« Business Continuity, Continuity of Operations Planning

Include vendors, partners in business continuity risk analysis

Don't let a vendor's crisis slow down your business.
Don't let a vendor's crisis slow down your business.

A business impact analysis for a potential disaster is a key part of proper preparation and planning, but many companies make the mistake of not going far enough with their assessment. According to Forbes, vetting vendors and partnered firms for their continuity potential is equally important.

The full impact of a natural or manmade disaster on a business is hard to anticipate. Companies can perform a continuity analysis, but they also have to take into account their supply chain and the other firms they do business with on a regular basis. A failure to do so can disrupt the entire process and cause serious loss for a business, even after it deploys a high-quality continuity of operations plan.

The risk is that simply asking if your vendors perform a business impact analysis doesn't cover all your bases. According to the news source, you need to get more details on the results of that analysis, and ask what their recovery objectives are – especially with regard to the products or services your company purchases.

You need well defined questions to assess the continuity potential of your vendors, and their capacity to maintain their business with you when a disaster occurs. Other questions Forbes suggests are:

  • "What pre-defined strategies do you have in place with regard to the products and services we receive from you for responding to the loss of critical resources including work place, work force, your own third-party vendors, and your application systems?"
  • "Have you conducted an exercise in the past 12 months that included actual recovery of all of the application systems that are needed to resume provisioning of the products and services that we receive from you? If so, what were the results?"
  • And the fore mentioned, "What are the defined recovery objectives for each of the products and services that we receive from you?"

These questions will help you gain a clearer picture of how capable your vendors are of recovering quickly from a crisis, as well as how much their recovery time will impact your own operations. As the news source stated, "at the end of the day, you want to get past the superficial to the actionable," and there's no better way to accomplish this than digging deep and asking the questions on how their continuity efforts will affect your firm directly.

Of course, the same goes for your business. You may find companies you work with asking you the same questions, so you need to develop a fool-proof continuity of operations plan that will get you up and running with minimal impact to yourself and partners. Hiring a high-quality disaster recovery consultant can help expedite these processes and outline the best practices necessary to see success regardless of the hurdles in your path.