Put your trust in 39D to support your Disaster Recovery Plan
Why does your business need a Disaster Recovery plan?
Disasters can have a devastating impact on small businesses. Nearly half of small businesses that suffer a disaster never reopen their doors. While larger companies have the time and resources to plan for and survive disasters, many small businesses have no plan in place for such a setback.
Therefore, it’s crucial that small business owners create and regularly update a disaster recovery plan. To avoid a business-breaking catastrophe, consider taking the following steps:
Create an emergency response plan
When disaster strikes, what’s the first move? What steps should you and/or your employees take in the event of an emergency to stay safe? Next, decide what your employees should do to prevent the loss of assets, inventory, and other property. There should also be a protocol of who to contact and in what order, including the authorities, yourself, and your security team (if you have one). Once you decide on and plan your protocol, assign responsibilities. Also hold regular training sessions so employees understand their duties.
Develop a business continuity plan
As noted above, resuming operations as soon as possible following a disaster should be considered essential by any business.
A business continuity plan typically includes:
- Business impact analysis: The goal of a BIA, conducted before a disaster occurs, is to better understand the effects of a disaster on your business. For example, what impact will there be as a result of certain types of disruptions? How will the timing of a disruption effect sales?
- Recovery strategies: Based on your Business Impact Analysis, identify and document the resources necessary to lessen the impact of a disaster (e.g., data backups, duplicates of important records, contracting with third-party services that provide emergency relief) and conduct a gap analysis to understand what you need compared to what you actually have.
- Plan development: Develop a framework for your plan, including assigning responsibilities to each team member, identifying recovery procedures, and developing workarounds for issues that arise as a result of loss of IT infrastructure.
- Testing: Regular testing of business continuity plans is essential for all businesses. If testing reveals a weakness in your plan, tweak it and re-test until you’re satisfied that your business will be able to resume operations as fast as possible.
Review your insurance coverage
Insurance coverage is a must for any company, but not every kind of business insurance will be helpful in event of a disaster. Review your current policy and ensure there are no gaps in coverage that could prevent you from collecting. For example, you should have sufficient coverage to pay for the indirect costs of a disaster (such as the disruption to your business) as well as the direct costs such as physical damages.
You can typically purchase additional insurance that protects your business against specific disaster risks in your area, like earthquakes or floods. You can also purchase add-ons that cover damages away from your premises, such as to your key suppliers.
Stockpile essential supplies
What will you, your employees, and your business need in the moments immediately following a disaster?
A great first step is to create emergency supply kits for your employees to grab in case of a disaster which could potentially threaten their physical safety, including bottled water, first aid, cash, and device chargers.
Secondly, consider investing in backup systems that can get your business up and running immediately, such as a secondary source of power or communications system.
Compile important contact information
Don’t wait until a disaster happens to hunt for key people and organizations to contact: Create a list now of who you should call after a disaster, including your local emergency management agencies, major clients and customers, suppliers, realtors, lenders, insurance agents, and insurance company claim representatives.
Create a communications strategy
When it comes to communicating with customers and clients about the state of your business, take every avenue possible. Go both low-tech including post notices outside your business, place a notice in the local paper, contact clients by phone. As well as high-tech, by posting updates on all your social media channels and via your newsletter.
Discuss logistics with your suppliers and clients
No business exists in a bubble: Your vendors or suppliers could also be affected by a disaster which would then disrupt your supply chain. Similarly, if you run a B2B business and act as a supplier to another company, your issues could cause problems for your clients.
Communicate with both ends of your supply chain about their own disaster recovery plan and identify backup options so no dependent businesses are left high and dry. Clients who are unhappy may not return when you get back up and running, but may be more likely to do so if you have an alternative replacement supplier ahead of time.
Duplicate and backup records and data
You should have up-to-date copies of all your important records, contracts, and documents, and keep them off-site in hard copy form in a safe place or secured in the cloud. Additionally, a backup and disaster recovery solution will make sure data is kept safe from natural disasters but also cyber-attacks or hardware failure. A disaster recovery solution will provide secure, continuous backup and rapid data restoration onsite and via the cloud. This is also a good way to keep your client’s data which is important and sensitive safe at all times.
As a small business, these steps can help to protect and insure yourself from the possibility of disaster. If you believe your business is at particular risk for disaster, get in touch with 39D today to put together your disaster recovery plan today.
Investing your time and resources against a threat that may never come may feel like a waste, IT’S NOT because each minute you spend preparing for a disaster is an hour you’ll save when issues do arise.
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