Disaster Recovery-Managing the “What Ifs”
It won’t happen to you. The flood won’t wash away your servers. The fire won’t destroy your warehouse. The tsunami won’t disrupt your supply chain.
While it’s tempting to engage in this type of wishful thinking, doing so leaves business owners unprepared for a crisis. Life — and weather — are unpredictable. Having an updated disaster recovery plan means you’ll be ready whatever comes.
Plan for the Unthinkable
Creating a disaster recovery plan is a matter of figuring out the “what ifs.” Gather your executive team and brainstorm possibilities and solutions. Assign individuals to tackle various
areas of responsibility, including:
Insurance: An annual insurance review is a must. Talk with your insurance advisor about your property and casualty insurance policies to ensure that they’re adequate and up to date. Also discuss business interruption insurance and how that type of policy might assist in a crisis by covering the costs of temporary relocation, operating expenses and lost revenues.
Inventory: If you are a manufacturer, it might be easy to detail your current inventory based on operational data. But you might be hard-pressed to identify the various computers, desks, tables, chairs and general office supplies that you would need to replace in case of a fire or flood. In addition to current inventory, be sure you document the furniture, equipment and supplies used every day, both for insurance purposes and in case you need to quickly set up a temporary location.
Communication: Getting in touch with employees, vendors and customers is key in a crisis. Employees need to know where and how to report to work, and key vendors and customers need to be kept in the loop about short-term operational plans.
Keep up-to-date lists and contact information off site so that they can be accessed quickly. Develop a communications plan that can be implemented efficiently incorporating email, phone, text and the Internet.
You may need to update your website, advertise a temporary location or engage in public or media relations, so take steps to figure out who will direct these tasks and how they will be accomplished.
Data and vital records: Most businesses can’t operate without vital records, including customer lists, employee and payroll data, strategic plans, blueprints, research or other company-specific documents. While secure data back-up should be part of everyday operations, storage of vital records deserves special attention. Both hard and soft copies should be kept off-site.
Contingencies: If working remotely would be part of your plan, try a dry run to make sure that employees can access your company network as needed. If a physical location is necessary to maintain your business, work with a real estate agent to identify temporary options in various parts of town.
If you rely heavily on one vendor for materials, investigate secondary vendors and establish relationships now so that you won’t be scrambling for supplies in a crisis.
Thankfully, true disasters are rare. But don’t be short sighted. Putting in the time and effort now to develop a disaster recovery plan will decrease downtime and get your company back on track as soon as possible.
DJB is interested in helping you succeed, even in the most challenging times. Let us help you manage the “what ifs.”