No doubt cyber terrorism is a real, evolving threat. It seems a month doesn’t go by without another cyber attack in the news. Our paper world has transformed to digital, with valuable personal, financial, and medical information out in the vulnerable virtual ether. Cyber attacks happen, computer networks fail, and files get compromised.

Preventing and thwarting these types of threats largely relies on the expertise of information technology (IT) teams. And though IT certainly reserves a substantial residency in business continuity management (BCM), planning sweeps a far wider landscape.

Any situation that can cause a disruption in your operations or services calls for space in your business continuity plan (BCP) – anything from a major hurricane to a disgruntled employee or destruction to company property. Your BCP’s goal is to provide you with processes and procedures to avoid any type of disruption and consequential damage when an event occurs.

Let’s take a look at some potential incidents outside of your IT team’s direct responsibility:  

Natural Disasters
Mother Nature. From hurricanes to state-of-emergency storms, nature doesn’t always give you time to plan, and it often shovels out more than you can handle. Many natural disasters, of course, can trigger IT issues and other situations listed below, however your procedures for responding to a flood will certainly be different than those for an earthquake. You don’t want just a “natural disaster plan,” you want custom plans for the most likely events.

Acts of Terrorism or Violence
What if there’s a bomb threat from within your office? Do you have a way to warn the warehouse workers when you’re in lockdown and the perpetrator cuts your phone lines?

Or an active shooter takes action across the street from your office? What do you do and how to warn others who are on their way to the building?

What if an employee unknowingly opens a mail package that contains toxic materials?

Threatening disgruntled employees and perturbed customers - what is your plan for extinguishing those situations? What if you cannot?

Staff Missing in Action
A major traffic pile-up that bars half of your staff from reaching the office – how will you function until they can arrive – if they do?

A plane crash takes your top-level executives who were returning from your satellite location – aside from the shock and grief, who will manage their integral roles?

What about a major flu outbreak afflicting the majority of your employees?

Vandalism/Physical Property Damage
Fire drills are required by law, but they don’t typically go deeper than ushering everyone out of the building quickly when the alarms sounds. What would your staff do in the event of a real fire that destroys your equipment or makes your site uninhabitable for months?

Or what about burst plumbing? Freezing temperatures in the winter can wreak destruction on old pipes – and how would you know your building’s plumbing situation, you’re just leasing the space.

Plan for the Best, Expect the Worst
These are just a fraction of events that could unleash disruption and disaster. As you can see, complete preparation does not rest solely on the IT department. IT would not be expected or prepared to handle a bomb threat or loss of upper-level management.  It’s imperative for your company and employees’ survival to orchestrate organization-wide buy-in from all departments and management – HR, operations, customer service, etc. - for a thorough, robust business continuity plan.

To learn more about how to take your business continuity planning to the next level, check out our webinar, "6 Steps for Creating a Security-Minded Culture."

Topics: Business Continuity

Angie Longacre

Written by Angie Longacre

As a writer for Assurance Software, Angie devotes her craft to promoting business continuity and disaster recovery awareness, and trumpeting Assurance Software’s invaluable benefits for both. When she’s not commanding the keyboard, you can find her outside for a run, searching for her next antique treasure, or lost in a good book.

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