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This article could easily be titled, “The Things People Do”. When it comes to assessing business continuity and resumption (BCR), I think I have seen it all until the next assignment. Here are some gems to get you thinking about your environment and things to keep your eyes on.

The Obvious Not Being Obvious

I once worked in a very secure environment that required security clearances for everyone, including the custodians. It was a critical operation that had to function with 99.999 reliability. On my first day I inspected the building and grounds from top to bottom with the Facility Manager. My role was Security and Business Continuity Manager.  I had us commence the tour in the subbasement “bunker” of the building. We entered an electrical vault and I could not believe my eyes. Despite massive amounts of money spent on a post-disaster structure, the architect created a nightmare from a business continuity perspective. In this same room that was only about 8′ x 12′, he designed it to house the main electrical panel for the entire building. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well, also inside the room with this panel was the primary electrical transformer. Does it get worse? YES. Also housed in this room was the backup transformer hanging disconnected on a pipe and suspended off the ground, ready to be placed into action, if needed. Well conceivably if the primary transformer blew up, wouldn’t it damage the backup sitting across from it and possibly the main electrical panel sitting next to it? The estimate to correct this was over $400,000. The Things People Do.

The VPN Is Too Private

Today’s tech companies use Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) as a standard way to facility work from home and secure connectivity for employees. One client has a sit that at the time had a headcount of 140 FTE’s. However, that was expected to rise exponentially in the next few months. Everyone in this operation has a laptop. Everyone has a cell phone. Laptops and cell phones are all that is required for this client to get it’s work done. Simple? The biggest challenge here for BCR was that the VPN requires licenses and with pending headcount soaring in several cities, there would be a shortage of VPN licenses and possibly no budget to purchase more. It’s great that all employees have the tools and infrastructure required to get the job done and looking at the layout of the city, even internet connectivity has been great during past natural disasters. However, this client’s operations could be severely restricted due to a simple thing…VPN licenses. We have now seen this problem several times in our consulting practice at numerous client sites. What about yours?

These are just a couple of examples of the many things you may encounter as you chip away at your Business Continuity and Resumption Planning. The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has courses and guides that may also assist you. Thanks to my good friend, Clive Lunn for reminding me after my last post!