Comparing your organization’s incident response (IR), business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) programs to a heavyweight fight may not seem like the best analogy, yet bear with me as I think a strong case could be made that we all need to look at our daily operations as a bout with championship implications on the line.
The ability of an organization to respond to, and recover from, an event is the direct result of the planning and preparation efforts undertaken before the need arises… the training and conditioning, if you will. How many body blows anduppercuts can your business handle before you’re on the ropes? And, do you know your weaknesses – the risks and threats facing your organization – and is a mitigation strategy developed to lessen the impact and ensure that you can last into the later rounds?
Having a solid corporate resiliency strategy developed that encompasses IR, BC and DR is the single most important piece of the process, and having a support team to facilitate the necessary actions and steps could be the difference between being able to keep the company’s doors open to your customers versus being knocked-out.
In boxing, cornermen are in-place to help and guide a boxer through the match – to formulate strategies in-between rounds, remind the boxer of the game plan, and provide guidance. I hope that we can all agree that even before a fighter steps into the ring (or octagon), there has been a substantial amount of resources provided to, and supportive of, getting to that point. Without a strong trainer and conditioning partner, a manager and coach, the fighter would lack direction and focus.
The same can be said of an organizational resilience plan. Without the preparation and planning; the outcome of a response, and an ability to recover, could be severely impacted.
So, with my “cornerman” hat on, I’d like to share three relatively simple and straight-forward keys for success to surviving continuous jabs to organizational resiliency, and being able to answer the bell round after round. Whether we’re talking incident response, business continuity and/or disaster recovery, these three items are crucial to program development and a good defense.
Be your own Don King! The old adage of “there’s no such thing as bad PR” could ring true here. By ringing the bell of IR, BC and DR, you are ensuring that the organization understands the reasoning, importance, and necessity of each program and that buy-in exists. Proper marketing of each of the programs is essential to relaying important information and details and selling the program to everyone in the plan. Whether you’re marketing your Business Impact Analysis (BIA) or involvement and results from an exercise or drill, the larger the audience the better exposure and understanding that will be shared by all.
As with anything in life, understanding your roles, responsibilities, and goal(s) is directly related to the overall success of whatever you are striving to accomplish. An education program is vital to success of IR, BC and DR because it should clearly identify the organization’s strategy and expectations for any event or interruption – to a team and individual level. Individuals that understand what to do and when to do it are all vital to responding to a hook or multiple jabs – or even the ominous haymaker! A strong and formalized education plan will set-up individuals for success and also allow for better understanding and varying perspectives.
You have to have someone in your corner shouting-out the plan. A defined and tested corporate communication strategy and plan that addresses internal and external customers is needed to clearly communicate the status of an event, the impact to operations and your customer – to remain standing. Nothing is more detrimental to a response than confusion and miscommunication. In order to have a cohesive and directed response, communication needs to be loud and clear. There is no such thing as too much communication.
The one aspect that is being overlooked in my example is that, in boxing, MMA, etc., there’s a referee to make sure that all “play nicely” – or at least as nicely as fighting will allow. In an event, there is not the luxury of being provided with someone to make sure that rules are followed and a semblance of normalcy is adhered to – life can be more cruel than we care to admit, as the folks in Joplin, MO and New Orleans can attest to the fact that a referee would have certainly made a difference.
Realize that you’re not alone in your battle. If you don’t feel that you have a team in your corner, contact SecureState. Additionally, there are tools of the trade that will assist with your plan and response. While a cornerman needs multiple tools to get the job done – having an “IR, BC and/or DR” towel, water bottle, ice pack, or gauze and tape are important and necessary, too. Don’t overlook the value and benefit of taking small steps and engaging sparring partners to assist with program design and development. Be proactive and get your “fight plan” in-order. Begin the planning and preparation process now – while the unemotional and more-relaxed minds can prevail. Don’t wait until you’re being pummeled to realize that your unprepared and not able to pull yourself off the canvas.