POWER CUT, power cuts, business continuity, disaster recovery, business continuity plan, iso, iso 22301

Are you ready for the unexpected? Here’s some food for thought.

Did you know that:

► More than 40% of businesses affected by the Manchester
bombing of 1996 went out of business?

► Approximately 18,000 businesses ceased to exist following
the attacks of September 11 2001

► 92 businesses employing 9,500 staff were forced to leave
their premises following the Buncefield explosion that took place on 11 December 2005

Whilst the impact of these events may be getting lost in the mists of time, the UK power cut in August has definitely raised business continuity up the corporate agenda.

Almost one million people across England and Wales lost electricity on the evening of Friday 9 August following the failure of a gas-fired power station in Bedfordshire and several units at an offshore wind farm in the Humber. The result, you may remember, was chaos making national headlines and leading to a government enquiry.

Traffic lights stopped working and key airports, Ipswich hospital, railway networks and the London underground were all affected. Was your organisation affected and what arrangements did you have in place to mitigate for the outage?

Did they work?

Such an incident does serve to remind us all of our reliance on third party suppliers and that, however improbable, unexpected events do and will occur and we need to have appropriate arrangements in place.

Furthermore, taking the power cut example, it’s not just good enough to implement some backup arrangements and assumes they will be available and will immediately function when called upon. When did you last check whether your generators were working or that your UPS will kick in when expected? Will the phones still work when the power fails? Also, don’t just focus on the loss of power, you need to think about other key suppliers (some of which you may be
taking for granted!) such as mobile phone networks, landline phone, your network/ISP provider, the Royal Mail, or your facilities management company.

Make sure you exercise BC arrangements around all your key service providers ensuring they will work as expected when called upon in a real incident. Many of you will, rightly, take part in regular fire drills where you work, however, fire is just one type of incident and it is often overlooked that there are many more types of incident that can occur and impact your organisation.

By running a range of drills will help to exercise all the different elements of your arrangements, identify any gaps or issues which can be resolved and help to provide reassurance you are prepared for any eventuality!

If you need more information on current best practice, register for our seminar on where we will be advising organisations on how they can improve their business continuity capabilities using ISO 22301, the world’s leading standard in business continuity management.

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