Is your business prepared for continuity in the wake of disaster? Studies show that 25% of businesses have no plan in place for disasters of any kind. It is critical for your business to have strategies in place to ensure you, your personnel and assets are protected and able to function in the event of a disaster. Here are some actionable tips for making sure your company rises above the storms of disaster.
1. Create a Disaster Preparedness Manual
Your company’s disaster preparedness manual will serve several purposes. First, it will assist managers and all other employees in carrying out the actions necessary to ensure the maximum human survival as well as business continuity. In the case of a disaster preparedness manual, a hard copy print out for each employee is preferable over a digital copy. In the event of a catastrophic emergency where utility service is disrupted, employees will still be able to access the printed manual for instructions on how best to proceed. Your disaster preparedness manual should include instructions on how to safeguard the company’s physical and digital assets as well as survival guidelines for employees.
2. Have Mock Emergency Drills
Studies show that one of the best ways to prepare for a disaster is to have undergone a drill before the actual emergency. Mock emergency drills can spotlight problems or glitches in the emergency situation process. Even if your employees and managers balk at these mock emergency drills, they can learn from the errors they committed, and adjust as needed when or if a true emergency arises.
3. Know Where Your People Are
There’s nothing more frustrating in an emergency than not being able to contact the key people who can make a difference in the percentage of loss experienced in your business disaster. Will you need to contact your IT team? Your management team? All important contact information need to be stored in a place that is safe and secure from any disaster. In the case of the IT team, you’ll want to have home phone numbers in the event that you need to reach them after hours.
4. Employ Redundancy
The very best disaster plan is to employ redundancy. If you can digitally reproduce every document in your business system and store it at an offsite location, then your business continuity is guaranteed. With a document scanning service in place, your data and documents can easily and quickly be recovered. In the case of information hackers, your business will be minimally affected, as you won’t have to pay any kind of ransom in order to retrieve your data.
5. Have a Restart Plan
So the disaster is over. Your data is saved and thankfully, all your employees are safe. Now what? Does everyone know their next steps? Have a restart plan that instructs employees and managers what they are to do next to get operations up and running again. These instructional documents might include simple things like going to the store and restocking kitchen supplies or rebooting the circuit board in the office building basement. Consider the restart plan the basic building blocks of your organization’s civilization.
6. Keep Updated Lists of Suppliers and Inventory
Asset management is key to getting back in business after disaster strikes. Get an inventory of all your company’s hard assets inventory, and make sure it’s updated whenever new assets are attained. If possible, include photo images to prove possession at the time of the disaster. Keep a separate list of suppliers and contact information so key assets can be replenished if or when disaster strikes.
7. Ensure the Company’s Insurance Coverage
Nothing spells disaster like the news that your business assets weren’t covered for the disaster that occurred. Contact your insurance sales representative to ensure that the company’s coverage will protect your business in the event of a disaster. If need be, increase coverage amounts or at the very least, confirm coverage for your company’s most valuable assets. Confirm what scenarios are covered and which are not. Consider getting secondary coverage for anything not covered by your company’s main insurance plan, such as interior space materials from interior fire.
8. Adhere to Government Regulations
In the case of natural disasters, aid in ensuring your company’s liability insurance coverage by adhering to government regulations. Document every step of the disaster, as well as its impact on your business operations. This could be material in your company’s defense, should litigation be pursued by any of your employees or management team members. If any entity questions the integrity of your business actions after the emergency, your integrity and willingness to adhere to government regulations will be noted and acknowledged.
By ensuring that these eight points are covered, your business will have the best chances of continuing at maximum speed after any type of disaster occurs. Considering adherence to government regulations at all times, confirming adequate insurance coverage, keeping updated supplier and inventory lists, employing redundancy, and utilizing document management solutions will all help to make sure your business can survive any disaster.