Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery: A Wake Up Call

Rob McIsaac

Recent events in the Northeast remind us of what an awesome power Mother Nature can be. Insurers’ planning needs to account for likely scenarios lest they put their customer relationships in peril at the very time the contractual promises they have made are needed most. A mobile app that goes dead, a website that is down or a phone unanswered amounts to the same thing: a breach of the trust that was implicit in the policy or contract. To guide insurers as they strategize for future catastrophes, I’ve just published a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Checklist, which is available on our website.

In another era, there may have been more time to recover and have some level of customer sympathy for a company plight. No more. With instant gratification an expectation and some firms’ battle hardened by previous natural disasters, reputational risk rarely can stand significant outages and service disruptions.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning is a practical reality of running a modern financial services company. The very survival of the companies CIOs work for may be dependent on the availability, flexibility and adaptability of the plans that they are charged with creating and managing. Keeping the plans fresh and routinely practiced, and re-evaluating them as circumstances evolve, can allow technology organizations to stay a step ahead of the next event. The plans themselves need to adapt to changes in technology deployments, business model needs and customer expectations. Making routine elements of the plan something that can be handled reflexively will open teams up to thinking through the implications of new events which happen in real time–and this can ultimately be the difference between recovery and simply a disaster.

The full report, including a checklist of specific initiatives to consider, is available online here.