Continuity of operations is a term that refers to your organization’s plan in regards to continuing operations after a major event. A good continuity of operations plan addresses:
- what qualifies as an event that necessitates activating the continuity of operations plan
- what happens in a continuity situation
- how continuity actions will occur
- how rapidly continuity actions will occur (i.e., a timeline for actions)
- where continuity operations will occur
- who will be responsible for what during continuity operations
Let’s break this down with a more concrete example.
Let’s suppose your company is located in a coastal area that is prone to hurricanes. A Hurricane Watch from the National Weather Service may be the trigger for your continuity plan to be activated. (A watch usually occurs 48 hours before high winds are expected to hit your area.) Your continuity plan may indicate that after a watch has been issued, executives begin a review of the plan within the next 12 hours and start the process of moving to your alternate location (the alternate location should already be determined and laid out in the continuity plan document). When a Hurricane Warning is issued by the National Weather Service (usually 36 hours before extreme winds are expected in the area), your continuity plan may call for travel to the alternate location be secured and equipment be moved within the next 12 hours. The plan may then indicate that 24 hours before the hurricane all non essential personnel should be evacuated and essential personnel should begin the move to the alternate location and test the equipment at the alternate location (essential vs. non essential personnel should be predetermined and laid out in the continuity plan document). Finally, the continuity plan may indicate that 12 hours before the hurricane the alternate location will come online so that the transition is seamless and there is no loss of process when the hurricane hits. Let’s not forget about after the event – your continuity plan should indicate when personnel begin to come back, who will work remote and for how long, and it should include plans to get back into your main building.
Continuity planning requires an investment of time and labor, but it is a necessary facet for any business or organization to ensure that their personnel and assets are protected and able to function in the event of a disaster. Don’t go it alone – contact us at Invictus Consulting to get the process started of continuity planning.