Chapter 4. New Contingency Program Paradigm

Background

Strategies versus Plans

The word plan should never have been associated with disaster recovery or business continuation. According to Webster, “plan” “refers to any detailed method, formulated beforehand, for doing something.” This “something” is to take reasonable steps to ensure business continuity if a disaster strikes. That does not mean dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” for all combinations of possible incidents. But it does mean doing it in a cost-effective way, considering the low probability of an unplanned disaster actually happening to a specific facility. Therefore, developing strategies that give line managers the latitude to work out details as needed makes more sense than creating detailed step-by-step procedures that probably will never be used.

One of the disturbing implications with detailed disaster recovery plans is that immediately following a facility disaster, no one will do anything to help restore operations until they sit down and read the Disaster Recovery Plan Manual to determine precisely how it was supposed to be done. However, most organizations that survived facility disasters never had such a manual. Department mangers were capable of quickly identifying options for ensuring business continuity depending on the specific nature of the disaster. And they were capable of working out implementation details on the fly. So instead of developing detailed plans, think strategies.

Terrorism has ushered ...

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