Feb 9, 2011

Wednesday on Writing

Three essential points my book on Business Continuity teaches:
• Thinking about what could go wrong and devising a preventative is good.
• Having a plan for what to do if things do go wrong is good.
• Knowing how to go on even if everything goes wrong is priceless

It is important to take care of the inexpensive backups to business and equipment so that minor disasters are prevented in the first place. Every critical piece of equipment in a business should have a battery backup. These devices are not intended to keep you running for any kind of a long time. You need a backup generator to jump in and keep the main electrical supply alive. But generators do not start in milliseconds, so the battery backup has to keep you going until the generator is online. It may only take 30 seconds, but without that battery, you would be down before the generator kicks-in. This is just one of the things you can do to keep a minor event from becoming a disaster.

Having a plan for people to walk through your business and take stock of what survived and what did not survive a power outage is important too. Do you have other equipment that did stay running? Is the down equipment damaged, or is there a protocol in place for bringing it back online and checking it? How long does it take to exercise such a plan and get everything back up and running? Did some of the batteries fail? Why? Do you have spares? The idea here is to get back up to 100% as fast as possible.

Even more important, if the reason the power went down was something outside of your company location, how long will that generator last? Do you have alternate locations where you can perform your company's business? Do you have sharing agreements with competitors or similar businesses where each of you can use some of the other's resources in such an event? Do you have insurance to cover all the additional expenses? Do you have a backup plan to your backup plan? When it's all said and done you have to be able to do business the next day. Keep that income flowing so your company is able to keep pace with the industry.