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The job of creating and implementing business continuity and disaster recovery plans typically falls to a small group of individuals, a single person or even an external consultant. However, who should be involved in the planning process is a much broader issue.
Business continuity (BC) typically focuses on the organization, whereas disaster recovery (DR) focuses on the technology infrastructure. The first, and possibly most important, point of employee involvement in business continuity and disaster recovery plans is during the business impact analysis. Interviews conducted with employees during a BIA note the following:
- What employees do;
- Their relationship to the company's performance;
- Employees' dependencies, both internally and externally;
- The resources they need to perform their job; and
- The impact -- financial, operational, competitive or reputational -- on the company if employees are unable to complete their work.
Data from a BIA is essential to determining recovery and continuity strategies and converting them into recovery procedures.
BC/DR exercises and training
When contemplating DR, employee input is, again, important -- usually via the BIA -- in helping the IT department identify critical systems, security requirements, network requirements and even capacity planning needs. As DR plans are typically linked to BC plans, the process is greatly enhanced if employees are involved at key stages.
Once business continuity and disaster recovery plans have been developed, the exercising process validates each employee's knowledge of their job and the procedures designed to keep them working. Employees will need to be periodically retrained concerning their duties during an emergency to ensure BC/DR plans remain top of mind.
One useful goal of a BC/DR plan is to help employees understand how they can incorporate these principles into their own workflow. This can apply to activities such as new product development, supply chain management, or modifying existing systems and/or processes.
Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are living documents, and involving employees -- across the full spectrum of BC/DR activities -- is key to keeping those plans worthwhile to the organization.
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