Part 1 of this series discussed how to ensure that customers can reach you by phone, despite an emergency. Wireless phones are becoming increasingly important, versatile, and useful in a disaster. But depending on your wireless phone could be a two-edged sword. The power and versatility of that device, so useful in a disaster, could hurt you in other circumstances. For example, think about what would happen if your CEO loses his or her phone in an airport and it winds up in your competitor's hands.
Does your firm have security standards for wireless devices? If not, it's time to start putting standards in place. If you already have such standards, consider the tips in this article for improving your standards. Once these ideas become corporate policy by virtue of their adoption in a standards document, your recovery plan will flow much more smoothly.
Addressing Wireless Devices in Your Corporate Standards
In the context of a recovery plan, standards serve two purposes:
- Standards can keep disasters from happening. "Don't store paint thinner in a server closet. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Make regular software and data backups."
- Standards form the foundation to ensure that your disaster recovery plan will execute gracefully. If your recovery plan says "Go to list A and call certain people back to work," the instructions assume two things:
- List A exists.
- List A is up to date.
- The action in the recovery plan (using the list) is supported by the standard (the list must exist), under pain of violating corporate policy. Got it?
By the way, are you thinking in terms of a paper list? Don't you have everyone's contact info in your BlackBerry or iPhone? If so, that device could be very helpful if your office burns down or you're otherwise cut off. But we can do even better. What if a corporate standard like the following could be devised?
- Everyone has the same (or compatible) wireless devices.
- Everyone has the same emergency names, lists of recovery teams, and relevant documents.
- Everyone has sensitive info encrypted, just in case a device gets lost or stolen.
Standards like these would keep everyone on the same page in a disaster. Some companiesand vendorsare moving in precisely this direction. Even better, systems are being developed to update your recovery plan automatically, and then broadcast changes and updates to your responders. All of these changes take place by virtue of the wireless devices that your responders will carry with them all the time.
Consider Tenet Mobile's PINpoint application for emergency management of BlackBerry phones. According to BlackBerry and Tenet, PINpoint automatically collects the most up-to-date documents and contact information from a company's internal systems. It then "pushes" this information out to any number of phones, without the active involvement of the user of each device. This information is automatically stored on the BlackBerry so that it will be available and up to date when needed. Cool!