There are many layers to proper business continuity planning, but perhaps one of the most important is the garnering of proper equipment. Even if your plan is well-drafted and effectively thought out, it could quickly become unhinged due to equipment deficiencies or malfunctions. Therefore, whether you are planning for sudden outages; natural disasters; or violent threats; it is key that you take inventory and stock and fine-tune yourself where necessary.
Regular audits are imperative to the success and stability of any institution — especially a business — and they are a great way to evaluate current equipment and illustrate holes in your comprehensive continuity plan. Start by making a straightforward list of all equipment needed for various possible threats and disruptions, beginning with what is obvious and working down to what may be more obscure or potentially overlooked; the latter is key, as threats and disruptions are not always easily fixed or overtly simple in nature.
Broadly speaking, the types of equipment you will want to assess could range from generators, various fuels, and portable means of heating and cooling to emergency medical supplies, fully charged batteries and portable sources of power, and applicable safety equipment like gloves and specialized clothing. Though, it is important to note that each business’s unique needs will be different
Knowing how to proceed
After careful consideration and appropriate auditing, the next step is to determine how to fill any voids and hone any weaknesses within your current equipment inventory. In most cases, this process can be divided into crucial segments:
- Identify vendors that supply the equipment needed — perhaps those rooted in software, service, supply, or hardware. Round these leads up in a list and distribute it to all continuity personnel. This step may seem obvious and simple, but careful steps should be taken to establish vendors that are both trustworthy and stocked with quality products and services.
- Establish records to supplement your shoring up process. Specifically, you will want to ensure you have a backup of all software, database records, tapes, procedure manuals, and other internal documentation that could help accelerate your recovery process. It can be easy to overlook record keeping en route to broader continuity improvements, as these improvements may mitigate the need for records to begin with, but stay vigilant in this regard to avoid being blindsided.
- Explore alternate options such as remote working and “bring your own device” (BYOD) flexibility in times of disruption. These methods foster a “bend, don’t break” mentality and strive to maintain as much normalcy as possible.