3 keys to master the human side of business continuity

When it comes to business resilience, it’s easy for decision-makers to get caught up in cyberspace. There’s no denying that the protection of network assets such as servers and storage is essential to navigating any crisis situation – SBD Magazine recently noted that 95 percent of information in the enterprise environment is digital. However, there is a whole other side of the coin in the world of business continuity: the people who animate the organization with value and productivity. Failing to account for this aspect of continuity is a common, and sometimes fatal, mistake.

While the restoration of apps and data is vital, decision-makers must create a continuity strategy that ensures the momentum of the business from a human perspective. After all, a lopsided approach to disaster recovery will bring about uneven results once it comes time to face a serious business interruption. Here are three people-centric factors of continuity that must be included in any complete strategy:

1. Plan with unmistakable clarity: A continuity roadmap must be created with painstaking precision at the macro and micro levels. That means developing directions based on department, from a hierarchical standpoint and on an individual basis. While these distinct groups appear separate on paper, their interconnectedness must be reflected from a top-down perspective, all in accordance with the technological capabilities of the DR component. Only when these elements form a reliable ecosystem of actionable, objective-based planning (and are thoroughly tested) can an organization consider itself prepared.

The human aspect of continuity can’t leave anything up in the air. When a crisis scenario arises, people need to be 100 percent certain on where they need to go, who they must report to and how they will continue to remain productive in the coming hours, days and weeks. Furthermore, they must be fully aware of the technical measures taken by the organization to keep data readily available. Application variety and connectivity are often limited in the early stages of recovery, and staff members will need to know what they can and cannot access to ensure smooth restoration.

2. Notify early, often and accurately: A hectic atmosphere can cloud judgment, muddle communications and throw contingency plans out the window despite months of planning ahead. Even the most highly informed and educated workforce needs in-the-moment guidance when crisis mode sets in. That’s why a reliable notification system is a critical component of any continuity blueprint, especially for organizations with multi-tiered plans and dispersed personnel. SMS-enabled alerts and directions can keep a strategy moving forward no matter what forces attempt to derail it from its course.

The best notification systems offer much more than standardized messages – companies must be able to tailor these alerts based on the individuals who receive them. Optimized continuity plans leave nothing to chance, and maintaining clarity at all times is a core part of this approach.

3. Dedicate team-centric workspaces: Most employees can only work in isolation for a few days before cabin fever sets in, dismantling focus and slamming the brakes on productivity. This is especially true for personnel who work primarily in close, team-based environments requiring constant back-and-forth. While chat and video conferencing tools can be useful in a pinch, the collaborative energy fostered in a face-to-face setting can’t be replicated in the digital realm. To keep the magic alive and maximize creative potential, team members need a dedicated physical workspace to get together.

Employees should have options when it comes to backup work environments, especially if weather is a prohibitive factor. Having multiple facilities readily available for staff members to congregate is continuity at its very finest, and a sure-fire way to promote optimal results in the face of adversity.