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Getting buddy arrangements in writing

If you take one message away from this short article it is this: if you make any arrangements for recovery locations with other people, ensure the ‘deal’ is recorded in writing and that this document is saved in the same file as your business continuity plans.

We’re all very good – we hope! – at including details of recovery locations in our business continuity plans.  If we’re very thorough, we’ll include the exact address, directions, the number of people who can recover there and the equipment available to them when they do, and contact details for people who ‘own’ the area so we can keep in touch with them.  We’ll also test the kit on a regular basis to make sure it does what we need it to do.

We’ll also keep notes of any arrangements we’ve made to allow others to use areas we ‘own’ as recovery locations.  We’ll record which area(s) we’ve agreed to hand over under which circumstances, how many people we should expect, what resources those recovering there will expect to find, and contact details for the recovering function/company.

But how many times have you found, after a year or so, one of the following has happened?

  • The person you made the arrangement with is gone and no one knows what you’re talking about
  • The department that used to occupy the area doesn’t any more
  • The kit the area used to have has been changed/upgraded (or not upgraded in line with your own)
  • Your needs have changed and the other party didn’t know
There’s a simple solution to this.   A really simple one.When you’ve made the arrangement, shoot the other party an email listing what you’ve agreed.  It can be informal in tone, but it should detail everything you’ve agreed, including:

  • Details of the area (address, etc)
  • Resources to be made available (kit, number of desks, telephones, access to network, particular software, a particular cupboard, etc.)
  • Circumstances under which it would or would not be acceptable for you to relocate to the area
  • Contact details when you need to activate the plan
  • Contact details for when you want to talk about the arrangement
  • A commitment to keeping in touch if anything changes or once a year, whichver is sooner
Then put it in the schedule of work for your business continuity plan that a copy of that email will be resent to the same contact each year to reconfirm the agreement – even if you’re in constant contact with the person at the other end anyway.
By keeping a clear paper trail you give others a path to follow and yourself the best chance of keeping your continuity plans current.



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