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The Value of a Spare Key: Why Business Continuity Management Must Account for Key Personnel

Michael Henry

We’ve all been there at some point during our lives: locked out of the house or car because we’ve lost or forgotten our keys (and it always seems to happen when we’re already running behind!). But as frustrating as the situation is, the good news is it’s usually short-lived—once we have our spare key in hand, we’re back in business. But what happens when it’s a key member of your team who’s been lost or sidelined? Do your business continuity management plans account for that?

A strong and focused business operations plan includes the identification of key personnel as well a succession plan for those essential people. In addition, a successful Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) plan must identify the key recovery personnel and critical responsibilities to be addressed in the event of a business disruption. If some of the key personnel cross over between business operations and the BC/DR team, then it’s even more important to be confident you have all your bases covered.

Business Continuity Management Protocol Should Include Your Staff, Too

I’ve seen many different scenarios that have had an impact on our clients’ businesses, including the unexpected absence of critical team members for extended periods.  Even for Mail-Gard, a perfect storm of circumstance can cause us to put our key personnel contingency plans in motion. Summertime, for example, is always a time for careful scheduling to accommodate vacations, resulting in managing with a leaner staffing model. When you add in unexpected absences due to short/long-term illness or job separation, particularly if key personnel are affected, critical staffing has the potential to go from lean to skeletal.

Now is a good time to take a hard look at your key personnel plan as well as your BC/DR personnel responsibilities. Use yourself as an example to answer the following questions:

  • Have you identified one or two dedicated back-ups for your key personnel?
  • Do you have a Procedures Manual for the tasks of each of your key personnel? If so, has it been tested to see if it’s understandable as well as current?
  • Is any historical or “tribal” knowledge sufficiently documented for reference purposes?
  • Have you identified dedicated backups for your BC/DR team?
  • Is your BC/DR key team current and familiar with the disaster recovery procedures?
  • Have your BC/DR backups participated in DR exercises?

It’s always challenging when a critical team member becomes unavailable for an extended period of time. Be prepared with a solid business continuity management plan that includes backups for your recovery teams, especially when it comes to testing, exercises, and onboarding. Remember to keep that spare key around, because thoughtful and diligent planning, preparations, and practice are key to successful business continuation.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2018/07/31/business-continuity-management-staffing/
Michael Henry


Michael Henry

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