When we talk about Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan for any business or organization, we need to necessarily plan for Crisis management too. Though the objectives of all these plans might vary, they are all interlinked, interdependent and mutually inclusive. In large scale business organizations as well as high technology organizations with large operations, managements invest resources and management time in building all these plans. The effectiveness of these plans lie both in detailed planning as well as ensuring drills and mock sessions from time to time so as to keep all the teams engaged and aware of what is to be done in case of a disaster or a crisis.
Crisis management is also a part of Disaster management. When any disaster either man made or natural strikes the business operations paralyzing the normal operations, threatening the business, involving destruction of property, resources, lives etc, the Organization is faced with a crisis. It is one matter that the Disaster recovery teams will start action as per their plan and work towards getting the business back to its normalcy, but there is a need for a crisis team involving the management to be activated at such situations. The crisis team comprising of senior management and functional heads quickly gather together to form a team to oversee, co-ordinate and facilitate the disaster recovery and other plans.
Crisis management involves managing and facilitating decision making, authorizing and providing financial resources, facilitating co-ordination and support from external agencies, facilitating and overseeing medical and other facilities for the staff and employees if need be coupled with reviewing security and taking adequate measures for enhancing the security around the site. More importantly the crises team involving senior management will need to deal with media, govt. agencies, insurance as well as with families and relatives of employees as well as the public and manage communications on behalf of the Company. Managing media and providing the right information is of vital importance to the Company’s reputation during any crisis for, the information provided can adversely affect the Company’s share prices as well as the markets. It is the crises team that holds the executive authority to take decisions of all nature including financial decisions to ensure that the crisis is managed and recovery is underway without glitches.
In terms of executive authority and powers to ensure smooth and fast recovery, as well as in terms of managing the media and information, the Crisis team holds the highest responsibility in the Organizations during any disaster or crisis. The selection and inclusion of the members to the Crisis management committee is very important and should involve senior board members as well as functional heads and senior managers from all functions.
In practical world, businesses do anticipate business risks and build continuity plans to arrest the damage. However disasters like terrorist attacks or major fire, flooding etc can impact the business operations so heavily that the disaster recovery plans may not be adequate in the event and would warrant planning and action on a different scale involving external agencies and help. Crisis team in such situations becomes the major fulcrum around which the entire disaster management recovery and management can take place.