Imagine the worst thing that could happen to your business.
Now imagine if that thing happened right now. Are you ready?
Most small businesses aren’t prepared for natural and man-made disasters, and that lack of preparation could be the difference between staying in business and closing your doors.
Now, we’re not trying to scare you, but we do want you to think about being ready. Take the time now to form a business disaster recovery plan – also called a business continuity plan. It doesn’t have to take long, and it doesn’t have to cost you much (or any!) money.
A business disaster recovery plan lays out the steps you need to take when the worst happens. It’s not just for big disasters like extreme weather, hacking, or civil emergencies; your disaster plan will come in handy for smaller, more-likely disasters like server failures, fires, or burst pipes.
How do you begin? The Insurance Information Institute recommends starting with an impact analysis to identify what your business must do to protect itself in the face of a disaster. What will you need during an emergency? What two or three things can your business not operate without?
Once you have that information, you can start developing your plan. What vendors and contractors will you need to work with to get up and running again after a disaster? Include their contact information and discuss your disaster plan with them before something happens.
Then think about two other critical groups of people:
Employees: What will be asked of employees during a disaster? Make sure roles and responsibilities are clearly laid out and that employees have been trained on the procedures and processes outlined in the plan.
Clients: How will you communicate with your customers? Depending on your type of business, assuring customers that their data and information is safe with you will be critical. You’ll also need to let them know when you’ll be up and running again, especially if you hold information they will need to get through the disaster.
More questions to consider:
- How will different types of disasters affect your employees? Your facilities?
- What critical business activities will you need to continue during a disaster, and what do you need to support those activities?
- Is your data backed up and protected? Do you have more than one backup in place?
- Do you have enough insurance to cover lost business and facility repairs?
- Have you compiled contact information for employees, their spouses and next of kin, vendors, contractors, insurance agents, major clients, etc.?
- Play devil’s advocate: How could your plan fail?
Once your plan is in place, it’s time to test it out. Train your employees on how to carry out the plan, and then run through real-life scenarios to test your plan.
And a disaster recovery plan isn’t a static document. It should be updated and retested from time to time to make sure you’re ready for anything.
Ready to get started? You’ll find templates, questionnaires, and other tools at these resources to help you formulate a recovery plan for your small business:
PNSolutions can help you be ready for anything! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you back up your files and data so it is accessible from anywhere at any time.