Developing Business Continuity Strategies

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DRI International (DRII) has developed an overview of professional practices designed to “assist the entity in the development and implementation of a BCM program.” In addition to being sound resiliency methods, these practices serve as a foundation for various DRII business continuity professional certifications.

With this resource as a guide, we at Send Word Now are briefly examining each professional practice, tying in relevant concepts surrounding emergency communications. Our fourth article in a series highlights DRII’s Professional Practice Four: Business Continuity Strategies.

Developing Business Continuity Strategies
If you’re following the DRI Professional practices to this point, you’ve collected a great deal of information about possible organizational threats, and their potential impacts. You’ve also established Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) as key resiliency benchmarks. Now it’s time to turn all of this data into specific business continuity strategies, the focus of DRII’s professional practice four.

The primary goal of this phase is to take data collected during previous steps and “identify available continuity and recovery strategies for the entity’s operation’s and technology.” Of course, these strategies cannot just live on paper. They must be approved and funded by the organization. This takes a bit of work, as a cost-benefit analysis should be undertaken to ensure the required investments for implementing the recommended strategies are not out of line with asset values and risks.

According to DRII, the professional’s roles here include the need to:
– Utilize data collected in the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) to identify strategies for meeting RTOs and RPOs

– Consolidate strategies, where appropriate, to reduce costs and complexities

– Assess the cost of implementing the strategies through a cost/benefit analysis

– Recommend strategies and obtain implementation approval

Business Continuity Strategies and Emergency Notification
Business continuity strategies can be varied depending on the needs of the organization, the requirements of a particular division and/or the available resources. However, a common element to the pursuit of virtually every strategy is the need to communicate rapidly and accurately, while obtaining all-important feedback from response teams and other stakeholders. As such, decisions on emergency notification technology and critical communication processes should be factored into the strategy formulation equation.

From a consolidation of resources standpoint, make sure the solution is being leveraged adequately across the entire organization. “Silos” of communication channels should be eliminated, or at least minimized wherever possible. Emergency notification services like Send Word Now, for example, make this easy to achieve. With a host of customizable Features by Account (for tailoring the application to the customer), the ability to assign various user roles and responsibilities, and the wide diversity of modalities available for sending messages, industry-leading emergency notification services can help your entire organization achieve its critical communications goals.

From a cost-benefit analysis perspective, consider the cost of not having an automated notification system in place. In many industries, response time delays can be easily correlated with lost revenues. In addition, if your organization is still utilizing old-style on-premise, or dedicated hosted systems, explore the significant Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) cost savings from an online Software-as-a-Service (Saas) provider.

The business continuity strategy development phase is where informed decisions are made about how an organization will respond to contingencies. Once approved and funded, these strategies serve as guides for management, response teams, employees and other key people during an incident. Incorporating emergency communications discussions within this phase will help ensure adopted strategies are both effective and practical when the unexpected occurs.

If you’re interested in learning more about DRI International’s BCM certifications, you can find additional information here. Watch for future installments in this series.

It should also be noted DRI International is not listing these professional practices in order of importance, and suggests some of these may be undertaken in parallel with one another._