By Kirk Nalley, Fairchild Resiliency Systems:
When it comes to severe weather planning, the one natural disaster that gets the most attention is the hurricane. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage to continuity planners, because the same amount of preparation goes into pre-event planning for a miss as it does for a devastating, direct blow to a company’s workforce productivity or IT delivery system.
Follow these simple tips when it comes to hurricane preparation and post-event lessons:
Pre- and mid-event success factors:
- Always consult the approved business continuity plan that will provide individuals with step-by-step instruction on what is expected of them during a crisis and only after a disaster officially has been invoked. This is not the time to deviate from the rehearsed or approved sequence to do the job at hand when “business as usual” already has been impaired.
- Be aware and responsive to communications that are being directed from the official chain of command. Social media channels are informative and can be a part of an overall communication strategy for some organizations, but sensitive company positioning should be kept off personal social media and only complement official communications.
- See the plan through to the final step and await the “all clear” to be circulated by an approved leader in the organization. Individual and group tasks can be run in parallel or can be dependent on the completion of a previous task in order to complete the chain. Focus and discipline win the day.
Post-event and regaining “back to normal” status:
- Regaining access to buildings, online connections and cellular communications may not happen linearly or as predicted despite herculean efforts by all the necessary agencies trying to give municipalities access to take to the streets. Following an approved and exercised plan and perhaps a “work-from-home” strategy will allow organizations to fulfill contracts and business obligations long before other organizations that were caught unprepared or by surprise.
- The balancing act between taking care of personal property impact and fulfilling job requirements is strengthened when employees feel informed and empowered because they have been trained to respond versus react.
- Lastly, “lessons learned” is a great concept except when the same issues are repeated time and time again. Ensure that gaps and scenarios not previously thought out in theory are addressed when real life presents extraordinary circumstance not previously thought possible.
“Having a well thought out plan ahead of time is crucial for successful continuity of operations,” said Stuart Murray, senior IT manager of global information resiliency with St. Petersburg-based manufacturing solutions provider Jabil Inc. During impending serious weather events such as the approaching Hurricane Dorian, it is important to have “a well-defined disaster plan designed to ensure employee safety and continuity of operations,” he added. That includes being sure to communicate regularly with all affected employees providing updates of the event and some guidelines to help them prepare.
About the Author: Kirk Nalley is a 10-year veteran in the business continuity and disaster recovery industry, and vice president of Fairchild Resiliency Systems, a silver partner of ServiceNow.