Given the back-to-back hurricanes hitting the United States lately, the number of business recovery plans activated recently has made it a busy time. Many advisory firms in Texas, Florida and other places faced the challenge of running their businesses while staring down an evacuation and dealing with other important matters, such as ensuring the safety of family members and personal property.
These events always test even the most detailed and robust business recovery plan. For all of us, this is a reminder to review our business recovery plans. Here are several areas to be re-evaluated and considered anew.
1. Make sure you have a fluid document.
Your firm’s business recovery plan should be a living document and resource. Specifically, it requires on-going attention as your firm changes and adds new products, solutions and even environmental modifications.
In general, it’s easy to incorporate significant product changes in your plan, such as a new reporting system, upgraded trading technology and new servers. However, it is the system infrastructure and environmental changes that can — but shouldn’t — be overlooked.
For example, if you decide to switch the primary Internet provider for your office, how does this change impact your backup Internet provider solution? Sometimes it is these “minor” environmental changes that can end up causing the most havoc during a business recovery event.
Because your business recovery plan is a living document, the size and complexity of your firm should dictate who is responsible for updating and implementing the document. This task often falls to the IT department.
But remember, every employee should have specific roles and responsibilities. So, if you are the head trader at your firm, you should own or at least be a co-owner of the plan for your area of responsibility. This could include the details and tasks for each of your direct reports during a business recovery event.
Be careful, though, since you don’t want each department to become a “silo” for its specific area of the business recovery plan. To avoid this situation, keep the plan glued together with a holistic view of the needs for your entire firm.
2. Plan for flexible time stoppages.
Perhaps the greatest unknown during a business recovery event is how long is it going to last. Will the power be out for an hour, a day, a week or even longer?