Key Elements of an Effective Crisis Management Plan

UPDATED: January 22, 2024 

Crisis could happen at any moment. Whether its a polar ice storm (January you are not our friend) or one of you main executives decides to step away from the team for the time being, you need to be ready to anything that happens. You may have your Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP), but make sure you have plans in place for other "disasters" with a crisis management plan. Learn more about the difference below.

In a Deloitte survey of organizations from around the globe, "47% of those without a crisis management plan reported that their finances were negatively impacted by a recent crisis, compared to 31% of those that did have a plan."

A crisis management plan helps your organization avoid recovery delays, operational disruptions, and financial disasters. Therefore, is there a difference between a disaster recovery plan (DRP) and a crisis management plan? Simply put, a DRP is focused on a "disaster" (yes, we know, obviously) which is folded into your crisis management plan. Disasters can be bigger, like natural disasters or emergency shutdowns (looking at you COVID-19). This is included in the umbrella of your CMP. Crisis management is broad while disaster plans are specific. Crisis management covers the things your DRP does not. 

Under most circumstances, many IT departments regard a "crisis" as an event that can result in technical downtime. However, there is still a very human side of crisis management that also needs to be addressed.

What you need from Crisis Management plan Outside of a Disaster

When you are creating your organization’s DRP and Business Continuity Plan (BCP), don’t forget to plan for other events that could be considered a “crisis.” For example:

  • Financial crisis (Catastrophic losses, cost increases, bankruptcy, etc.)
  • Employee malevolence (Product tampering, terrorism, theft, etc.)
  • Executive malpractice (Scandal, organizational reputation, corruption, etc.)

While you may have already taken measures to protect your business against the effects of a natural or technical disruption, adding elements of a crisis management plan to your DRP can help support your organization for other crises.

Your crisis management plan can to incorporate the following three elements:

1. A Crisis Communication Team

Identify key players in your organization to respond during a crisis. These may, or may not, be the same individuals who respond to a natural or technical disaster. Establish a chain of command to streamline the way the responders act in different circumstances. For example, the crisis management team can include a PR representative and a senior executive, in addition to the disaster recovery plan team.

2. Crisis Risk Assessment

Address problems before they happen. Technical professionals conduct a BIA, or business impact analysis, to determine the factors that pose risks to the business’s infrastructure. The crisis management team should complete a risk assessment to foresee responses other than those of a technical nature.

3. Communication Channels

With natural and technical disasters, channels of communication can get strained quickly. Telecommunications during a crisis need to be carefully monitored, depending on the situation. For example, if the organization is hacked, responders might need to use a different communication channel to avoid leaking more information. Plan contingencies to deal with bumps in the original communication plan.

how to create Your Crisis Management Plan

You can think of a crisis management plan as an ancillary plan to support the organization for situations that occur outside the realm of a standard disaster recovery plan. Many of the same principles – like having a dedicated response team, leveraging enterprise technology tools, and anticipating multiple scenarios – also apply to designing your disaster recovery and business continuity plan.

Take advantage of the expertise of your local IT solutions provider. Certified consultants can help you design and deploy a DRP to work beside your crisis management plan. Contact Centre Technologies for more information about our disaster recovery and business continuity solutions today.

Originally published on June 10, 2015

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Centre Technologies Centre Technologies

Centre Technologies is a full-service IT consulting and managed services provider headquartered in Texas, with a focus on mid-sized businesses. As a trusted IT partner for well over a decade, Centre is recognized for its local experience and enterprise-grade cloud and cybersecurity solutions. Centre is committed to helping organizations harness the power of technology to maximize their operational efficiency and exceed their business goals. Learn more about Centre Technologies »

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