It could be as simple as a power cut or as serious as the severe flooding this year that created miles of record breaking devastation. Regardless of the cause, any interruption to your operation is bad for business.
Whether it’s business continuity or disaster recovery or even an emergency plan to facilitate fire evacuations, do you have a plan that will keep the doors open? You would be surprised at how many small businesses don’t.
Adequate insurance coverage for your practice is a necessity no matter what, but it’s not the same as creating a comprehensive contingency plan.
Technology has become an increasingly important aspect of keeping businesses up and running. Whatever might cause your business to shut down, you have to be prepared to respond. The sooner you can get back to work the better – both for your clients and your business.
For starters, backing up all of your practice’s data is essential – the combination of an actual physical backup as well as a digital backup offsite gives you the greatest flexibility. You might put everything on a removable hard drive every night and take it home, but you’d better be sure you have a safe for it. Then again, if a major disaster strikes, your home could also be in danger, which makes a bank safe-deposit box or a secure location out of town even more secure for physical hard copies of data.
For many companies, cloud technology provides business continuity. A cloud-based solution keeps information secure and can be accessed from anywhere. If you’re not using a cloud-based solution, you need a system to back up all your files. While it’s fine to store one copy securely in the office, it’s imperative to keep a second copy offsite.
Know What Matters Most
Backups of your client data – including all of their contact information – are a must-have. But also backup copies of personnel files, so you can contact your employees in an emergency and continue functions like payroll even if you have to work offsite for a while.
Don’t forget about other documents like business licenses or other legal paperwork. Especially if other buildings in your area are shut down, accessing them may not be easy.
There are other practical considerations, too. Do you have a generator to charge mobile phones and laptops in a power cut? Where can you work from remotely if your office is shut down? How can you quickly rebuild your office or relocate if the physical premises are destroyed?
Consider the human component. In an emergency, people’s safety is the first priority. Have clear evacuation plans in place and practice them. Also think about the emotional toll a major disaster might have on your employees and how you might assist them in the aftermath.
Every business owner should ask themselves these questions:
Do staff know what to do when a fire breaks out?
Is there a staff procedure for when a colleague is injured?
Are regular evacuation drills carried out?
As the saying goes – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you don’t have a plan yet, then it’s a good idea to sit down with your staff, think through every possible scenario that could interrupt your business, and write down a plan so you’re ready to respond. Store a copy of this offsite, too.
Your employees are a huge asset you can task to help the business recover because if they’re in it together they’ll want to find ways to overcome the mutual challenges you’re facing.
We’ve Got You Covered
Thomson Reuters offers cloud computing options that not only let you work remotely, but also let you back up all your firm’s software and essential client data.
With Digita Virtual Office, all of your data is backed up automatically and stored remotely on secure servers.
For more information on Business Continuity Planning visit the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) http://www.cpni.gov.uk/Security-Planning/Business-continuity-plan/
Original article posted on our sister company’s blog in 2013. View original. https://cs.thomsonreuters.com/blogs/2013/10/ready-for-anything.aspx?category=mobile-and-web