How to Protect Your Business from Disasters

The difference between thriving and barely surviving often comes down to planning, and in no situation is this more apparent than when the topic of disaster preparedness is involved. While disaster planning for your business may not seem like a top priority, planning for the unexpected may prevent a bad situation from becoming worse.  Learn how to protect your business from the unexpected, with these disaster planning tips:

Have a Plan

While it might seem a bit rudimentary, research indicates fewer than one of every ten business owners have a written plan of action in place for emergencies. Whether it’s a company-specific situation or a global epidemic, make sure employees understand how to respond and what is expected.

Establish Alternatives

Contingency planning is critical in today’s ever-changing business environment, so make it easy for employees to utilize alternative means of communications and/or work environments in case of an emergency. Not only will this control undesired confusion should a situation arise, but it could make the difference in keeping the company running in the event of a major emergency.

Redundancy

While duplication and redundancy are usually an unwanted drain on resources, when it comes to disaster planning, they are actually a great investment. Make sure sensitive data, networks and other important information and systems are duplicated. Off-site storage is essential to maintain vital records that could be damaged in a fire or other site-specific situation.

Insurance

When disaster strikes, you may or may not have adequate coverage, depending upon your level of advance planning and preparation. While many policies have specific exclusions in place that limit liability for terrorist acts, war or other disasters, it is often possible to provide additional coverage to assist in the transition required to rebuild, meet business obligations and protect employees following a disaster. Specialized coverage may even provide needed funds for relocating or other unanticipated expenses associated with a disaster.

Evaluate Service Level Agreements

If your company provides products or services that are contingent upon others, it is important to always have a backup provider in place should the original provider be unable to comply with demands. Remember, a disaster or interruption that impacts a core provider could have a detrimental impact on your business even if it was otherwise unscathed. Stipulate expectations and requirements for both parties, including levels of advanced notification and guidance on replacement providers so that you are able to continue to service your own clients.

Maintenance and Review

Any plan is only as good as the most recent update. It’s a good idea to assign regular maintenance and review responsibilities to a key employee to ensure that the plan is regularly updated and remains relevant. Periodic updates of off-site data, removal and addition of key employee contact information, and annual reviews of insurance information are critical concerns easily overlooked during the day-to-day business operations.

Disseminate

The final step is to make everyone aware through periodic updates of the policy and resulting changes that may take place.