With the recent onslaught of ice storms and flooding all over the US and Canada, as well as the hurricanes that ripped through Florida and the south earlier this year, many people are finding themselves faced with tremendous losses regarding both their homes and offices. Most people have some type of homeowner’s and business insurance to help rebuild and replace personal and business items, but what about your business records and critical files? If your office was destroyed today, would you be able to continue serving your clients and running your business, or would your business come to a complete halt? If you were sick or incapacitated, would anyone else know where to find important files on your computer? Is everything documented so someone could fill in for you until you were able to resume working?
Terence Kierans, Principal, Cyberspace Virtual Services, Western Australia made the following statement regarding a disaster/recovery plan while participating in an IVWCC Meet & Greet. He said . . . “In essence it is an essential part of Business Continuity Management (BCM).This is not just about disaster recovery, crisis management, risk management or about IT. It is demonstrably a business issue. It is definitely an area where pro-activity is the keyword – as in not shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
It enables you to identify and manage those risks which could result in:
- Inability to maintain services to your clients
- Damage to your image or professional reputation
- Failure to protect your business assets, tangible and intangible
- Business control failure
- Failure to meet legal or regulatory requirements”
He then quoted The Business Continuity Institute, “Business Continuity Management is the act of anticipating incidents which will affect critical functions and processes for the organization and ensuring that it responds to any incident in a planned and rehearsed manner.”
His comments sure made a lot of sense to me. Here are some of the things I thought of when considering a plan for my business.
- Take a complete inventory of my hardware; know what I have.
- Know where my CDs (software, backups) are located and keep them in a safe place.
- Know where the licenses are stored (keep a list as well).
- Take regular backups and test them occasionally. Make sure they are readable and that they are backing up the data I need.
- Rotate my backup media and always keep a copy off-site.
- Keep critical files in a safe place.
- Keep passwords, user names, etc. in a safe place. Document what I have.
- Keep a list of all clients, vendors, and who I use to help run my business, with current phone numbers, contacts and account numbers .
- Know what my insurance will cover; keep contact names and policy numbers handy.
- Have an alternate place to conduct business in case of an office disaster.
- Have someone in place to fill in for me if I became ill or incapacitated in any way.
- Make sure I’m not the only one that knows all of the above information!
This is by no means a comprehensive list of things to consider when putting together a disaster/recovery or business continuity plan, but it should help to get you going in the right direction. Consider your individual business and what you need to do to stay in business should something unforseen happen.
So keep in mind, If disaster struck tomorrow, would you have everything in place to get everything back up and running in a short period time, or would your business be stopped dead in its tracks?
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