Business Continuity: What We're Missing

Veteran BC Leader Says Many Organizations Are Overlooking One Critical Aspect
From the earthquake in Japan to Hurricane Irene in the U.S., organizations worldwide have found their business continuity and disaster plans tested. But what lessons must we draw from these incidents?The biggest lesson is not to overlook the human factor, says AnneMarie Staley, Director for Global Business Continuity Management at NYSE Euronext. Specifically, organizations need to ensure their employees' needs are met during times of crisis - or else the organization's needs won't be met.

And now is the time to address these issues, she adds, while CEOs and boards are still mindful of recent disasters.

"BC planners are pointing to all of these incidents and being listened to just a little more closely," says Staley. "Planners everywhere need to harness that traction while we still have C-level attention."

The biggest failing of many organizations, she says, is that they believe their expensive buildings and information systems are their most critical assets to protect during a disaster. But, in reality, their personnel are even more important. "Without people to run those machines, it's all moot," Staley says. "Staff and their well-being are vitally important to any organization in being able to bounce back or even reconstitute after an incident."

In an exclusive interview about lessons learned from recent disasters, Staley discusses:

  • Why business continuity and disaster recovery are often confused;
  • How staff needs can be prioritized better;
  • Why now is the time for business continuity professionals to step up and articulate their needs.

In her role, Staley engages with department leaders, senior and executive management across the organization to develop, implement and manage the business continuity and disaster recovery areas across seven countries. She has been with NYSE Euronext for 10 years, helping to build their Business Continuity Management program since 2002; prior to the NYSE she worked for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC) in the business continuity arena as a process and technical writer. Industry memberships include: BCP Steering Committee for SIFMA (Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association); Contingency Planning Exchange (CPE); and Association for Contingency Planners (ACP). Her prior fields of experience include Law, Investment Banking and Philanthropy.

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