Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness

Natural disasters can range from wildfires to hurricanes to tornadoes to pandemics. They might be unavoidable, but with a bit of planning and preparation, you can reduce your risk and their damaging effects on your business.

You may be too busy focusing on the day-to-day activities that keep your business thriving and may not be able to take a step back to discuss and assess the threat and impact a disaster would have on your company. However, resilient businesses have an emergency preparedness plan ready for any crisis because it’s not a question of if, but when the next disaster will strike. Whether you have a small or large business with one or thousands of employees, the basics of business preparedness and continuity apply to you.

Are you ready?

Planning

 

Having a comprehensive plan in case of a disaster will help reduce ambiguity and ensure your employees remain productive. The ultimate goal of business continuity is to be proactive instead of reactive if and when disaster strikes.

 

Having a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place will help you avoid easily preventable downtime and costly damages. A BCP does this is by proactively identifying all vulnerabilities of potential downtime and describing the details on how to address those threats.

 

Technology

 

Now more than ever, businesses operations rely on technology tools and their continued access to business-critical data. For this reason alone, every business should make having an IT disaster recovery plan a priority.

 

Start by identify if your business has any data backup and protection in place. If so, test that everything works correctly. Also verify your employees’ internet connectivity to ensure they’re able to work remote and communicate effectively via whatever platforms you use.

 

Then check that your technology tools are up to date. Software such as firewalls, licensing subscriptions, and antivirus should be accounted for while at the same time ensuring all passwords and log-in information are easily accessible. Key equipment necessary for operations is also important to consider. If any of these items are forgotten, your entire BCP is not likely to fully deliver on preventing downtime.

 

Communication

 

Something as simple as communications breakdown can really increase the negative impact of a disaster, so a good BCP should focus on communication. 

 

Your employees need to have up to date information on how to contact each other, make sure this is regularly reviewed and up to date.

 

It is imperative to have a work-from-home policy and to identify important factors to ensure your employees are well-equipped to handle a crisis with minimal downtime; some factors to consider are access to the internet and the devices needed in order to effectively work remotely.

 

Back-Up & Recovery

 

Your critical data is what keeps your business running so having a data continuity plan is critical to minimize losses during a disaster. This will ensure you have key processes and infrastructure in place to avoid downtime and allow for your key operations to remain intact.

 

Data continuity requires backing up all important information and storing it in a safe location. This involves continuous protection like continually backing up your data on a separate server, be it local, remote, or on the cloud.

 

Get ready now!

 

Here are some online resources to help you get started on or revise your emergency plan:

 

  • The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has an emergency preparedness and response site that includes information on its standards for personal protective equipment, general worksite safety, an evacuation planning matrix, safety guides, emergency action plans, and more. Visit www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/
  • The US government has also created a website where you will find information and downloads that address important issues like: staying in business, protecting your investment, protecting your employees, determining whether to evacuate or shelter-in-place, emergency plans, business continuity of operations planning (COOP), and more. Visit www.ready.gov

Everyone gets busy, and too often businesses consider emergency planning a low priority but preparing for it can reduce the anxiety and losses that disasters cause. Know the risks, have a BCP, and make sure you have the insurance you need. Don’t know where to start? Let us help you with a free risk assessment consultation, click here to schedule an introductory call with our team of experts.

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