25 Questions: Business Continuity Planning

Harvey Betan, Business Continuity Planning Consultant; Contributing Writer Smallbiztechnology.com
In my previous article I started to explain what Business Continuity Management is. This article will focus on what questions management must ask itself with regard to ongoing operation and preparedness. In the next few segments I will try to elaborate on some of these questions in more detail. Until then ask yourself if you can answer these questions to your own satisfaction. To be fair some of the questions will not apply to all business ventures, however many will indeed apply to most businesses in one way or another.
1. Who can declare a ?disaster? or a service interruption?
2. How long can you maintain your current business level if employees cannot report to the workplace?
3. Who is on your ?Emergency Operations Team??
4. Do your employees know what to do if they cannot get to work?
5. Are your employees aware of alternate paths to the workplace?
6. Do you have a well known succession management policy in place?
7. If a º mile area surrounding your office is cordoned off, how do you spread the word out to customers and suppliers?
8. Can you process payroll and financial transactions from your recovery site?
9. Are your RTO (recovery time objectives) and RPO (recovery point objectives) defined to all management levels at all locations?
10. Are your vital records (such as HR data) including contracts up to date and readily available to management?
11. Do you know who in your staff requires special needs in an emergency?
12. Are fire extinguishers, defibrillators, safety equipment, energy equipment, food storage checked periodically?
13. How quickly can you evacuate your location? How does this time change if the location is fully occupied?
14. Are your ?access cards? programmed for an alternate location?
15. Do your employees have ?Go Bags??
16. Are you aware of circumstances requiring ?shelter in place??
17. In a ?shelter in place? condition are supplies such as food, cots, sanitation, etc. available for a sustained period?
18. If there is a chemical/biological incident outside your premises is your staff aware of what actions to take?
19. Are all employees aware of assembly points and alternate assembly points? Are they aware of at least two paths to your recovery site?
20. Do you know how long it would take to get all required personnel to your recovery site?
21. When enforcing your recovery plan are all channels of communication and operation available and known to all? Does this include emergency responders, customers, and suppliers?
22. Can your recovery location handle all the people expected to report to the site? Is your recovery site as secure as your primary site (eg. card access)?
23. Can you sustain operations at your recovery site for up to 72 hours?
24. If you split your staff to more than one site, are the employees aware of which departments are at which site?
25. Are contingency plans in place and well known for our recovery site? How often are exercises performed?
If you need more information until the next segment appears, or just want to comment on the piece please send me an email me. Next segment: What are ?Go Bags? and what is ?shelter in place??