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Recently, I attended a seminar in which the presenters discussed Disaster Recovery. The focus was on the recent flooding here in Ellicott City, Maryland, and the businesses that suffered. They also focused on the damage caused by Super Storm Sandy. While these things do happen – and they are horrible when they do – the odds of an event like this occurring and causing a business to fail are only 3%.

So what are the bigger reasons for disaster-related business failure? Human error accounts for 33% and hardware/system malfunction or failure accounts for 44%. People and machines. Go figure!

I am an Eagle Scout. I live and follow the motto “Be Prepared”, and its served me well. In that spirit, here are 5 things you can do for your business to be better prepared in the event an emergency should occur, whether it is a natural disaster, ransomware/malware, software corruption, hardware failure, or human error:

  • Know Your Risks – Flood, winter weather, fire, power outage, tornado/wind, virus attack, aging network equipment, etc. What is the probability and potential severity of each? Tip: Have a discussion around this with your leadership team. Determine what your biggest risks are and start planning for them.
  • Know Your Employees – Would you know how to reach your employees in the event of an emergency? Do you have a current home and mobile number for them? Is your employee contact information available outside your business location? Tip: Create a list and have it updated every 6 months. Store this list in a secure, offsite file storage solution.
  • Know Your Key Contacts, Vendors, and Suppliers – The ability to resume your business operations relies on the capability of your suppliers and vendors to deliver what you need on time. Do you know how to contact them to delay shipments if you cannot access your office for a period of time? Have you set up a notification list and procedures for how to contact them? You may lose customers if you cannot fulfill their needs during your business disruption. Tip: Identify various ways to communicate with customers and vendors.
  • Know Your Information Technology – Information and technology are the lifeblood of most businesses, and must be included in your business continuity plan. Without access to your computer hardware, line of business applications, and/or data, your business operations can come to a standstill. Oh, and you’ll still have to pay your staff whether they are working or not. Tip: Talk to an IT provider, like One Source, about a true business continuity solution so that you can meet your recovery time objectives. Remember, it is not just about backing up your data, it’s about accessing it and being able to still run your business even if your hardware failed.
  • Know When to Test Your Plan – Hold a real world simulation for your entire staff. Have a written plan for the biggest risks you identified and play those scenarios out with your leadership team to ensure you are ready in the event that something happens. Work with your IT team to test the business continuity solutions you have in place for your technology. Remember- Be Prepared!

This list is just a start. There are many more things you can do to prepare and plan ahead. Your business is like your child. You would do anything to protect your child, so do the same for your business.
If you would like additional details, or to discuss business continuity solutions for your business, contact us at itsolutions@kimidatlantic.com or (800) 875-8843. We’re the trusted IT experts for businesses in Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia & Mid-Atlantic Region.