to sustain critical business functions. These include reviewing alternate office, computing, operations, and communications facilities. We explore options that may include use of alternate company facilities, contracted facilities and services, and reciprocal agreements.
We help to compile planning documentation into a cohesive plan that will be immediately accessible. We help organize the business continuity team, compile business continuity requirements, develop continuity strategies, write damage assessment guidance, and document incident management procedures.
A business continuity plan is only as good as the capabilities of personnel to respond during an emergency. We conduct classroom training to familiarize personnel with the business continuity plan, plan activation, and team roles and responsibilities. We design and facilitate tabletop exercises with scenarios that are specific to your facility, operations, and plans. Exercises enable members to better execute the plan, and they can identify gaps or weaknesses.
We have attained DRI International's lead auditor certification and teach their four-day certification course for auditors of emergency management and business continuity programs. We have developed a comprehensive audit tool and prepare detailed reports with recommendations prioritized for program enhancement. Evaluation criteria are based on regulatory requirements, our National Preparedness Standard, and best practices. Our evaluations provide a clear picture of program strengths and weaknesses within an easy to use report.