“All-Hazards” Approach to Business Continuity Planning

  • June 3, 2013
  • Andy Vanderhoff

What is all-hazards business continuity planning?

What It’s Not

An all-hazards business continuity planning approach is not simply planning all-hazards mitigation, as is more commonly found in different organizations. Mitigation is typically perceived as a form of reimbursement after an event or disaster had occurred. All-hazards BC planning is more comprehensive; it includes preparing your organization to encounter or respond to all threats and vulnerabilities as they may approach. In other words, you are not planning for specific scenarios; you are preparing your organization regardless of the scenarios that it may encounter.

Secondly, all-hazards BC planning is not just a high-level statement of policy. When it comes to continuity and disaster recovery planning, many organizations tend to be heavy on the policy/regulation and light on the implementation. Business continuity planning needs to be more action-oriented, while at the same time not diminishing the need for clear policies.

What It Is

All-hazards business continuity planning means preparing your organization for any disaster scenarios that may occur. It is a proactive approach: not if but when troubles and disasters are coming, your organization should be able to implement comprehensive BC plans. How, then, should we go about planning for all hazards? The most effective approach is focusing your plan on business processes — the dependencies that you need in order to maintain operations (e.g., key buildings, infrastructures, applications, people, vendors, etc.). An all-hazards BC plan should be designed to support your continuity of operations when one or many of these dependencies are impacted by disasters.

If good BC plans are in place for the loss of any of these dependencies, then your organization is ready to respond to any event or scenario that it may encounter.