Disruptive events – whether caused by violent weather, human error, or machinery malfunctions – are events that every business owner could face at any given time. Disaster recovery and business continuity planning (DR/BC) are those processes that will help your organization to be prepared for these types of situations and assist you in resuming business after a disruptive event. These happenings can be huge, as in an earthquake or hurricane, or something relatively small, such as computer viruses that cause malfunctioning software.
Here are some first steps you can take in your disaster recovery project:
BUSINESS IMPACT ANALYSIS. A Business Impact Analysis is a good first step. This identifies your business’s most crucial systems and processes and the effect an outage would have on the business. The greater the potential impact, the more money a company should spend to restore a system or process quickly, and this analysis will help you see what financial requirements will be demanded if and when a disruptive event occurs.
HAVE A PLAN. All DR/BC plans need to include how employees will communicate, where they will go, and how they can continue doing their jobs during the disruption. Details can vary a lot, and these details will depend on the size and scope of your business and how you conduct that business. You may need to focus on supply chain logistics, or perhaps information technology plays the most pivotal role in your enterprise, and so your plan may require a heavier focus on systems recover.
Here are some basic first steps your plan should cover:
- Develop and practice a contingency plan that includes a succession plan for yourself and the owner/CEO.
- Train backup employees to perform emergency tasks. The employees you count on to lead in an emergency will not always be available.
- Determine offsite crisis meeting places and crisis communication plans for managers, leaders, and other top executives. Practice crisis communication with employees, customers, and the outside world.
- Invest in an alternate means of communication in case the phone networks go down.
- Make sure that all employees, as well as executives, are involved in the exercises so that they get practice in responding to an emergency.
- Make business continuity exercises realistic, so that you can tap into employees’ emotions, enabling you to see how they’ll truly react when the situation gets stressful.
- Form partnerships with local emergency response teams – firefighters, police, and EMTs – to establish a good working relationship. Let them become familiar with your company and site.
- Evaluate your company’s performance during each test, and work toward constant improvement. Continuity exercises should reveal weaknesses.
Ascension General Contractors is here to help in the event of a disaster or emergency, large or small.