Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan Ready?
Disaster can strike at anytime, anywhere, so how do you prepare for the unexpected? No one is immune, whether it be a natural disaster or a manmade chemical spill. Maybe it’s a global pandemic or a breakdown in cybersecurity.
The best way to protect your business is to have a crisis plan in place, have confidence your team understands their priorities, and communicate to stakeholders and customers so you are all operating from the same playbook.
If you need to adjust based on the situation, your ability to move quickly is heightened by having a disaster plan already available to your teams and customers. At a time when the scope of disasters is constantly escalating, revisit your recovery plan to ensure it is still up to the task of protecting your business when it really matters.
While there’s no way to be 100% sure, there are a few questions you can ask to make sure you’re still standing on solid ground.
4 Questions to Make Sure Your Business Disaster Recovery Plan Is Up to the Task
Have You Updated Your Risk Analysis? The foundation for any business disaster recovery plan is a risk analysis, designed to give you as clear an image as possible of the most immediate threats in your geographical vicinity. This involves determining the disasters that may affect the communities in which you operate, as well as the disruptions that those events could cause to your business and customers.
On a surface level, every region generally understands the specific risks it faces, be they geological in nature (earthquakes), weather-related (hurricanes and tornadoes) or a combination of the two. Some of these events can be anticipated more than others; yet all of them can be prepared for, in some capacity.
So, take another look at your risk analysis, paying close attention to:
- Updated threats based on the activity that’s occurred in your community in recent years.
- Varying scope of severity these events may have and the likely impact afterward.
- Specific amount of warning time you may have in the case of any of these events.
- Likelihood of back-to-back events that could compound the level of risk.
Action Item: A risk analysis is too important to be done casually, or to be left static. We recommend seeking out an expert to help you update your risk analysis on a yearly basis.
Are Your Facilities Fully Prepared and Up-to-date? It’s essential to make sure that any and all physical infrastructures you own or operate follow the latest local guidelines. Office buildings, contact centers, warehouses, data centers—any buildings that could be susceptible to damage from a natural disaster—need to be assessed and annually brought up to date, if possible.
To this end, your business disaster recovery plan should include periodic assessments of the quality of safety precautions in your physical facilities. They should include alarm systems, fire-and-smoke detection, water sealing, cooling and ventilation, and other essential elements. You also should ensure you’ve got a backup power source to keep critical systems up and running during outages.
For businesses with a wide enough scope of operations, it’s also wise to ensure that any data centers and call centers are—in addition to being as secured as possible against natural disasters—physically dispersed to spread out the risk of damage. This is the best way to prevent data loss or the inability to communicate with clients and their customers during critical times.
Action Item: Undertake a professional assessment of your facilities to ensure they’re fully up to code in terms of disaster preparedness. Then, schedule a follow-up for six months in the future. Refresh and repeat.
Is Your Data Back-up Plan Up-to-date? No matter what industry you operate in, there’s a very good chance that digital technology is a big part of your operational foundation. These days, most businesses use technology to not only communicate with customers but also to store records and run the software on which at least some part of their operations depend.
It stands to reason, then, this technology should be backed up as much as possible, so in the event that it fails—due to a natural disaster or any other disruption—your operations aren’t brought to a standstill, and your customers and clients aren’t left without a means to communicate with you.
So, whether you own and operate your tech infrastructure or source it to a third party, it’s imperative to make sure there’s a backup plan in place. You should be able to transfer your tech footprint to another location in another area without any loss of information or operational capacity for your business—and be able to do so with little to no downtime.
Action item: Even if you manage your own tech infrastructure, consider enlisting the assistance of a third party that can offer a true expert assessment of your backup plan, as well as a full range of options to help you get a functional backup plan in place.
Have You Recently Vetted Your Vendors? With most businesses, the use of third-party vendors is a necessity, a way to perform certain functions of your business plan that you may not have the capacity or expertise to fulfill. It’s also true these vendors could frequently change, whether it’s because they’ve gone out of business, been outbid by a rival or several other reasons.
It’s essential then to ensure all your vendors are as fully prepared for natural disasters as you are. After all, their failures could mean disruption for your business, too. And this means not only making sure those businesses are prepared for regional events, but in any other places in which they may operate, too.
Action Item: Consult all your vendors to make sure they have business disaster recovery plans in place. Also, make a point of asking for this information from all new vendors.
Need Help with Your Business Disaster Recovery Plan? Call the Experts.
If you’re not fully confident in your ability to meet all the above criteria, it may be time to call in the experts. With 25 years of experience helping businesses prepare for disruptions of all shapes and sizes, Working Solutions can offer the expertise you need to ensure your disaster plan is truly up to speed.
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