Recovering after a disaster, will your company survive?

How likely is your business to be able to recover after a disaster? According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), 40% of businesses affected by disaster never reopen. Additionally, 25% more fail within the next two years. The consequences of a poorly thought out or non-existent disaster recovery are clear. No business or organization should risk overlooking this critical need.

Natural disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods come readily to mind when thinking of disaster recovery. And during California’s severe drought, wildfires are of course of grave concern. There are other kinds of disasters to be aware of too. Can your business recover from data loss caused by a power surge? Can your company still function if the majority of the employees are struck by an influenza epidemic? How well can you recover from a security breach?

Your disaster recovery plan should also take into account relatively mundane concerns that can still have a profound effect on your business, including loss of internet service for an extended period or a server crash at a busy time.

Cloud technology is one way of minimizing your risks during a disaster, since it can allow you to place key functions off site in areas at less risk. And while no one can plan perfectly for all possibilities, there are several steps you can take to further minimize your risks. Before disaster strikes you can plan ahead, making sure to consider the following:

●    Your business location – If a disaster means you can’t do business in your usual location, you’ll need to have an alternate location planned. You may need to arrange to transport employees, equipment, data, and supplies.
●    Staying in touch with your customers – Also develop a plan for how you’ll let your customers know your new temporary location and how to contact you.
●    Documenting your property – In addition to keeping an up-to-date inventory of all of your equipment, consider taking pictures of your property to assist your insurance companies if they need to assess damage.
●    Meeting your emergency cash need – Develop processes for how you’ll manage cash flow. You’ll want to be sure necessary bills continue to be paid as well as being able to deposit payments from your customers.
●    Identifying what’s needed to keep your business running – Prioritize your critical business functions and consider how quickly you’ll need to get each function back up and running.
●    Educating your employees – You’ll need to be able to communicate with your employees during a disaster, of course. But all of your planning will be for nothing if they aren’t trained in your disaster recovery processes before a disaster actually happens. Make certain that your employees know what they need to do ahead of time and that they have access to important contact information for vendors, suppliers, your insurance companies, etc.

A final step to consider in any disaster recovery plan is to re-analyze your processes