Elements of an Effective Crisis Management 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 and a crisis management plan?

The Houston Chronicle says, “A crisis is any event that threatens your company. This can range from a natural disaster to the loss of a major client or a scandal among your executives” (Source: Chon.com).

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

Crisis Management Outside of a Disaster

When you are creating your organization’s DRP and 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.

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.