Business Continuity Planning
If tomorrow an event occurred that resulted in only law enforcement and public health officials being able to enter your building for the unforeseeable future, would you be able to maintain your essential day- to -day operations? That is a question every company should be asking itself.
We all know the tragedy that September 11, 2001, brought upon both our nation and the world. It was the worst case of terrorism to occur on U.S. soil, and in its aftermath, the federal government realized how quickly government business could be derailed. The President of the United States signed into law Presidential Directive 67, which mandated that every Federal agency prepare a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). To average Americans, “COOP” was an unfamiliar term and it remained foreign to them until recent tragedies, such as Hurricane Katrina, the New York City Transit strike, the forest fires in the Western United States, and the Northeast blackout of August 2003. Events of this magnitude forced business owners, regardless of size, to evaluate if they were prepared should an event as simple as an overnight fire, or as major as a hurricane or terrorist attack, affect their company.
COOP planning is nothing more than planning for the “what if” scenario. It is planning that is done ahead of time so that in the event that a business needs to relocate their office for any reason, they can do so in a coordinated, efficient manner by following the instructions outlined in their COOP plan. No two COOP plans are the same as each COOP plan is unique to a company’s day-to-day operations.
The objective of COOP planning is to direct and guide appropriate actions to assure the capability exists to continue core business functions and activities, and to achieve an orderly recovery from emergency situations across a wide range of potential emergencies or threats, including acts of nature, accidents, technological, and attack-related emergencies.
The primary objectives of a COOP plan should include:
- • Facilitating decision-making during an emergency
• Ensuring the continuous performance of an company’s essential functions/ operations during an emergency
• Protecting essential facilities, equipment, records, and other assets
• Reducing or mitigating disruptions to operations
• Ensuring the safety of your employees, reducing loss of life and minimizing damage and losses
• Achieving a timely and orderly recovery from an emergency and resumption of full service to customers
Planning for surviving the risks and the challenges that may lie ahead can be overwhelming. We can make the entire process “user friendly,” while tailoring a COOP plan that effectively meets the needs of your individual company.
Core Continuity Planning Approach
Planning Reviews: We will thoroughly review any existing emergency plans and policies your company might have. Don’t have any? Not to worry, we will work with your staff through the methods of face-to- face interviews and surveys to determine your company’s essential functions, and then develop a tailored plan.
Orientation Seminar: During this seminar, we will introduce the new programs, policies or plans to your staff. This will serve as a starting point for the employee active participation portion of the program.
Training and Education: We will train members of your staff to allow them to train and educate new employees on your company’s plans and procedures.
Single Element Drill: We will develop a drill that will allow you to practice and perfect a single emergency response.
Tabletop Exercises: We will develop a realistic scenario, and will coordinate and mediate a low-stress discussion of your plans, policies and procedures with staff from various departments.
Full-Scale Drill: We will combine the interactivity of the single element drill exercise with a field element. A full-scale exercise is as close to the real thing as possible.
After-Action Report: Using the results of the drills and exercises, we will develop an After -Action report that will detail successes, and provide solutions for areas with room for improvement.