Once a disaster strikes, your business may never recover. Don’t let your business be a casualty of disaster. Advance preparation can reduce the risk for downtime.
According to the American Red Cross, approximately 40% of small businesses fail to re-open after a major disaster. Is your company prepared for the next fire, flood, or man-made catastrophe? If a disaster should strike tomorrow, where would your employees go? How would you access company data and keep your business running?
Businesses with disaster recovery plans already in place prior to being affected are in a much better position to rebound, resume operations, and minimize disruption. Planning shouldn’t take place when you are in the middle of a disaster. To ensure your business isn’t susceptible to prolonged down time, take the following actions to protect your business.
Consider each part of your business for the safety of personnel, documents, and facilities. A detailed analysis will give you a starting point to knowing how to plan for an event that impacts your business.
With those areas defined, begin to craft a formal plan for how to protect and preserve them. Flexibility and creativity will come in handy here. Practice and test the plan as much as possible, annually at a minimum.
More than just one person needs to know the plan. Each key person should know what and where they should report when emergencies happen. If your recovery team knows the plan, the more likely it will be carried out successfully in the event of an actual disaster.
Identify other places from which you could conceivably conduct your business in case your office was damaged. The most effective plan will have pre-arranged, static, dynamic and work-at-home recovery locations identified. Having all of these locations identified before a crisis happens will ensure you will be able to conduct business no matter what happens.
Documents and even computers and servers can be gone in an instant if your office is directly hit by a hurricane or severe storm. Cloud storage is a smart option for making sure you still have access to everything you need. This way, you can quickly recover the business from any location.
While businesses are focused on cost containment and generating revenue in the present, many believe that their business can’t afford to invest in a dynamic recovery program. This is simply not the case. With the various tools flexible workplace providers offer like video conferencing, meeting room space, and offices that can be booked on demand around the world, businesses can achieve efficiency and even boost productivity for their company.
Today’s business plans can change on a monthly basis, so having an outdated disaster recovery may not be able to meet the current needs of your organization. Never let your plan get old. Each time there is a change in your business, update or at least review your business continuity program. Your execution will be much smoother if your plan is aligned with your existing needs.
When it comes to being prepared for a disaster, being reactive can lead to downtime, miscommunication, and a loss of business. Planning shouldn’t take place when a business is confronted with a disaster, instead, disaster plans should be done well in advance of a potential situation.
Keep the plan top-of-mind with the people most involved in the deployment of the plan. Make sure they understand their roles and responsibilities and can communicate effectively to employees, stakeholders, and customers. Be sure they are also prepared to inform and update the press on the status of your business. You don’t want your employees and customers getting inaccurate information about your company from the press. It’s important to have a few spokespeople on hand.
Unexpected incidents could cause you to shift your plan at unexpectedly. Take comfort in knowing that you know your business inside and out, and surround yourself with experts who can help guide you and your business through the disaster. The worst thing you can do in an event is panic.
Disasters may be unlikely, but they do happen and companies can pay a high human and financial cost if they don’t have an action plan to tackle the unthinkable. Back up office space must be a key component of a company’s overall plan. Increasingly, organizations are collaborating with flexible workspace providers to assure a location can be mobilized quickly. Companies that do not implement or develop the new required level business continuity systems are risking the future of their business, their customers’ businesses, and their shareholders’ investments.
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Photo Credits: Boats washed ashore near local businesses in down town Aceh, Sumatra following a massive Tsunami by Flickr: Chuck Simmins; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com