If your business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan was mature enough before 2020, you had probably found a good cadence of maintenance updates. Reviewing, updating, and refining your BC/DR plan to be ready for action likely included closing some gaps from exercises and plan testing, updating roles and responsibilities due to employee changes, and updating contact information for vendors. All in all, like regular spring cleaning, it probably had become a relatively easy, routine task.
Then the “volcano” of COVID-19 exploded on all of us. Dark skies, ash everywhere; if you didn’t already have a pandemic BC/DR plan in place, the hope was quick reaction to the extreme situation would allow your business to survive. Even for those who already had a separate pandemic plan, it’s safe to say the entire experience was new and challenging. Implementing a plan many of us had hoped we’d never have to use required a learning curve that caused many to simultaneously slow down and react quickly.
It was a tough situation all around, and while we’re not out of the woods yet, updating your BC/DR plan is still crucial. But like so many things, 2020 has changed what we once considered “normal” and has given those in the BC/DR arena another layer of complexities to address.
What Pandemic BC/DR Efforts Taught Us About Overall Planning
Process improvement experts often suggest blowing up a process as the best way to rebuild it, and COVID-19 certainly did that for pandemic BC/DR plans in 2020. But now that there’s a bit more space to stop and reflect, we can see that the basics of overarching BC/DR plans remain intact. These plans didn’t exactly “blow up,” but they did gain distinct new elements. Knowing what we know now, here are four things to keep in mind as you update your BC/DR plans:
1. Get back to the basics of your BC/DR plan
Follow best practices to be certain your maintenance is up to date. This is where your “before 2020 normal spring cleaning” comes into play: make process tweaks, ensure correct employee contacts are listed, update vendor information, etc.
2. Keep your pandemic response as an extension with its own set of requirements
Now that we know what we know, we can create a separate pandemic plan filled with best practices and other learnings. Updating this list will include pandemic-specific items, like masks, cleaning supplies, social distancing, contact tracing, and vendor support.
3. Don’t let pandemic BC/DR bog down the basics of your overall BC/DR plan
It’s easy right now to get caught up in trying to prevent the frenzy that was adjusting to COVID-19 in 2020, but planning for a pandemic shouldn’t take priority over planning for other disasters.
4. Cover all your bases when it comes to planning
A flooded facility will need a different plan than a pandemic, so make sure you’re looking at how to keep your business in business from multiple angles. For both parts of your plan, be certain to consider the critical communications required to be produced and mailed to your clients.
Planning for another unimaginable event is stressful, and while we can’t predict the future, we can try to prepare for it. If you’re worried about covering all your basics, feel free to reach out to the Mail-Gard team for a comprehensive review to ensure your critical communications plans are up-to-date and ready for spring.
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