I’m sure most of us are tired of hearing that we’re living through unprecedented times, but of all the things that may emerge from this current situation, one positive is that it has given me a bit of time to catch up on stuff I have been putting off. We all tend to put off the less exciting things in life and a few weeks ago, before the pandemic started, I was in a meeting with a client discussing the merits and importance of business continuity planning, or at least some form of disaster recovery. It’s not a terribly exciting subject, and something that is often overlooked, principally because the whole premise is founded on a ‘what if’ scenario. By its very definition, it may never be used. It was an uphill discussion, my client being of the opinion that a business continuity plan is something that’s nice to have, but of limited practical value because hopefully it will never be used, or will it?
I’m reminded of another episode from my past, I had secured the backing of the CEO of another client to perform a spontaneous disaster recovery exercise at one of their factories. Everything was planned in secret and on Sunday morning the CEO messaged his executive committee to tell them to report to the plant as there had been a fire and the entire building had been destroyed. We waited as they arrived one by one to be told by the CEO the purpose of the exercise and why they were there. Apart from obvious irritation on being deprived of their croissants and coffee and Sunday paper just to stand outside a factory at 8 on a cold February morning and listen to me, the one phrase we kept hearing repeated, “We can deal with this, I’ll just go and get my laptop off my desk”.
If we learn only one thing from this pandemic, is should be that stuff happens and has unpredictable results. A business continuity plan can’t prevent it, but it can certainly soften the effects and it will help you return to some form of normality faster than your competitors. So whatever your chosen disaster, whether fire, ransomware, pandemic or a whole lot of unplanned parental leave in nine-months time, plan for it. It could save your business.