In this weeks’s video I talk about business continuity planning (BCP) which is always a relevant topic anytime our organizations experience crisis events like the one we are going through now with COVID-19.
It amazes me each time we go through an event, how unprepared most organizations are. This give us the opportunity to help our organizations learn and improve from these events (in fact, if you are like I was many of you may be a part of your BCP team and are literally helping execute the plan now). After each event there is an opportunity to refine our plans, and this is one area where we can help provide value as we come through the initial challenges.
I know many IIA, ACFE, ISACA, etc… local meetings, conferences and trainings have been cancelled, leaving some of you and your teams without your normal monthly CPE hour options.
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Stay safe my friends.
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Jason Mefford: Welcome to another episode of The chief audit executive briefing. Hey at this week. I wanted to talk a little bit about business continuity planning.
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Jason Mefford: Now I know with a lot of the things that have been going on a lot of your organizations have turned back to their BCP plan and you’re probably implementing it.
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Jason Mefford: But what we find is, each time one of these things happens most organizations aren’t ready for it. So even when they have a plan.
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Jason Mefford: Or sometimes their plan is actually not as effective as it could be. And that’s because there’s really six different things.
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Jason Mefford: That you need to be thinking about from an impact perspective that I want to talk to you about today.
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Jason Mefford: Okay. But to start with. I just want to, you know, share with you and experience from my career in this is, you know, was a different event.
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Jason Mefford: But it was a time when we had to access our business continuity plan and we learned some things
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Jason Mefford: You know, by going through these events and I’m guessing that this is kind of similar to what’s going on in your organization as well.
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Jason Mefford: So I’m here in California and some of the things that we have to deal with our Earthquakes, fires and then usually the resulting mudslides
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Jason Mefford: When we get heavy rain after a fire. And so what happened is the company that I was working for. We had a couple of different incidents that actually happened within a very short period of time.
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Jason Mefford: And one of them that happened was we had. It was a larger earthquake, it wasn’t, it wasn’t really very big, but it, it happened during business hours.
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Jason Mefford: And it wasn’t very far from our headquarters, where the epicenter was, I think it was only about a three and a half on the Richter scale.
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Jason Mefford: But it was enough that it shook the office and it shook up our employees. Okay.
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Jason Mefford: Now, at that point, you know, we had a BCP plan in place. In fact, our admin manager in our headquarters was the one who was kind of designated as the point person.
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Jason Mefford: And so when the earthquake happened, I was expecting the admin manager to pick up the phone decide what we’re going to do, because everybody started asking do we evacuate the building. Do we go home. What are we supposed to do.
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Jason Mefford: So, you know, again, our admin manager was the one who had the primary responsibility for that. Now, the issue was our admin manager had just retired.
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Jason Mefford: And so it was a man that had been with us for a long time and I didn’t even think about that in the transition of him retiring.
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Jason Mefford: And a new admin manager coming in that she did not realize she was the one with the responsibility for it. So she was looking to me and I was looking to her and then we finally realized what actually happened.
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Jason Mefford: Now, again, we had, we had a plan in place. In fact, we actually had extra food in the headquarters in case, for example, our employees could not go home.
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Jason Mefford: The problem was, you know, that again when that event happened when the earthquake happened.
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Jason Mefford: And we started going through our BCP plan, we realized, for example, that the food that we had had actually expired. So we’d purchased it before it was already, but it was actually expired.
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Jason Mefford: So there’s little things like that that you start to learn as you go through these kind of events. And again, I’m guessing that most of your organizations are experiencing some of this now.
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Jason Mefford: Where maybe they had a plan, but they’ve never had to actually implement it. And so there were some things that you can learn or some lessons learned.
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Jason Mefford: To kind of move forward. At that point, this is a good opportunity for you to get involved, usually in that process and to be able to help out. So first, you know, to be able to help
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Jason Mefford: But also to be able to understand maybe where there are some areas for improvement. Now that brings me to the next point that I want to talk about, which is
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Jason Mefford: The plans themselves plans themselves should not be based on particular events. Okay. And so, so what I mean by that is no organization should have had a coronavirus response plan because the problem is we didn’t know that coronavirus or co VI de
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Jason Mefford: Was going to be the event, we didn’t. We couldn’t anticipate that that was the event because this particular virus strain didn’t exist, a while ago. Right.
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Jason Mefford: And so we can’t anticipate the actual event, but we can anticipate those six different impact areas. And so as you’re developing business continuity plans.
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Jason Mefford: They should be focused on how do we deal with the impacts of these six areas, regardless of what the event happens to be
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Jason Mefford: Okay, because it doesn’t matter what the event is almost every single crisis issue has the same six impacts and here they are. The first one you lose access to your facility.
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Jason Mefford: So in this particular one that we’re going through now all of you are probably experiencing that
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Jason Mefford: With things like the quarantines and requiring people to work at home you have lost access to the most part to your facilities.
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Jason Mefford: So as a result, if there are things that are physically at your facilities that you need access to. You may have limited access to it now.
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Jason Mefford: So that’s one of the areas that you want to be focusing on in your plan area. The second one is a loss of communication.
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Jason Mefford: Now in this particular event that probably did not impact you, because the power wasn’t out and we could still communicate via phone, email, things like that right video chats. So that probably wasn’t a big deal for you.
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Jason Mefford: The third one is the loss of power and again in this instance that the event didn’t normally have an impact on your power.
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Jason Mefford: But again, you’ve got to see where some of those correlations are if you lose power, you probably lose communications. You probably also lose the fourth one which is data.
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Jason Mefford: Because everything is tied or is usually electronic now so that if we don’t have power. We can’t access our communications and we can’t access our data. Okay.
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Jason Mefford: In fact, we can’t access our facility usually either because we can’t see there, you know, we can’t get in because the security systems and we can’t actually see because there’s no power in the building.
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Jason Mefford: So those are kind of the first four that normally end up happening now. The fifth one relates to supply chain disruptions.
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Jason Mefford: And so again, in this particular event that we’re going through now you can see where the supply chain has been impacted
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Jason Mefford: So companies that rely, for example, on a lot of imports from China have been impacted because obviously a lot of that has slowed down.
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Jason Mefford: Because of you know some of the impacts to these businesses around the country as well the supply chain has been impacted a lot more people are purchasing online putting a lot more
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Jason Mefford: Demand on kind of the, the transportation and that ends up having some supply chain impacts or if any of the companies that you’re partnering with have an issue with this again that can impact your supply chain.
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Jason Mefford: Now the last one. The sixth one is employee casualty or absenteeism and so those kind of go together because either you know in some crisis’s you may actually have some of your employees die.
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Jason Mefford: Which would be employee casualties, or they could just be absent from work because either they’re sick or for some reason, like, you know, we have here in California quarantine.
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Jason Mefford: They’re not able to come into work. So they have to be able to work from home. Now again, these are the six areas that your plan should be should be dealing with
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Jason Mefford: And that’s why this issue, even though. Again, a lot of people have to work from home. Now, a lot of companies, for example, have options for employees to be able to work from home.
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Jason Mefford: So because of that, the impact from employee absenteeism is decreased again, regardless of what the event happens to be
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Jason Mefford: So again, just wanted to kind of go through that with you a little bit today, take this as an opportunity to be able to help your organization, improve its business continuity planning going forward.
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Jason Mefford: If you have any questions, if you’re not really sure where to start just reach out to me. I’ve dealt with this a lot and I actually have some
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Jason Mefford: Industry experts that I turn to as well so that if you’re needing a little bit more help on this, just let me know and we’ll see what we can do to help. So with that. Have a great rest of your week, my friends, and I’ll talk to you next week.