ACP Event Takes Fresh Look at BC/DR Strategies

The First State Delaware Chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners (ACP) conducted a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Tabletop Exercise as part of their chapter meeting on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 from 9am to 12:00pm at the Wilmington University, Wilson Graduate Center. The tabletop discussion was related to a new book coming soon to Amazon in early 2015 entitled “Simple Guidelines for Successful Disaster Recovery Planning” presented by the author and Wilmington University Adjunct Professor Harry Fisher.

This tabletop activity included representatives from eight different industries (Hospital, Refinery, University, Elementary School, First Responders, Government, Senior Center, and Farm – Department of Agriculture).

Businesses are taking a fresh look at their BCDR strategies, and most are finding they fall woefully short. The time it takes to overcome any disaster (flood, fire, water main break, equipment failure, attacks preventing network availability, etc.) can create from hours to days of downtime. The results of that downtime can be catastrophic:

  • Nearly 4 in 5 (78%) of businesses faced with a catastrophe without a contingency plan are out of business within 2 years.
  • 90% of companies unable to resume business operations within 5 days of a disaster are out of business within 1 year.

One of the obligations that all enterprise executives share is ensuring the survival of the business in the event of a disaster, be it a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, or an unnatural disaster like an act of terrorism. But as many individuals tasked with this responsibility are finding, developing, documenting, and deploying a BCDR plan can be a difficult and time-consuming undertaking.

Testing a BCDR plan can also be an expensive proposition. As such, many enterprise planners are embracing “tabletop” exercises as a more economical approach to plan validation. Tabletop tests are similar in concept to the training pilots receive in aircraft simulators, and are useful in enabling business continuity personnel to practice their skills in a safe environment.

In this ACP sponsored simulated community-based event, attendees learned about the potential impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the Wilmington Delaware community. They also learned about BCDR best practices, and drafted a basic BCDR Plan consisting of a Risk Assessment, Business Impact Analysis, and ways to mitigate or reduce the impacts to the business. A mock online competition was used to experience the challenge of racing-against-the-clock in teams to warm-up while teaching basic BCDR vocabulary terms.

To wrap up the event, Each team briefly shared their anticipated business impacts from a Hurricane, should one occur in the greater Wilmington area.

To view a video of the event, please follow this link: http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/skr17

To view a video produced by Wilmington University detailing the Impact from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, please follow this link: https://www.kaltura.com/tiny/n8za7