Disaster Planning

A month ago I blogged on disaster planning. I received a few emails chastising me for putting a communications plan as step one. Here is my response, so you can stop emailing me.

When I work with a client on disaster planning I take a holistic approach. That’s easy for a consultant to do – move forward step by step. My earlier post was not a holistic approach, but for the “do-it-yourselfer” where the need is to move the ball down the field quickly, before they are sidetracked by everyday life.

Here is the approach I take with clients:

Step One – Identify Threats and Exposures to Your Operation – What can cause disruption? What is the severity of the disruption? What supplier vulnerabilities do we have? What impact can disruption to client operations have on us?

Step Two – Identify Impact and Rank Severity of Threats – What is the impact on us of the threat? What threats are the most severe? Rank as inconvenient, minor disruption, major disruption, or catastrophic.

Step Three – Build Communication Strategy – How will we communicate with employees, owners, suppliers, and customers?

Step Four – Identify Strategies to Mitigate Disruption and Loss – What resources can be developed? What plans can be designed? What information is needed? How does insurance respond to exposures?

Step Five – Test Strategies Where Possible – Do walk through drills where appropriate. Simulate, role-play, test.

Step Six – Reevaluate – What changes need to be made? How often does the plan need to be reviewed and updated? What events allow for real-world testing?

So there critics! No, there is no conflict here. Ultimately, the do-it-yourselfer will get to all the steps above. It will take them longer. There is, after all, an advantage in hiring an expert!