An awareness programme is an important element of any ongoing, proactive approach to business continuity planning and implementation, disaster preparedness and recovery, as well as crisis management.
Purpose of an awareness programme
On a fundamental level, the purpose of an awareness programme is to raise the level of awareness of an employee’s role before, during and after an event. It is important to emphasise preparation, mitigation and personal safety. By making employees more aware and involving them, you are making employees “lifeguards” of business functions and company assets, as well as their own assets. But that’s not all. An awareness programme can also be used to establish a baseline of your organisation’s awareness against which to measure the effectiveness of awareness efforts and to garner ongoing management support. We all know that unless we have ongoing management support and commitment, all our best efforts seem to fade away with time.
Benefits of an awareness programme
Awareness of the importance for a company-wide business continuity / disaster recovery programme;
Awareness of company commitment to business continuity planning and disaster recovery;
Appreciation and understanding of what could happen to a business during an event;
Awareness and knowledge of procedures to mitigate impacts of events;
Awareness of emergency response procedures;
Awareness of employee roles and responsibilities – both professional and personal.
Critical success factors of a good awareness programme
Provide relevant examples of events that could affect your organization and tailor those to your audience needs;
Communicate the value of an on-going business continuity planning / disaster recovery programme;
Create a baseline so you can measure the effectiveness of your awareness efforts;
Acquire and maintain executive support;
Create reusable materials and keep them up-to-date.
Take time off to answer these simple questions to help determine the level of awareness
1. Do you have a detailed Business Continuity Plan covering Information & Communications Technology, Premises?
Management, HR and all operational and support activities of your organisation? Y/N
2. Has it been audited? Y/N
3. If yes, has it been reviewed and updated in the last 6 months? Y/N
4. Has it been tested in the last 6 months? Y/N
5. Was the test 100% successful? Y/N
If the answer to any of the above questions is 'No'
What would you do to continue in business and maintain compliance if:
- There was a major flood preventing you from accessing your offices and it also affected surrounding offices
- There was a widespread power outage that lasted for 48 hours?
- A car bomb exploded outside your computer centre?
- A major fire broke out in the communications room and spread to adjacent computer equipment and offices?
- You discovered critical data was corrupted - on the mirrored disk as well as the operational disk?
- Telephone communications collapsed, with no hint of when normal service might be resumed?