No one wants to deal with a crisis. Unfortunately, it’s more or less inevitable that your business will face some form of a disruptive incident at some point. Whether or not you’re able to survive the event unscathed largely depends on whether or not you have a proper crisis management and incident response plan in place.
Before you get started putting one together, however, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Communication is at the Core of Every Effective Response
When responding to an incident, having a framework in place that defines roles, responsibilities, tools, and processes is invaluable. However, that’s only half the equation. You also need to ensure there’s a way for your crisis management team to stay in touch—both with one another and with stakeholders in the wider organization.
Without communication, there can be coordination. Without coordination, you cannot mount an effective response.
A Crisis Can Take Many Forms
When we discuss crisis management, we’re not just talking about natural disasters or catastrophic hardware failures. Any event that has the potential to disrupt regular business operations can be considered a crisis. It’s important that you develop your crisis management plan with an understanding of this.
What we’re saying here is that you cannot just plan for a single disruptive incident. You need to consider every possible crisis your organization is likely to encounter.
Your Plan Cannot Hinge on Your Own Infrastructure
When putting together their crisis management plan, people tend to forget one crucial detail—this plan will come into play when their infrastructure is disrupted. It’s somewhat self-defeating, therefore, to count on that infrastructure as part of the response. If you want to see what this looks like in practice, remember the Facebook outage last year?
Yeah, it’s basically like that. You need a third-party business continuity and disaster recovery platform that your crisis management team can rely on when all internal tools are brought down.
Overplanning is Just as Bad as Not Planning At All
As the old saying goes, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. While it’s important to have frameworks in place for the incidents your organization is likely to face, take care that those frameworks aren’t too specific or rigid. You need to ensure that your crisis management team has the necessary flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances on the fly.
Otherwise, everything’s going to fall apart the moment an incident doesn’t follow the proper script.
Crisis Management is Ultimately an Ongoing Process
As with many security and resilience efforts, crisis management isn’t something that you can ever really classify as ‘done.’ It’s something you must constantly revisit, revise, and iterate upon. As your organization grows, your crisis management plan must evolve with it.
Otherwise, all your planning will ultimately go to waste.