When we hear the word “disaster,” our minds immediately shift to major natural events such as earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, etc. We rarely think about the smaller disasters that could cripple a small business – extended power outages, a blizzard that affects employees’ ability to get to their office, fires, etc. Most importantly, we often think of disasters as something that happens to someone else… until it happens to us.
According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), 43 per cent of businesses will not re-open following a major disaster. This alarming figure does not take into consideration the consequences of disasters that were not designated “major” disasters by the federal government, such as fires and power outages, which can be devastating to small and mid-sized businesses.
If you cannot get your business back online within 5 days of a disruption, the odds that your business will survive are about 10 percent. A survey of small businesses in the immediate vicinity of the World Trade Center at the time of the 1993 bombing found that of those businesses that could not resume their operations within five days, 90 per cent were out of business a year later.
Disaster recovery planning is a necessity for all small business owners. The hardest part about creating a disaster recovery plan is knowing what to do first. And, as business owners know, it is all in the execution.
To help bring some structure to the sometimes-overwhelming exercise of disaster recovery planning, we have put together a checklist to get you started, thereby enabling your good intentions to become operational. These steps will help you get started in a concrete way to help your business become safer… and more profitable!
Key #1: Understand the implications for your business.
Step 1. Start keeping a “disaster diary”.
Begin to keep a log of disruptions to your normal operations. Gathering this information is the first step to identifying recurring patterns. The idea is not to point fingers at employees who make mistakes; rather, it is to improve your processes.
Step 2. Identify potential threats to your business.
Consider the potential threats to include not only hazards arising from extreme weather but also the risks to your business’ reputation should you be unable to safeguard confidential information of your customers.
Key #2: Keep employees safe and informed.
Step 3. Develop a plan to communicate with your employees in the event of disruption.
Organize a list of primary and secondary emergency contact information for each of your employees. As a disaster may prevent employees from returning to their homes, make sure you have alternate contact information for each employee.
Step 4. Preserve important employee records.
Your business is entrusted with certain confidential records of your employees, such as their personal identifying information and social security numbers. Work with your IT advisor to make sure the information is secure and accessible.
Key #3: Keep customers engaged and informed.
Step 5. Develop a plan to communicate with your customers in the event of a disruption.
Consider preparing a statement that can be published on your website and social media platforms in the event of an emergency to give customers timely status updates as to what they can expect from your business and when.
Step 6. Protect sensitive customer data.
Make sure that any information of your customers (patient records if you are operating in a medical practice, financial records, trade secrets, etc.) is safe from cyber-criminals.
Key #4. Ensure continuity of operations.
Step 7. Determine how you will operate your business remotely.
Consider which operations of your business you will be able to run should you not have access to your regular place of work. Define your business priorities by identifying your critical operations.
Step 8. Conduct periodic drills.
Test your continuity plan from time to time. It is important to keep your plan current and revise it for changes in your environment. It is equally important to verify that your employees are up-to-date on what to do in an emergency situation.
Key #5. Address financial impact and readiness.
Step 9. Make sure your business has appropriate insurance coverage.
Verify that you have the necessary endorsements (or add-on’s) for your business, that you understand the deductibles for which you will be responsible and that you have appropriate coverage limits.
Step 10. Make sure you have access to the information you will need to file an insurance claim in a timely manner.
Have a digitized copy of your insurance policy stored in a way that you can access it in the event of an emergency. Don’t wait for an emergency to learn the procedures for filing a claim. You need to learn them now.
Key #6. Take advantage of the experts at Colden Company
Colden Company is certified by the Disaster Recovery Institute as Certified Business Continuity Professionals. Our customers benefit from our years of experience assisting customers in preparing comprehensive business continuity, disaster recovery, and disaster avoidance plans. Our approach is a top-down approach where we examine the critical business functions first and work down to the supporting systems, hardware, and personnel.
Among the many additional services associated with disaster recovery are off-site backup or cloud backup, which we offer starting for as little as $19.00/month. We also offer complete local or cloud server recovery, also very affordable for small and mid-size business, which can have your entire business back online and working in hours instead of weeks (or longer). Do you have laptops in the field that need backup? Critical servers that need a quick recovery time? We’ll listen to your needs and provide the right solution to fit your business needs.
Colden Company is a proud Elite Partner (the highest level of partnership) of Datto, Inc. See how a Datto Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) device managed by Colden Company can enhance your data security and give your business true disaster recovery capabilities. At Colden Company, we have been in the BDR business for many years. See why our partnership with Datto is the BDR solution you can count on!
From process and procedures down to implementation, Colden Company is the only partner you need to keep your business in business in a time of need. Contact us today to make sure your business doesn’t become a statistic. Call us at 888-600-4560, email us, or see us on Facebook or Twitter.