Business continuity isn’t just about the infrastructure you’ve got in place or the technology you’re using for failover purposes. It’s every bit as much about your staff. Too many people forget that.
But what do employees have to do with DR and business continuity, exactly? A great deal more than you might think, actually. Consider the following questions:
- Who’s responsible for keeping your IT department running during an emergency?
- Who takes charge of an evacuation?
- How will you keep staff safe during an emergency? How will you keep in touch with them about an emerging disaster, and deliver critical information to them during a crisis?
- What will you do to support staff and their families during a disaster?
- Do you have succession plans in place for critical management roles?
- What critical services such as healthcare do you have established?
- In the event that you lose an employee to a disaster, how quickly can you hire and/or train someone to take their place?
- Who makes your disaster recovery systems are working as intended?
- How will you train your employees to respond effectively to a crisis, and how often will you repeat that training?
- What resources do you have available for your employees during an emergency?
- How current is your training program? Have you recently briefed your employees on proper procedure during a crisis?
This is all stuff you need to consider, including how you’re going to enable staff to keep working during a disaster. You are, after all, losing a ton of money for every minute your business is offline. The faster you can get things up and run again, the better.
“A company’s business continuity plan must enable employees’ offsite productivity and provide the means for team collaboration for an indefinite amount of time,” explains Bernd Christiansen of Forbes Magazine. “Communication with each other and, perhaps even more importantly, with VIPS such as customers, partners, and investors must be maintained at all costs.”
To that end, Christiansen advises also taking the following into account:
- Don’t just consider employees who are essential to your business’s core functions. Consider also groups such as sales and customer service. What are their needs? How might a disaster impact their ability to work, and how can you address that?
- What will your employees need access to? What resources are essential if they’re going to work remotely?
- Will your IT team be able to extend remote access and collaboration platforms to all relevant staff? If not, how can you enable them to do so?
- How will you ensure all of this is achieved without compromising sensitive data?
So, what do employees have to do with business continuity? The answer is simple. Just about everything. Remember that when you’re devising your resilience plan – otherwise, you’re basically doing the equivalent of building a house without plumbing and electricity.