Let’s face it, you don’t know what’s happening until It’s happened; it takes time to find out what has occurred. What it major? Is it minor? Did IT get impacted? Was revenue (or other financial impacts) lost? Does the public know? Or worse, does the media know?
I’m all for plans and planning but you just won’t know everything up front when some sort of operational interruption occurs; be it weather related, power related, or some other interruption that causes a major disruption for the organization. Confusion is going to be present and it’s going to be present until you’ve got a handle on the situation. The amount of time from the disaster or operational interruption to the time you have a handle on what’s going on – and what needs to be done by way of a response, is where your plans and processes kick in.
Well versed organizations and individuals will know what questions to ask and what protocols to initiate almost immediately because they have a response protocol in place. They’ll know who to call together (e.g. the “Disaster Team”) and how to call them and know who is responsible for what key action, such as who speaks to the media. Those that don’t know or have anything like a “DR” team in place or any kind of incident response protocols in place, will be the ones that have the most confusion and take the longest to get a handle on the situation.
This delay will allow for the public and media to begin to speculate on the situation, which could – and probably would, cause rumour and conjecture to run rampant. It’ll also cause employees to be disgruntled because they’ll be wondering what to do and why they aren’t being told what to do to help; they’ll be confused just as much as anyone else, yet the secret to solving the incident probably lies with them. But all the confusion will be compounded if there’s nothing in place.
Some level of confusion will always occur, especially at the outset of a disaster, as organizations start their investigations but that confusion will become frustration and anger if you don’t have an established response protocol in place. You can be forgiven for a few moments of confusion, you won’t be forgiven for if it looks like you don’t know what you’re doing.
© StoneRoad 2015
A.Alex Fullick has over 18 years’ experience working in Business Continuity and is the author of numerous books, including “Heads in the Sand” and “BIA: Building the Foundation for a Strong Business Continuity Program.”