- Getting Executive Commitment: How Not to Brief Your Executives
- What Management Does NOT Want to Hear
- Define the Scope of the Preliminary BIA
- Data Communications
- In the Next Article
Define the Scope of the Preliminary BIA
As with all projects, you must determine the scope of the BIA. This can be done by meeting with the appropriate management initially to determine their expectations for the outcome of the BIA. At this point, it is imperative that you set the client’s expectations, telling what deliverables they will and will not get from the BIA.
Should You Use a Preliminary BIA Questionnaire?
Many contingency planners use questionnaires in the preliminary BIA process. In most cases, they go out to managers, project leads, or heads of departments because they are generally more knowledgeable about the wide scope of activities in their area. Sometimes these work, depending on the organization’s culture. Other times such questionnaires are delegated by the responsible manager to others to answer some of the more technical questions regarding budget, communications, computers, etc. More than likely they will be blown off altogether, and a 10 percent return rate is typical. Sorrythere is no shortcut to face-to-face interviews with responsible managers and executives, as described later in Part 3 of this series.
It may be possible to line up responsible managers and questionnaire recipients in a meeting. One trick is to have a senior manager call the meeting. Even if all they do is say a few words about importance of the project and then gently excuse themselves, you have a useful forum with those who stay. Make the most of this time! At this time, you should also arrange for any equipment you might need to make the presentation(s), such as projectors, PCs, screens, handouts, etc.
The type of information you are going to hone in oneither in interviews, questionnaires, or meetingswill vary from project to project. This depends upon such things as the size of the company or organization, the amount of time you have to complete the BIA, how much access you have to the people answering the questionnaires, etc.
Relevant information may include, but is not necessarily limited to:
- Accounts receivable standards
- Accumulation of non-processed transactions
- Business and technical impacts
- Business and technical recovery requirements
- Bypass plans and procedures
- General concerns of a major business disruption
- Impacts to client’s customers
- Interactions between client and its customers
- Interactions between client and its suppliers
- Location and type of off-site storage
- Methods and frequency of backing up data, computer programs, and operating systems
- Monetary effects of a major business interruption
- Operating expenses incurred during an outage
- Production and company processes and procedures
- Production computer programs
- Legal consequences of a major business interruption
- Regulatory consequences of a major business interruption
Normally, a company’s or organization’s critical employees would be expected to execute a recovery, be it on-site or at an off-site recovery center. However, keep in mind that, in an area-wide disaster, employees would give their homes and families priority over their work. They might refuse to go to work to do the recovery. In this case, alternate personnel would need to be available and identified in the recovery plan.
Alternatively, if a company or organization contracts with a backup site, the contract can provide for alternate personnel supplied by the backup site during recovery. Obviously, recovery center personnel would have to periodically receive updated training to know how to perform the recovery for a client that could not supply personnel.
The preliminary BIA should consider all personnel needed during the recovery, including management, salaried and hourly personnel, and support staffs. Keep in mind that all may not be needed the first few days, so it should provide room for how many people are needed the first day of recovery, the second day, etc.
To perform a company or organization recovery, damaged or destroyed equipmentcomputers, fax machines, telephones, voicemail hardware, filing cabinets, desks, chairs, copiers, PCs, laptops, printers, forms, etc.would need to be replaced. Even when such services are contracted far ahead of time, the equipment may not become available, installed, and available for use within the timeframe required by a company or organization doing a recovery.
Another solution is to contract with a company or organization backup site. For a subscription fee, this site could provide the facilities, equipment, and personnel to resume business operations on short notice for the affected company or organization. This approach is usually much more economical than mirroring facilities and equipment.
Voice Communications (Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence, or ”4Ci”)
As we all know, voice communications is one of the most critical elements of company or organization operation. A disaster could disrupt voice communications. During an area-wide disaster, not only telephones but also cell phones are quite often useless because the phone networks rapidly become saturated, and they can only handle a certain number of calls at any one time.