Crisis Management – Beyond Business Continuity

Historically, our industry started out as disaster recovery planning, focused on strategies and solutions for recovering mainframe computers should the production environment be compromised by disaster.

Once we figured out that simply recovering technology does not guarantee we can still function as a company and disasters can occur in the workplace just as easily as in a data center – disaster recovery gave birth to business continuity.  Business continuity had to be disaster recovery and more.

As the industry matured and following several real, unfortunate disaster events, culminating with the tragedy of 9/11, we realized that just knowing where and how to continue business processes following a disaster does not necessarily help us in responding to and managing the entire crisis event, thus, business continuity gave birth to crisis management.  Crisis management had to be business continuity and more.

And, as this field of expertise continues to mature, we need to make sure that we can leverage our Crisis Management Program to assist us in responding to all kinds of crises, not just those normally associated with business interruptions or data center events.

U.S. business on msnbc.com has an article on “8 infamous business disasters”.  If these types of events occurred in your organization, would any part of your crisis management program be employed?  Would your executive management team be aware of how to leverage the resources available through your crisis management program in the response to these types of events?

For example: 

  • Would the Crisis Management Command Center be utilized? 
  • Would your established Corporate Communications Team be deployed? 
  • Would you utilize your automated notification tools? 
  • Would you utilize your crisis management software?

For many of the organizations that I have assisted in implementing Crisis Management programs in relation to their business continuity and disaster recovery programs, I am confident that the tools, resources and strategic baseline for the Crisis Management Program would provide a very efficient and fluid response and management of these types of events.  I am not confident, however, that the management teams would be aware of that fact or even think about tapping into these resources.  Nor am I confident that the Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery or Crisis Management team members would be brought into the process to assist in the response.

I think it would take just a little education, training and heightened awareness to fill the gap and ensure our BC/DR Crisis Management Programs get employed for the types of Business Disasters described in this article, but it will be up to the BC/DR Management Teams to make that happen.  And, the best time to do that is today, before the crisis occurs.

Maybe, the next time you exercise your crisis management or emergency management program you might want to think about a scenario similar to one of those in the article.

Thank you for your input.