Communications are the Key in Business Continuity

When developing business continuity plans it can be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the people with whom you'll need to interact if the plans are ever used "in anger".

If plans are invoked, each level in the incident management hierarchy will need to communicate with others, both above and below their own level. For instance:

• The incident management team will need to communicate upwards with the Executive Team and downwards with the Business Recovery Teams;

• The executive team may have to deal with shareholders, the parent company or the government, as well as providing strategic direction to the incident management team;

• Business recovery team leaders need to understand the pressures that the incident management team may be under as well as considering the needs of their own staff.

So don't develop your plans in a vacuum. Whichever recovery team you may find yourself in, when developing your own plan, think very carefully about the actions required to achieve not only your own team's objectives, but also those of the next level up. Consider also what assistance you can give to the level below yours, to ensure the actions they take will impact positively on your own objectives.

Thinking one level up and planning one level down will ensure plans are developed in the context of "the bigger picture", resulting in incident management and recovery being more effective.