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Five Tips for Business Continuity Planning: Part 2- Disaster Recovery Roles and Role-Playing

In my last blog, I discussed starting your small business continuity plan. Part II of this series of blogs focuses on identify disaster recovery plan roles and business continuity plan role-playing.

Tip #1 Everyone Has a Disaster Recovery Role.

Your business continuity plan requires input from every department, says David Palermo, VP of Marketing, SunGard. "Identify areas affected by a disaster then prioritize and assign associates a business continuity plan discovery role." Individual department plans drive the execution and performance of the core small business continuity plan.

Palermo emphasizes the change in focus from technology failure to dependencies upon technology. Types of questions to ask, says Palermo, might include "What happens to each department with an inoperable system? Can you execute payroll?"

Planning leaders broadcast information from their areas to management, further impacting service and system disaster planning needs. And, it's much easier to update individual plans than to refresh a sizable master business continuity plan.

Tip #2 Role Playing is a Critical Part of Your Smll Business Disaster Recovery Plan.

Practice makes perfect! Mock drills and simulated disasters provide your best line of defense in the event of a catastrophe. Ask participants to take an active role in setting up simulated disasters and encourage them to provide creative input to mock drill design.

Identify potential disasters based upon your location, timing and business climate. What key services do you need to provide members if a catastrophe strikes at the beginning, middle or end of the month? Consider seasonal or quarterly impacts on disaster recovery plans too. "Reality is always very different from what you might expect," says
Larry Tankeloff, Senior VP Business Recovery Services, USERS.

Set up a small business disaster recovery plan based upon varying periods of recovery. Prioritize business needs based on key service activities for your customers. Activities conducted before, during and after the disaster play a key role in the planning process.

And don't overlook what experts call the human factor. "If a disaster impacts employees' families, anxiety may outweigh their need to work. Provide them with a means to handle business and a way to spend time with family," says Tankeloff.

Reprinted from an article I wrote for Credit Union Business magazine in August, 2006.
Post your favorite tips for small business disaster recovery planning.


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