This content was originally featured in the February 1, 2023 newsletter here: https://www.trustinsights.ai/blog/2023/02/inbox-insights-february-1-2023-business-continuity-planning-twitter-algorithm/.
Do you have a business continuity plan? If you work at a larger organization, chances are you do. If you work at an organization that handles sensitive data, chances are you do.
Every other day there have been announcements of massive layoffs. Layoffs in the tens of thousands. I have to imagine there are tasks that will fall through the cracks and ultimately not get done at all.
One of the biggest liabilities a company can have is a person. They will have specialized skills, institutional knowledge, and relationships that all live, and leave, with each person.
What if you don’t work at a large company, are undergoing massive layoffs, or handle sensitive data? Do you still need a business continuity plan?
The answer is a resounding “yes!”
Now, you likely don’t need a plan that is as detailed or as in-depth as a larger company, but you should be prepared for “what if?”.
Let’s start at the top. A business continuity plan covers the basics around what happens if a disaster (think large scale power outage) strikes, a system goes down, or a principle resource leaves suddenly. The key elements are readiness, recovery, and contingency.
We just went through a very silly, but also useful exercise with me, Chris, and John. We played out the scenario where each of us goes missing and then asked the other team members what they would do next. After a heavy debate on which bounty hunter we’d want to find us (Liam across the board), we outlined the basic steps we would take to keep the business running.
It occurred to me that this is a good excuse to talk about the 5P Framework. As a refresher, the 5Ps are Purpose, People, Process, Platform, and Performance.
If you’re a smaller business or even a solo shop, the idea of creating a business continuity plan might feel daunting. This is where the 5Ps can keep things simple. This is what ours looks like, generally.
Purpose: Katie goes missing, and the business needs to keep running
People: Chris will take point on basic operations and our advisor for communications
Process: Chris will reach out to accounting and our advisor. The advisor will reach out to the clients to let them know that any interruptions in service will be brief while there is a change in management
Platform: Using a pre-written list of the most used systems, Chris gains access to Katie’s systems
Performance: Trust Insights doesn’t lose clients, and invoices go out on time
Purpose: Chris goes missing, and the business needs to keep running
People: Katie will take point on communications and a contractor for client work
Process: Katie will bring on a contractor to get up to speed on Chris’ code that powers the client deliverables. Katie will communicate to the clients to let them know that any interruptions in service will be brief while there is a change in resources.
Platform: Using a pre-written list of the most used systems, the contractor will gain access to Chris’ code and systems
Performance: Trust Insights doesn’t lose clients, and deliverables go out on time
Purpose: John goes missing, and he wants to stay missing. We respect his wishes.
You get the idea. This is obviously a very quick and dirty version of our plan but while walking through this exercise, we realized that we did not have adequate backups of our code. We were able to remedy this situation and now have a process in place to keep backups of the code in a place where the proper resource can access it.
You don’t need to have an elaborate business continuity plan but you should have a general idea of your systems and what key team members do. You may not be able to document every single thing that someone does but you should have a basic idea of the systems they use and how to access them. This will ensure that if the unthinkable happens you can at least keep the business running while Liam Neeson deploys his set of very particular skills to find you.
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