By Tim Mullahy, General Manager at Liberty Center One
Disasters come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: When it comes time to pick up the pieces and get back to making money, it’s employees that tip the balance between success and failure. Certainly, all businesses need a proper disaster recovery plan and the right technology. But even the best-laid plan is useless if employees don’t understand their roles. Are your customers aware of that? More importantly, do their people know exactly what’s required of them in a crisis?
If not, this is a service opportunity you shouldn’t ignore. When speaking with customers about a disaster recovery training program, make sure that:
- DR awareness is supported at all levels of the organization: Everyone from top executives to the newest intern must understand and support the DR process. Does senior management regularly and frequently endorse the plan, raising awareness among staff? Do all employees know what’s expected of them in a crisis?
- Human resources is directly involved: What’s that? You don’t deal with customer HR departments? Well, if training services are on your sales sheet, you should be. HP pros are your best bet for organizing any staff-centric activity. They understand what it takes to host a drill, and what’s necessary to get the word out about a company initiative. It’s critical to involve them in the DR – or security, or any – training process if you really want it to gain traction.
- There’s an internal knowledge base: If an employee wants to know what she should do in the event of a fire or flood, she shouldn’t have to seek out senior management to ask. Instead, all employees should be able to simply log in to the company intranet and find information on the DR program. By keeping a knowledge base that includes frequently asked questions, training schedules and specific procedures, your IT partners will equip workers with the ability to inform themselves.
- It evaluates both competencies and understanding: It’s one thing to know about a disaster-recovery program. It’s another altogether to put that knowledge into practice. In addition to hosting seminars and training sessions, your disaster recovery training service should include helping customer IT teams run regular drills. Focus on the emergencies they’re likeliest to encounter, and pay careful attention to what needs improvement.
- It’s updated regularly: Ideally, you’ll sit down with customer CIOs and evaluate their overall disaster-recovery plans annually, and you’ll revisit the effectiveness of your training program at least twice yearly. As your own and customer businesses grow and evolve, so too should your training slate. The biggest mistake anyone can make is to assume BC/DR plans are finished or your training program is perfect.
- It has a set schedule: Last but certainly not least, every customer should coordinate training activities and drills at least a few times a year. That’ll ensure the DR plans stay fresh in the minds of workers, executives and your own team.
To make this training sale, point out that infrastructure can be replaced and repaired. A good employee cannot be. By implementing an effective DR training program, customers not only keep their most important asset safe from harm, they also maximize the organization’s chances of survival.
Tim Mullahy is the general manager at Liberty Center One, a new breed of data center located in Royal Oak, Michigan. At Liberty Center One, they understand that protecting their customers’ data and maintaining its availability is critically important.