Otago Daily Times

The method against the madness


‘‘There’s a whole process you go through,’’ Mr Mulholland said.

Usually he and his consultant­s start by getting an agreement with the chief executive to put the plan in place. Then they work, normally with a Clevel manager, to carry out a risk assessment.

‘‘Hey, you’re living in Queenstown. That’s a major earthquake risk because of the southern faultline. It’s fairly isolated. It’s only probably got two comms links into the city. Isolate all of those risks.’’

Then he looks at impact; what is the impact if you cannot do your business?

‘‘There are critical areas. If you’re running a call centre you still need to be able to answer your clients. If you’re a manufactur­er you need to be able to be pushing your goods out your door.’’

After the impacts are known, they work out a strategy.

It is common to have two data centres or moving data into the cloud.

Another option is to have another operation in another city.

‘‘If we’re talking call centres what you often see is people, if the call centre fails, they can just go to another location and sign in and start working.’’

Businesses also must know how their customers will be impacted by any changes.

‘‘Eighty percent of your income normally comes from 20% of your clients, so of course you focus on them.’’

A budget needs to be applied to the plans. There are cheaper strategies and there are ‘‘Rolls Royce’’ plans.

‘‘If you go for the Rolls Royce it’s going to cost you a lot of money.

‘‘Only airlines, banks, hospitals are getting into that game now, [and] need the Rolls Royce solutions.

‘‘Other companies can live without their systems for 24 hours, 48 hours or some up to a week.’’

Mr Mulholland said many businesses take several years to put in place because of the budgeting and training required.

Then tests of the plan need to be carried out with a crisis management team that dictates how the plan is carried out.

‘‘And then once it’s in place you just keep it up to date.’’ because they’re having to deal with something that is totally different. There may be dead bodies in the passageway, there may be someone outside with a gun . . . buildings collapsing, or they’ve got problems at home.’’

He said some people will rise to the occasion, but they have to be controlled as well.

‘‘Look you’ve got to go home, you’ve been here for 12 hours, you need a rest [and] we’ll see you at eight o’clock tomorrow morning.

‘‘It’s really adrenaline pumping as well.’’

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