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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Addressing the ‘Critical Employee’ Quandary

Written by  FRANK LADY, CBCP, CISSP, PMP April 26, 2011

Organizations frequently identify “critical employees” in business continuity (BC) plans. Leading practices, such as those in the Disaster Recovery Journal’s “Generally Accepted Practices” document, encourage planners to make this designation, and some regulatory bodies require organizations to perform the task. However, organizations retain flexibility in defining criticality. A range of disaster scenarios threaten to render some critical employees unavailable in the hour of need. BC planners must solve a quandary: they must plan for critical employee availability during the recovery process, but prudent risk analysis dictates they should not assume all critical employees will be available.Organizations should establish criteria for identifying critical employees. A survey of several business continuity resources yielded no industry consensus but the British Continuity Institute (BCI) Glossary definition of “critical” provides useful guidance: “A resource ... that must be available ... at the earliest possible time after an incident ... has occurred.” Merriam-Webster offers additional context

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