As 2019 gets under way, we are still limping back from the effects of major disasters across the country – Hurricane Michael affected over 1.3 million homes and businesses in the southern states while the California wildfires caused economic damages to the tune of billions of dollars.
Many businesses affected by these disasters never recover; the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that more than 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster.
Larger companies weather these events better because they could have multiple locations and varied sources of income, but small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can lose everything if they do not have a disaster recovery plan.
Having a robust business continuity and disaster recovery plan lets employees and stakeholders know exactly what to do in the event of a crisis. This helps to minimize disruptions and reduce losses. Business Continuity Management ensures continuity of operations, boosts clients’ and investors’ confidence, and provides additional compliance benefits.
How to Plan for a Disaster
Develop a very robust Business Continuity Management Plan
A robust BCM plan should do the following:
- Identify Potential Threats and Impacts: Since different types of disasters have different kinds of impact, it is important to identify how the business is vulnerable to each.
- Response and Resources: Create an appropriate response for each threat. This will describe the actions to be taken, the people involved and the resources required to restore operations. It should also include how the severity of impact affects the steps of recovery.
- Roles and Responsibilities: A BCM plan identifies the members of the business continuity team with a detailed description of roles, responsibilities, and actions. It also sets out a procedure for making critical decisions or escalating responsibilities in a major crisis.
Train your employees on how to handle a crisis
Educating the disaster recovery team and employees about their jobs and responsibilities during a crisis is the second and most crucial step of a BCM plan. Many businesses who have best-in-class disaster plans crucially fail at the time of execution. Awareness and training of employees is a key criterion for success.
Make the plan accessible during the crisis.
Have templates for internal announcements and news releases covering different scenarios as well as an updated employee directory with contact information. The plan should also have contact details of suppliers, emergency services, key clients, vendors, and key investors.
Test your BCM plan on a periodic basis
Testing the plan regularly not only ensures that employees are trained but also helps in identifying potential gaps and areas of improvement.
Consider Business Continuity Plan Management software to help execute and manage the plan
Using the cloud to store vital recovery plans and contact information is a great way to ensure that information is available even in the case of disaster at the company site. Cloud-based Business Continuity Plan Management software also keeps employee, vendor, and client data current in real-time and allows access from wherever stakeholders find themselves in the uncertain environment following a disaster
Our compliance management system's Business Continuity Plan Management Module can be your partner in creating a robust disaster recovery plan for your company. With a la carte modules to suit your organizations specific needs and free implementation, getting your business ready for the next disaster is just one click away.