While we all hope that our businesses will never have to endure an emergency situation of any sort, it is imperative that we are thoroughly prepared if an emergency does arise. Rapid response and emergency management has been improved greatly by the tools that are available to us, but most of these tools are useless without a properly prepared response team. With the right tools, a trained team and an organized set of instructions and information, your Business Continuity Plan will do its job to improve response times and minimize chaos.
1. Have an up-to-date call triage list of all key personnel
On a semi-regular basis, take some time to review and update your current emergency triage list. This includes reviewing each contact to make sure their role or contact information has not changed. Have each key personnel check and double check that their listed contact information is up to date.
2. Define the role and expectations of key personnel thoroughly
Having a clear definition of expectations and duties for each recovery role will help ensure that the right personnel is chosen to fulfill key duties. Without the right team and available skill sets, recovery efforts can quickly become chaotic. In addition to skill set and experience, availability should also be considered and discussed with personnel to ensure that they are committed and able to be available at any moment to assist in recovery.
3. Work from a detailed script during a disaster
Have a thorough, pre-defined list of actions and questions that need addressed, in order of importance. Be as specific as possible and have multiple scripts for different possible scenarios. Identify a primary and secondary owner of each action or specific area of information. This will significantly reduce chaos, as well as response times.
4. Complete multiple practice run-throughs for different emergency scenarios
Map out various emergency situations that you and your response team may encounter and need to overcome and do a test run. Practice runs should be completed every time a member is added or replaced on the key personnel list. This will help to identify any missing pieces in the recovery plan and best prepare personnel for a real emergency.
5. The DR plan should contain a map and directions of how to reach the recovery site
We'll let this tip speak for itself. First responders and key personnel need to know how to get to the recovery site. General directions, necessary modes of transportation, and locations of key resources are all important things to include.
6. Maintain a current diagram of the entire network and recovery site in the DR plan
In addition to keeping a current diagram, make sure that you or one of your key personnel has a full understanding of each network and recovery component, what roles they play in the overall network and how they may be effected during each disaster scenario.
7. Have a list of 24-hour supply resources at the recovery site and where they can be located
Preparing this list will help ensure that necessary resources are available during the recovery process and that they are easily located. This also means that a list of resources used during recovery efforts needs to be kept so that they can be replenished before another emergency.
8. Include a list of critical applications in the DR plan
While listing the applications themselves will help to clearly indicate available resources, the list should also include a brief overview of each application's functions and instructions for their use. This can help to provide some clarity in chaotic moments, even for well trained and prepared personnel. Additionally, with this information, backup personnel are more likely to be successful filling in if ever needed.
9. Provide an updated list of vendor contacts and insurance documentation
This list should be made available to each member of the response team. Members should be advised to keep multiple copies of this list in various accessible locations (work and home computers, physical copies in your office and car) or somewhere that can be accessed at any time in the event that the information is needed. Having this list accessible will allow the necessary external emergency contacts to be notified of the situation, allowing them to either assist in response efforts or activate their own recovery response. This list should also be reviewed and updated on a semi-regular basis to ensure all contacts and information are up-to-date.
10. Use a reliable conference bridge equipped with Emergency Conferencing & BlastDial™ features
Sonexis conferencing solutions are built with Business Continuity in mind. Disaster Recovery and Emergency Management features are available on the ConferenceManager™2, including DR accounts, emergency ring-down capabilities and BlastDial, which allows first responders to quickly and easily connect to begin recovery efforts immediately.
11. Consider a conference bridge with Multi-Level Precedence & Preemption (MLPP)
MLPP is an added feature required for JITC solutions, which are primarily bought by government agencies who need to ensure that communication channels will be available in the event of an emergency. This tool operates under Class of Service and allows Administrators to assign top priority to certain users or channels. When these channels are opened, all other activity is stopped and the entire system becomes dedicated to the emergency communication channels.
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