Disaster strikes: what should your business do?

Computer - Computing

Disaster recovery is a process that starts before and continues long after the incident; it’s not just an overnight development.

Over 30% of businesses directly impacted by the 2011 Queensland floods lost over $100,000; while it is as yet unknown how badly Queensland and New South Wales businesses have been struck during the current floods devastating the regions, the 2011 results speak loudly.

Having a business continuity or disaster recovery plan ready will show you how best to protect your business, continue delivering services, and recovering once disaster strikes. It will help you recuperate quickly and start rebuilding your business sooner.

Steps to take before disaster strikes

You need to plan ahead and make sure you have both a Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan in place before a disaster happens.

Questions to consider:

Next, identify critical data and information that your business needs to operate.

The critical data is the life blood of your business; it defines your operation and its success. If this data is lost, it could mean the end of your business, so it’s important to make sure you have a backup plan in place for this data.

To define the critical data, consider:

Once you’ve identified what makes up your critical data, it’s time to start planning how you will recover from any disaster that could cause damage to this data.

The importance of a Business Continuity Plan

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) explains the policies and procedures of a company in the event of an emergency. It includes details on what to do if you’re not able to access your office, how to contact clients or suppliers, and how to maintain financial records during the disaster recovery process.

Your BCP should:

Planning disaster recovery for your business

A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a set of procedures and policies to help your business prepare for and respond to disasters. The main purpose of a DRP is to minimise the effects of an unexpected event on your business.

The DRP should be created in a way that will ensure the continuity of your business’s operations, minimise loss or damage to property, protect customers, and help minimise any disruption to normal service levels or loss in productivity.

Steps to take:

Project - Management

Data backup and protection

Data backup is key to a successful business recovery.

It’s important to have offsite or cloud-based backups of all your business data. You also need to make sure that any cloud-based backups are stored on servers outside your building, so they can be accessed for business operations to continue.

Ensure the files you store in the cloud are encrypted for extra protection in case you are unable to access it.

Ensuring your employees are safe

Make sure you have a plan in place for all of your employees so that they know what to do if disaster strikes. Establish communications channels, and an emergency contact list for your employees. This list should include family members, friends, and other people who might be able to help in case of an emergency.

Make sure your employees understand their responsibilities and how to handle emergencies. If you have a large staff, establish a training program so that they know what to do.

Communicating with customers

You may not have access to power, internet, or phone service after a disaster. However, you still need to communicate with your customers as soon as possible so they know what the current situation is and when you will be in business again.

You can do this by sending an email to everyone on your contact list, creating a post on Facebook that shares your status, or telling customers individually via phone call. If you don’t have access to any of these forms of communication, ask employees who are able to communicate to do it for you.

Talk to the disaster recovery experts

While definitively preventing disasters from happening is impossible, you can prepare your business for the worst-case scenario by implementing a Business Continuity Plan, taking steps before disaster strikes, thinking about how you’ll recover your data, and maintaining your customer relationships.

The disaster recovery and business continuity strategists at RODIN can help you create a plan for your business to follow when disaster strikes. Talk to them today and get started.

Remember, disasters are out of our control, but it’s in our power to prepare for them.

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