Risky business

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Publication date: 1 September 2004

Citation

(2004), "Risky business", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2004.07953faa.002

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Risky business

I have recently been working on the organisation’s disaster recovery/business continuity plan. Actually, I have been upgrading it from non-existent to almost useless. This is because the senior managers want a plan but don’t want to invest the money a “real” plan would cost. So, we talk about it … occasionally we upgrade equipment and build in additional resilience. But a real disaster would leave us “high and dry”. Now, that’s OK if it’s a calculated risk – not a penny-pinching abdication of responsibility!

Risky business (2)

I wrote the paragraph above not long after a fire in a cabling tunnel had taken out some key telecommunications cables leaving many of Manchester’s businesses without their primary voice and/or data connections. Crucially this included many mobile phones since the mobile operators rely on cables for much of their own infrastructure. Even those not directly affected were indirectly disadvantaged as more calls were re-routed over the undamaged cables, resulting in delays and dropped calls. There are many lessons to be learned from the incident but it did have the advantage of offering a “wakeup call” to many organisations; reminding them that a larger-scale emergency might have a significant effect on their ability to maintain their business operations. (Incidentally the tunnel had been built in the 1950s to withstand a nuclear explosion. Its amazing how often things designed to withstand large threats are susceptible to lesser ones.)