HOW IS YOUR BCDR?
BUSINESS CONTINUITY AND DISASTER RECOVERY
Written By: Randy Smith
BCDR is an individual responsibility. It is often mistaken that Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) planning are the sole responsibility of the Information Technology group. BCDR means that you know what to do for any disruption in your normal, daily processes. This can be related to a power outage in an office, a flat tire on a delivery truck, or any reason you may not have access to your physical office or home office.
When a surgery team is performing an operation, they are prepared for any contingency that may occur with a patient during the surgery. If a patient’s heart stops during surgery, they do not call the computer guys to flip a switch, but they follow their BCDR steps to restart the heart. They are the experts on what needs to happen and not the tech guy.
A city I worked for had an anthrax scare that kept the employees out of city hall for a couple of days. No one knew what to do, and the city office functions that needed to be performed could not be done. Phones were not answered, bills were not sent, payments were not made, payroll could not be processed, and many more necessary functions were stopped.
Immediately after that experience, the city created their BCDR plans which required all departments to determine what they would do, where they would go, and how they would access necessary systems and other equipment. Additionally, each organization worked with the technology department to make sure they would have access to telephone services, printers, and other computer equipment. Formal plans were prepared for each department. An emergency site was set up at one of the fire stations where worktables could be set up with phones and other necessary equipment. Each organization had a specific place to be and knew how to function. This was all documented so every employee knew what they would do to continue in their job.
Every employee should be taking the responsibility to determine what they would do in situations that disrupt the ability for them to do their job. It is the responsibility of their management to make sure this information is documented so the instructions are clear.
We all experience minor disruptions periodically, but do we know what to do if the disruption is for an extended time or is permanent?
BCDR means that you know what to do for any disruption in your normal, daily processes.
What should you do? You should start asking the questions and encourage your management to have the necessary contingency plans in place. You should be looking at plans for both your work environment and for your personal lives. Who do I call? Where do I go? What do I do? What happens next? These are some of the questions we should be asking.
I would hope to never experience a long-term disruption in my work or in my life, but we all know this is becoming more frequent and there is more of a chance it will affect us, individually. At least we can be prepared.