Critical Decision Support: Perspectives on Business Continuity and Crisis Management


DownloadWPThis white paper offers critical senior-level perspectives on business continuity and crisis management. Samuel Smith’s perspectives were gained through more than ten years of experience leading this function as senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and as a banking consultant. This white paper provides an actionable approach to developing a business continuity and crisis management program. The white paper includes best practices and valuable lessons learned from his years of direct experience.

The task of building an actionable business continuity and crisis management plan can seem overwhelming. This white paper’s intent is to simplify the topic and help senior leaders in banks and other organizations chart a path forward. The principles discussed are universally applicable. The views expressed are Samuel Smith’s and are not those of the Federal Reserve System. Mr. Smith is a member of Firestorm’s Expert Council™, and his insights align to the Firestorm Predict. Plan. Perform.® process.


The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States. It is composed of the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., an independent government agency, and the twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks that it supervises. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of these twelve banks. The Reserve Banks have corporate structures with their own boards of directors and officers.

The Reserve Banks are the operational arm of the Federal Reserve, and they perform economic research, supervise and regulate banks, and operate the nation’s payments system. Millions of financial transactions worth billions of dollars flow through the Reserve Banks each day. Therefore, it is imperative that the Reserve Banks are themselves resilient and have extensive business continuity and crisis management plans that are tested.

Reserve Bank plans cover all aspects of operations, support and policy functions. These have been forged through testing and actual business interruptions caused by floods and water, power and telecommunications outages, and through preparation for the year 2000 roll over. The experiences of 9/11 and Katrina led to further plan refinement.


Mr. Smith’s approach is consistent with the Firestorm Predict. Plan. Perform.® process. Assistance from an experienced firm can accelerate business continuity and crisis management program development and increase its quality and effectiveness at a lower development cost.

The approach addresses:

  • The foundations of strategy,
  • Organization and culture,
  • The phases of threat assessment and mitigation,
  • Development of business recovery and crisis management plans and
  • Plan testing and refinement.

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Firestorm Whitepapers are no-fee resources provided as a service to help you in all aspects of Crisis Management, Business Continuity and Preparedness.