Creating a BC plan? Be sure to get execs on board

Volcano planeThe impact of downtime isn’t just financial—hidden costs can domino so quickly that a company can find itself out of business before the lights go back on.

That’s why it’s important to plan for the worst before it actually happens. One widely quoted statistic from the American Management Association suggests that nearly half of businesses that suffer a major disaster without first having a recovery plan in place never reopen their doors.

At the risk of hyperbole, even minor disasters can grow to be devastating. So why do so many executives refuse to plan? The best time to put a BC/DR plan in place is yesterday—but the second-best time is today.

Here are some thoughts on how to convince your company of the wisdom of planning ahead.

Key talking points

Here’s what to say when you’re making your case.

  • Planning ahead will save lives when—not if—a disaster strikes.
  • The survival of your company could depend on the extent to which it’s prepared.
  • Exercising care and preparedness is an obligation to stakeholders, shareholders and customers.
  • Increasingly, BC/DR is the law—not acting soon to put a disaster recovery plan in place could expose executives and board members to heavy fines, or even time in prison.

The benefits of BC/DR

When pushing for a BC/DR plan, remind execs that business continuity planning can help:

  • Identify and mitigate risk well before you need to do anything about it.
  • Minimize decision-making time during a disaster.
  • Make recovery run faster and smoother in the days and weeks after a catastrophe.
  • Reduce legal liability and safeguard your reputation and brand.

“It can’t happen here” is a dangerous belief—and it needs to be overcome

The perception often exists that disaster means an extinction-level event, but the reality is much more innocuous:

  • Your website goes down for two days, causing customers to go to competitors.
  • An ice storm knocks the power out for hours, leaving your manufacturing floor idle.
  • A hacker steals customer names and credit card numbers from your database.
  • Four members of the senior management team—including the CEO and her chosen successor—are tragically killed in a small plane crash.

Senior leaders who have trouble with what-if predictions might tell you these things can’t happen, but they can—and they do. Who could have predicted, for example, that a volcanic eruption in tiny Iceland would wreak havoc with global air traffic for a month?

Helping senior management see that it makes sense to be prepared for anything and everything is key to your organization adopting a BC/DR mindset.

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