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September is National Preparedness Month in the U.S.: Take Advantage of It

by Roberta J. Witty  |  September 4, 2012  |  3 Comments

It’s September. Kids are back to school and we adults have an internal clock driving us to start something new. BCM professionals can take advantage of this quest by leveraging the annual U.S. National Preparedness Month – Presidential Proclamation — National Preparedness Month, 2012.

If you haven’t done so already, schedule an event at work or in your community – take a peek at this site – National Preparedness Coalition – to see what everyone around the country is doing. Some of the events are tiny, some sponsored by large organizations. Think about what you can do in your own organization:
1. Schedule a test of your emergency notification process or your crisis management plan. It doesn’t matter if your call trees are automated or not, schedule the test. And use a minor event for your crisis management plan exercise – getting the team together to walk through the overall procedure is as important as going through every detail of a complex scenario.
2. Take a snapshot of where your program stands on the basics such as: last BIA completed, the date of the last recovery plan tested, does every department have a BCM contact. Inventories and checklists are a great way to gather data that can be used to develop new projects to help mature your BCM program.
3. Talk to the local emergency services agencies for each of your facilities to better understand their response capabilities so that you have a better sense of what will be available during a disaster than impacts more than your own facility. Report this information to your management so that they know what extra steps you might need to take in your own recovery procedures.
4. Talk to your insurance company to understand if you have business interruption insurance, and if you do, what they will cover, how long they will cover you and how you need to report the information to them if you experience a disaster at a covered facility. Report this information to your management as well – they may have a misconception of how much your P&C insurance will help financially.

Gartner has many resources for you to use to improve and mature your BCM program.
1. Start with my latest note “Applying Lessons Learned From Catastrophic Events in the Decade Since 9/11 to Improve Your BCM Program” – it provides a nice chart that outlines the biggest lessons learned for continuity of operations since 9/11 – clearly the “line in the sand” that marked the rejuvenation of the BCM profession.
2. Use our two notes: “Toolkit: Assessing the Effectiveness of Recovery Plans Following a Disaster” and “Improve Your IT Disaster Recovery Plan, and Your Ability to Recover From Disaster” to assess your recovery plans – and it’s a nice add-on to the inventory step I mentioned above.
3. Assess the maturity of your BCM program by doing a self-assessment using the Gartner ITScore for Business Continuity Management model.

Finally, you can find all of Gartner’s research on risk mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and restoration here: “Research Roundup: Business Continuity Management and IT Disaster Recovery Management, 2Q12”.

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Roberta J. Witty
Research VP
11 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Roberta Witty is a research VP in Gartner Research, where she is part of the Compliance, Risk and Leadership group. Her primary area of focus is business continuity management and disaster recovery. Ms. Witty is the role specialty lead for… Read Full Bio

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