You know the old real estate adage about the three most important factors in the value of property? Well, I have plagiarized that saying and apply it to emergency response programs by asking, “Do you know the three most important components of a successful Crisis Management Program?”. “Communications, communications and communications.”
Sometimes I think business continuity and disaster recovery planners forget that fact as they get caught up in providing complicated alternate site solutions and in depth contingency plans.
Now, I don’t mean to imply that detailed continuity and recovery strategies and solutions are not required for enterprise recovery programs – because they are. What I am suggesting is that planners sometimes, in my humble opinion, get too deep into this aspect of the methodology before even considering the logistics of how management will be contacted and informed of a disaster.
I have, on more than one occasion, been responsible for teams of consultants working the business continuity methodology, conducting BIAs, Risk Analysis and Recovery Requirements Analysis, when the company CEO says, “Joe, your team has been here for over a month now, and I still don’t know who calls me at three in the morning when the alarms go off.”
I think job one should be, document the current response process, even if for a non existent recovery solution.
For me, it’s like creating a new football program and designing the perfect play book, implementing a defensive and offensive style of play, trick plays, and situational calls before ever teaching the players the fundamentals of the game and how to block and tackle.
Keep it simple stupid, at first. Then when they are comfortable that they know what to do when the alarms go off, and how the leadership team will communicate to one another, you can start to improve the recovery solutions to position them to survive the disaster.
If you don’t first provide the basic foundation of an emergency response and crisis management program before you get deep into your methodology, you will be punted out of there before you score your first touchdown.