Small Business Not Prepared For Disasters

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According to the findings of the most recent survey on SMB Disaster Preparedness, announced by Symantec Corp. on January 11th, 2011most small businesses are at risk of heavy losses due to a disaster. The findings show that most small businesses do not prepare for disasters and only react after the disaster has occurred.

Forty-one percent claim that they never thought to put together a disaster recovery plan while more than 40% did not have disaster recovery as a top priority. Small businesses can be forced to close their doors for upmost of a week in times of disaster.

Bad to worse
Creative Commons License photo credit: Loozrboy

More than 65% of companies, forced to close their doors for a week because of a disaster go out of business. The things that can place a business at risk include: floods, fire, earthquakes, storm damage, equipment failure, power failure, air conditioning system collapse, both wire-line and wire-less network recovery (voice and data), computer viruses, white collar crime, terrorism (bombings and other terrorist acts) and other threats.

Here are 10 main reasons to put together a disaster recovery plan:

1. The Need for Impact Analysis

Your first key step should be to perform impact analysis across your entire business and to put in place a business recovery plan covering personnel, equipment, facilities, infrastructure and information.

2. Data and Information Not Backed Up

All critical data and information should be identified and documented. A data backup strategy should be in place with data stored off-site, preferably not in the same locale. Provisions should be in place not only to store but also to recover the data quickly.

3. Recovery Team Not Identified

Identify an internal crisis response team with clearly delineated responsibilities. All employees should understand their roles in the event of a disaster.

4. Equipment Replacement

Determine the minimum configurations needed to stay in business and put in place procedures for quickly reconfiguring equipment and production facilities.

5. Customer Service Continuity

Understand the absolute minimum customer service levels needed, and put in place plans for notifying your prime customers (the 80/20 rule) of any changes because many of your customers may be impacted.

6. Voice Data and Computer Recovery

Make arrangements to duplicate voice and data services and to recover your computer devices. You should also assess the impact of changes to telephone numbers and how they may impact customers, suppliers and employees.

7. Lack of An Alternate Site

Select an alternate site to relocate to. This site may be a remote location of your company or a hot site provided by a Business Recovery Services supplier. Plans should be made to replace the minimum business capabilities needed to continue to provide the designated level of service.

8. Lack of a Business Recovery Specialist

Planning assistance from a business recovery specialist is well worth the cost. They can assist with impact analysis and help your company determine where you are vulnerable. Even if you have a recovery plan in place, it is necessary to perform an audit of this plan to ensure that it meets your needs. Such a plan also needs to be maintained and kept up to date since the environment keeps changing daily.

9. Business Recovery Services

It is best to use a major provider of business recovery services who can provide a hot site, far removed (with several to choose from), can assist with replicating voice and data access, can re-establish your communication capability, has the breadth of equipment you will need to re-establish your systems and can even provide personnel if needs be. Your vendor from around the corner is going to be in the same trouble as you when a major disaster hits.

10. One Point of Contact

When managing a crisis, the last thing you need is to be fumbling for the right contacts. Prepare a list with a single contact point for each vendor, customer and service provider you will need to contact.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Smith
YCHANGE International
Jim Smith mentors entrepreneurial start-ups and counsels small to mid sized companies that are looking to expand or are under performing or under capitalized.

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