Developing business scenarios for BC/DR exercise planning

Business scenarios deal with situations that can happen within an organization and may also impact organizations that conduct business with the firm. They should be addressed in your business continuity/disaster

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recovery (BC/DR) exercise planning process.

When we talk about "business" scenarios, we can gather input and inspiration from many of the other categories and situations discussed. An effective way to develop a business scenario within your BC/DR program is to begin with an understanding of your own business and how it works.

Assuming you have completed a business impact analysis, you should have business and financial impact data covered. Next, consider organizations with which your firm conducts business. A supply chain disaster scenario within your BC/DR exercise planning may be very effective in demonstrating that your firm needs to focus more closely on its business partners and their contribution to your firm's success.

Another possible scenario is to identify transactions that impact thousands or millions of dollars at a time. What would happen if some key (e.g., an authorization code) necessary for the transaction is entered incorrectly or (even better) is deliberately entered wrong? How much would the business be at risk for (e.g., litigation, loss of reputation and fines by government agencies)?

Now the BC/DR exercise planning scenario is both more realistic and more challenging, especially if the problem cannot be easily tracked down and a critical deadline (with possible fines and lawsuits) is fast approaching.



Why Use It

Disaster affecting a major raw material supplier causes shutdown in a manufacturing company

Loss of raw materials -- which may result in a major break in a supply chain -- must be addressed

Supply chains are critical elements for most businesses; a disruption to one or more key components in a supply chain could disrupt the entire business

Audit discovers that a firm has not achieved compliance with HIPAA security regulations; company is subsequently fined and loses business due to loss of reputation

With so many federal and state regulations to address today, there's always the possibility of something "slipping through the cracks"

Severe penalties (e.g., fines, jail terms) for failure to comply with regulations make this a high-priority activity

During a local television interview, a company executive accidentally discloses an activity that later turns into a major exposé that results in multiple lawsuits

Members of the media regularly, in their efforts to get a "scoop," will try to get people to make statements that may negatively affect their firms

Company spokespersons must be properly trained and briefed before facing the media

Evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered during a merger process, causing an end to the merger and numerous lawsuits

Extensive disclosure and discovery during a major merger/acquisition are often required by both sides, and could uncover potential problems

Despite proper due diligence, negative business situations can occur that may initially be considered "least likely"


This was first published in July 2013

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