Disasters are not just something that happens when a volcano erupts or an earthquake takes place. Business interruptions can occur when your office floods, the power goes out or your employees can’t make it into work because of heavy snowfall.
Continuity is not only hit by ‘natcats’ (natural catastrophes) – an expression I picked up last night at the CPO Agenda Question Time debate on disaster recovery
– smaller, localised events can also have a devastating impact if you’re not ready for them.
And as Peter James, international development field operations manager for CIPS, said: “You cannot mitigate against things that only happen now and again, but you have to be prepared if they do.”
The Question Time
-style debate, sponsored by SunGard Availability Services
, and hosted at the Royal Institute of British Architects, was an eye-opener. Many of the audience admitted their organisations had no continuity plan and the majority had not examined where the risks to their company were most likely to come from.
Panellist Nick Wildgoose, from Zurich Financial Services, said it was key to look at who your critical suppliers are and not examine them by spend, but instead by their ability to affect your profitability.
Like so many things, it’s easier said than done. You need support from the top to agree to invest time and money into such projects and to communicate messages so the ‘human factor’ doesn’t disrupt well-laid plans should you ever need to use them, but the risks of not being prepared are too big to ignore.