How does your organization rebuild after a disaster? Should an earthquake, tsunami, power failure or hurricane occur, what does the new normal look like?
While your goal may be to immediately return to business as usual, that’s not often possible without additional work. Depending on the severity of a disaster, “back to normal” can take days, weeks or even months. Your first priority is ensuring everyone’s safety. Once that’s determined, you’ll be busy assessing damage to equipment, property, and your operations.
Business continuity compliance can help you ensure that your organization has a plan in place to deal with crisis efficiently and quickly. You’d be smart to put one in place because it can help you protect your employees and restart your business sooner.
Why is Business Continuity Important?
Having business continuity means your organization can quickly get back up and running in the face of a crisis. You can continue the delivery of your services after a disaster. Recent examples like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico show that power lines, running water, and mobile tower operations are critical in the fight for health and safety in a disaster’s aftermath. The sooner key services can be disseminated; the sooner aid can reach affected areas.
Companies are subject to regulations that require emergency and business continuity planning, especially with respect to personnel safety and data disaster recovery.
Additionally, your organization can continue making money when you’re operational. The costs of downtime can be enormous. For organizations like transportation hubs and oil and gas facilities, mere hours of downtime can cost tens of millions of dollars. Disruptions can also cause hardship to all involved stakeholders and may impact your business reputation.
What Does Compliance Look Like?
Your organization can start addressing continuity compliance by breaking continuity compliance into parts. Common components of business continuity compliance are:
- Organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities - Responsibilities and authorities for key roles are assigned and communicated throughout the organization
- Awareness - Personnel are aware of the business continuity compliance plan and their place in it, and are invested in the successful implementation of the plan
- Communication - Internal and external communications are planned
- Strategy - Resource requirements are determined and mapped, risks are identified and mitigation plans are ideated
- Procedures - Plans are established and frameworks put in place
- Testing - Procedures are tested in advance of any actual disaster to look for bugs, dispel confusion, and move closer to meeting continuity objectives
- Monitoring and Evaluation - The organization defines what success looks like and comes up with success metrics to measure, including audits and management review
Automation at a Critical Time
The Blackberry AtHoc suite of products is a set of software applications that enables business continuity managers to successfully implement a strategy through all parts of the continuity compliance lifecycle. You will have numerous priorities during a crisis, and every minute is critical. That’s why automation is key. BlackBerry AtHoc can automate the following procedures and components of continuity compliance:
- Key contacts to reach, customized for anticipated emergency scenarios
- Accounting for staff
- Secure control over information flows during continuity lifecycle
- Confirmation in real-time that information is received where you’ve sent it
- Confirmation in real-time that critical continuity actions are taken care of
- Notification if information was not sent or responded to
- Notification if a critical action has not been completed
- Escalation when key personnel are unreachable
- Escalation if a key individual is not capable of performing an assigned task
Automation can help your structured business continuity process. The better your automation, the better protected your assets and reputation will be.
Structured business continuity compliance can help you create, evaluate, and deploy your plan of action. But continuity falls apart without key communications. That’s why a crisis accountability solution like Blackberry AtHoc can serve as the foundation of your business management during any crisis. Your goal is to avoid as much disruption as possible. This extends to staff members and other affected parties. When time is of the essence, being aware of unexpected delays, however major or minor, will ultimately help you resolve disruption. You’re committed to saving lives and preserving business operations.
The Technology of Business Continuity Compliance
Leading business continuity compliance programs implement technology solutions. Technology is mission-critical during times of crisis. When networked communications systems can come online, all systems and processes can start to be addressed. From an emergency alert system to personnel accountability, technology can save you when manual processes fail or are too slow. Several of the Blackberry AtHoc suite of products map to the various parts of continuity compliance, as shown in this table:
|Organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities||AtHoc Suite|
|Communication||AtHoc Alert, AtHoc Connect|
|Strategy||AtHoc Account, AtHoc Collect|
|Monitoring and Evaluation||AtHoc Alert, AtHoc Account, AtHoc Collect|