When it comes to business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) planning, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every organization.
While most organizations have a disaster recovery plan, 23 percent never test their plan at all and only 29 percent test their plan once a year.
Why? 61 percent say there’s not enough time for testing and another 34 percent said it’s just not a priority where they work.
So, what can your organization do to help ensure that your BC and DR plans are integral parts of your organization?
Let’s take a closer look at both a centralized and decentralized program structure to see how they compare in ensuring your organization can remain resilient.
Centralized Business Continuity
Traditionally, centralized BC plans are created, evaluated, tested, implemented, and managed from a top-down corporate perspective, which often relies on the expertise of trained, specialized BC professionals. These professionals have unique skills and analyze the organization as a whole to evaluate risks, develop procedures for mitigation, and create comprehensive response protocols that can be shared consistently across an organization.
Centralized BC teams also drive plan building, implementation, reporting, documentation, and response procedures. These teams also help drive BC focus and can be beneficial in managing regulatory requirements and reporting necessities.
Benefits of a Centralized BC Program:
- Consistency in messaging, procedures, documentation, response, and follow-up
- Singular focus to ensure your BC planning and implementation never falls by the wayside
- A centralized BC team can deploy to respond with local teams for additional resources and support, no matter how large or small your organization is.
- Improved oversight and coordination
- Centralized BC programs often mirror your company’s organizational structure, making it easier to denote accountability and expectations
- Empowers BC team to take initiative for program success and decreases some challenges and response delays by removing reliance on cross-departmental plan owners who aren’t proactive or cooperative
But if you’re in a mid-size or large organization—or if your operations are geographically dispersed—can a single BC manager or team have comprehensive knowledge of everything that affects your organization? Further, what happens when a key member of your centralized BC team leaves? What are the short- and long-term effects of losing that knowledge center?
In this case, consideration of a decentralized program may be a good option.
Decentralized Business Continuity
A decentralized BC program distributes BC responsibility throughout an organization to BC plan owners or individual department heads. This approach allows owners to build plans based on their specific department operations or critical process, while the BC manager serves as a reviewer, analyst and project manager.
Decentralized programs can remove a choke-point structure that sometimes slows communication and response. Instead, it moves decision-making, risk mitigation and response to mid and lower levels, effectively fueling a tone-from-the-middle culture where everyone in the organization is part of the BC team.
This approach spreads BC knowledge throughout your organization, thereby decreasing possible gabs if a key player departs from your organization.
Benefits of a Decentralized BC Program:
- Utilizes resources of smaller, localized teams and champions for planning, execution, evaluation, and improvements instead of relying on one BC manager or team for all planning and response.
- Provides unique and valuable insight from departmental plan owners into how they function, what obstacles they face, and which resources are needed to facilitate response and return to normal operations.
- Removes the time-intensive burden of updating plans from your BC manager so they can instead focus on larger organizational priorities such as testing, data analyzation, drills, performing BIA, preparing for audits, increasing their education on the industry, and broader program development.
- Removes single-point failure (i.e. one person becoming unreachable during a crisis) by empowering multiple BC planners as points of contact.
- Helps improve organization-wide cooperation and enables horizontal teamwork.
- May be less expensive to adapt your existing team to BC priorities than to develop a centralized BC program.
- More response flexibility for risk mitigation or disruptions.
- Especially beneficial for large or global companies, decentralized BC eliminates communication delays between BC managers and geographically dispersed team members when plan building.
The Assurance Impact
Decentralized BC plans can benefit from Assurance’s Advisory Services and software. Our experts can help your organization adapt by enabling your plan owners to quickly and easily update their specific department plans or critical processes right in our software. Assurance customers have access to free in-classroom training and the Customer Knowledge Base that includes articles and videos to educate and train your plan owners on best practices. Check out our resources section for more.
Need help deciding if a centralized or decentralized program is best for your organization? Visit our website or contact an Assurance certified business continuity professional today. We will be happy to help.
For more great industry information, check out our free infographic:
Topics: Business Continuity
Written by Assurance Software
Assurance Software takes your company’s enterprise-wide business continuity and resiliency program to the next level. With Assurance as your go-to partner for continuity and resilience, you can confidently mitigate risk, manage recovery, and safeguard your employees, customers, operations and brands.