When the worst-case scenario suddenly becomes reality, would your business stay alive, or would you end up as one of the reanimated masses? It’s a problem unlikely to escape the realms of science fiction, but in the event that the zombie apocalypse happens, follow our advice to build a robust Continuity Plan that can outlast even the fastest wights.
Unless you’re starring in a science fiction movie, you probably won’t have to worry about coping with a zombie invasion, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build plans that take the same types of disruptions into consideration. We’d never suggest planning by scenario strategy, but, given that a zombie apocalypse has the potential to bring down just about every business system, let’s take a look at how you can properly protect your organization.
OK, you’re thinking it could never happen — so why bother getting ready? Well, imagine the financial losses incurred when your supply chain is interrupted because your warehouses have been overrun by hordes of reanimated corpses. Or perhaps the reputational risk threat resulting from your CEO-turned-zombie eating the brains of the intern? Will your employees follow a strategic communications plan and not post wild selfies with zombies at your office that end up trending on Twitter? The last thing that you need is a PR nightmare to follow on the tail of an already stressful situation.
In this panicky time, it won’t be easy to think straight, and it may prove difficult to come up with strategies to beat the zombies, let alone ones that will keep your business operating. Watch any zombie movie and you’ll see the benefits of being prepared. Those who don’t make for zombie fodder. Those who know what tools they have on hand — typically heavy blunt instruments — have the upper hand.
1. Preparation is Everything
Creating a Continuity Plan speeds recovery by allowing you to hone in on critical aspects. It’s far easier to come back from a disaster by following a thorough plan rather than trying to fix everything at once. Let’s just say … a little planning today keeps the zombies at bay.
Here are some essential components to include to ensure the undead don’t devastate your business:
- Identify Threats
Your preparation starts by identifying what kind of threats your business could face. Ask yourself what do you need to do to keep your business running? What are the things you need to protect to save face? Or save your face, in this case.
Make a list of the kinds of interruptions that might strike. For instance, every business needs to think about power and communications outages. After all, much like weather-related disruptions, Zombie swarms have an annoying habit of knocking out local utility services, so plan ahead.
- Assess the Business Impact
You will need to determine the critical functions to keep your operations running. To do so, start by developing an inventory of your crucial business functions and try to estimate the impact on your business if those functions went down. Figure out how you will continue operating, what equipment do you need, who is authorized to make decisions and how will you access critical customer records. The customer is the heart of everything you do, even to the undead.
- Conduct a Risk Assessment
Qualify and quantify the impact of potential threats. Prioritize what’s most important for your business. Look at ways of mitigating or managing the risks. In the event of a zombie attack, much like a cyberattack, be sure your data is stored and backed up — even if your office does get trashed, as long as there is electricity, the internet would continue working.
- Have an Emergency Response Plan
Identify critical personnel. In such a dire situation, who can keep working and where? What if that person is injured, dropping body parts, gnawing on the receptionist or can’t get to the site — who can act as backup?
2. Keep Employees Safe and Prepared
Your people are your most important asset. In the event a mob of zombies breaches your walls, they are your first line of defense. It is crucial that every employee knows what to do. Remember the same is true whether it’s an infestation of the undead with a hunger for the flesh of the living, or a fire, tornado or other outage.
Without proper training, your workplace will quickly devolve into an every-person-for-themself environment. With the right training, you have a strong team that can work together to survive and see that each team member is safe. And alive.
First and foremost, their physical safety is your priority. Start with having an evacuation plan. If evacuation isn’t the safest option — because there are hordes of wights on their way flanked by an ice dragon — then assign a few people to work together quickly to secure the office. They should figure out a way to prevent theft and damage from either looters or a zombie army. But most importantly, fortification.
To survive a zombie attack (or maybe there’s a snowstorm and no one can leave the office) your employees need to stay healthy and well-fed so you can conduct business as usual … well as usual as is possible given the situation. Without a kitchen stocked up with emergency supplies including food, water, medicine, and other essentials noted by the CDC, your employees will lack the wits and energy to defend themselves and your company.
It is well worth reminding your employees to stay home if they are seriously ill, particularly if they experience symptoms such as unusually low body temperature, decomposing flesh, uncontrolled rage and a desire to eat their peers.
3. Stay in Contact
An important component of any plan is communication. It’s really hard to keep things running smoothly with no communication. Prior to disaster striking, it’s critical to establish communication channels that can persist through anything. In the midst of a zombie pandemic, you must be able to respond promptly, accurately and confidently in the hours and days that follow.
Many different audiences must be reached with information specific to their interests and needs. After all, the image of the business can be positively or negatively impacted by public perceptions of your organizations’ handling of the apocalypse.
When determining who, when, and what kind of communication to leverage, a solid plan will help you manage the flow of communications and guarantee that the right communication gets to the right people at the right time. Luckily, with the power of the cloud, you can easily stay in contact to help your customers, keep the media up to date, and send out relevant internal communications such as exchanging battle and survival tips, maps of where the zombies are located and directions to quarantine zones.
4. Test Your Plan
Remember that awareness (and preparedness) are keys to survival, so now that you have your Continuity Plan defined, your team assembled, and the right gear on-hand, this is no time to sit back and wait for the event. Work with your HR department to create a variety of scenarios for your employees to test their skills, conduct evacuation drills, identify plan gaps and rehearse team roles and responsibilities. Invariably, you might find things you can do better; you might even get insight about improving day-to-day operations, too.
Once the all-clear signal has been given, one of the first things you should do is to take stock of your situation. Fingers crossed all your defenses remain intact. With your data already secure and backed up to the cloud, and employees safely maintaining productivity from their mobile devices, you can start looking ahead; how will you successfully restore operations back to their previous splendor?
Surviving a zombie apocalypse or any disruption could also bring a wealth of new opportunities. Get in touch with your suppliers and vendors and work on renegotiating contracts that are favorable. Be open and embrace new developments, adapt and turn them to your advantage to stay strong and future-focused.
Of course, such a zombie disruption is all in our imagination, but disruptions to business are not. It is hard to predict the future and what opportunities and challenges may come our way, but preparing for the zombie apocalypse, or any sort of disaster, pays benefits. After all, preparing for change is not as difficult as reacting to change after it has occurred.
As George R.R. Martin wrote: "The past is gone for good. You can sit here mourning its departure or prepare for the future."
Find out how SAI Global can help your company remain resilient during a zombie apocalypse.