4 steps to ensure continuity after a disaster

/ 05:03 AM September 04, 2017

We all live under the constant threat of impending disaster—as the recent Batangas earthquakes have reminded us. (Three already this year: Twice in April and again just a few weeks ago, in August.) Experts say that “the Big One” is overdue. But should the unthinkable happen, how can businesses ensure that contingency plans are in place and that the business can continue as much as possible?

We asked Rolando Valenzuela, a former chief risk officer, risk adviser, senior bank executive and subject matter expert on operational risk for some tips on how to ensure business continuity when disaster strikes. Here are his thoughts and insights:


First, the enterprise must designate a crisis leader. This is usually the COO or president him/herself. The crisis leader also appoints members of the business continuity (BC) team with specific recovery responsibilities—this would normally include the IT head, operations/business process head, customer relationship officer, public affairs/corporate communications head, HR head, admin head, head of risk, and for banks/financial institutions, the chief compliance officer.

Next, the crisis leader must ensure that the entire organization knows precisely what to do when any business disruption with major human, technological and physical losses occur. Hopefully, some basic preparations have been done, such as: In your own unit or department, have you backed up important files or at least saved them “in the cloud” or a physical storage facility?


Third, the company must stand ready with resources available to restore and maintain in a timely manner the critical operations and functions and minimize the business impact of a crisis event. For example, did you identify back-up personnel who can take over some critical functions if needed? Do you have an emergency genset power source and telecom circuits with a different grid from your central location? Furthermore, try to come up with a “grab list” of important resources that must be protected (and yet recovered quickly) in the event of a disaster.

And finally, the business must have an enterprise contingency plan which has been communicated, regularly tested, with crisis scenarios simulated across the whole organization and supported by an alternative operating platform including suitable back up business information systems. If not, this must be developed and activated immediately by the responsible crisis leader and the BC team.

Valenzuela will be facilitating a workshop titled “Operational Risk Management: Practical Guide to Business Continuity” on Oct. 4, 2017 at the Inquirer Academy.

The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the workshop or if you would like to add your input on the article, you may email [email protected], call (632) 834-1557 or 771-2715 and look for Jerald Miguel or Judy Bondoc, or visit the website at

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TAGS: Business, Disaster
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