How Business Continuity Plans Fail

How Business Continuity Plans Fail

How Business Continuity Plans Fail: A flawed business continuity plan that has little chance of holding up in a true disaster is just so many words. Its only effect is to provide the business with a false sense of security. Many of the shortcomings of these plans stem from using false assumptions.

For example, many business continuity plans failed in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy because it was assumed that employees could work from home should a disaster occur, and that data stored in an alternate location would be accessible. However, widespread power outages and flooding prevented employees from accessing the Internet. In addition, many employees were dealing with more basic survival issues such as access to shelter and clean water. If there is one lesson to be learned from this is that business continuity plans require the input of business continuity experts.

Here are four common business continuity mistakes to avoid:

Working off of Business Continuity Templates Without Planning

Business continuity templates are freely available over the Internet. Working with these too quickly without thinking through how they apply to your unique situation will generate a plan without doing any actual planning on your part. More likely than not, it will have fatal flaws.

False Assumptions

Should a disaster occur in your area, will basic utilities such as electricity and water be available? Will the transportation infrastructure be usable? The answers to these and other questions will depend on your particular locality. Different regions contend with different types of natural disasters. For example, an area in the heartland of the U.S. need not plan for the effects of hurricanes.

Be careful about assumptions regarding which of your key employees will be available during a disaster.

Incomplete List of Threats

Failing to identify all likely threats to your organization results in a partial plan. Your plan should include likely natural disasters, online and offline security threats, and damage caused by disgruntled employees.

Plan Not Readily Available

A business continuity plan that resides in the cloud isn’t available if there’s no Internet access. If it resides in the heads of a few key people, then it isn’t available if these people are on vacation or trapped in their homes with no means of communicating with the outside world. Your plan should be well-documented and available to those who will implement it should the need arise.

The above mistakes are by no means a complete listing. To ensure that your plan will perform well when it’s needed, consult with business continuity experts. For more information, contact us today.

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