It is important to meet with a current or prospective vendor to discuss business continuity planning. However, it’s often difficult to understand how the vendor’s continuity plan aligns with your own plan and needs. Asking the right questions can help.
Questions to Ask Yourself
First, ask yourself these questions to help determine who your critical vendors are. They will be the ones that can have a major impact on your business if they are unable to sufficiently operate after a business interruption.
- Which vendors will have the biggest impact on the company if they suffer an interruption? How quickly will the impact occur? (This question helps you determine your critical vendors.)
- How are my most critical vendors involved in my recovery strategy?
- What interruptions are most likely to occur that could threaten my critical vendors?
Questions for Your Critical Vendors
Many businesses simply run through a checklist of questions when vetting their vendors. Instead of using general criteria, ask questions that relate directly to the specific products/services your vendors provide for you. Assessing the quality of your vendors’ recovery capabilities in areas that are important to your own business continuity will help you the most in this process.
The following questions will help you better understand your vendors’ real business continuity risks:
- What is your recovery plan for the products and services we receive from you?
- What strategies have you put in place in order to respond to the loss of critical resources for the products and services we receive from you? (For example, the loss of your computer systems, workplace, employees or your own vendors.)
- In the last 12 months, have you conducted an employee disaster recovery training exercise of the computer systems needed to provide us with the products and services we receive from you? If so, please share your results.
Understanding your critical vendors’ business interruption resiliency and recovery capabilities will help you feel more secure doing business with them. Valent Group can help you go beyond basic vendor risk management and assist you in getting your business back up and running after an interruption. Contact one of our risk consultants or read more about our portfolio of risk management services.
Information abstracted from Zywave’s “Business Continuity Risk – Asking the Right Questions” article.