Go beyond data back up with BCP

Natural disasters happen. Small business owners are well aware of this and many have taken steps to ensure that potential damage to their business is minimized and they can remain operational – a practice commonly known as business continuity. The vast majority of small business owners ensure that their data is backed up. While this is a good practice, it likely won’t be enough to remain operational during or after a disaster.

Here are five things you should be doing, aside from backing up your data, to ensure you’re ready for anything.

  • Where to work. One of the first things you should consider is where      you’re going to work if your office is inaccessible. Hotels, convention      centers or other office buildings are viable locations. Whichever location      you pick, you should pick at least two different places, as far apart as      possible. You should also be sure to inform your staff and include maps of      the routes to the locations you’ve chosen.
  • Replacement      equipment. It’s incredibly important that you know exactly what     equipment you use and how integral it is to operations. For mission      critical equipment (equipment your company absolutely can’t work without)      you need to have a plan in place as to how you can quickly replace lost      equipment, the cost of it and replacement time. For less important      equipment, you should have a couple of vendors in mind.
  • Communication      systems. During adverse business conditions it’s vitally      important that you and your employees are able to communicate both with      one another and with your clients. You should look into a communication      system that’s flexible, can be established wherever you are and allows you      to keep your numbers. VoIP is a great system; telecommuting is another      option as well.
  • Coordinate staff. You’re staff drive your business, without them, your      business likely won’t be able to run. With the continuity plan you      develop, it’s important that you have hard and soft copies of the plan      that are accessible to all staff, and staff know their role in the plan.      When your plan is enacted you need to contact your staff and ensure that      there aren’t any problems.
  • Access to critical      documents. If you have a good backup location, can set up      equipment quickly and staff know their roles you may think your plan is      perfect. You’re missing one key element: access to documents, employees      won’t be able to work without them. It’s important to ensure that you can      access your data backups, which means you should probably keep copies      offsite and in the cloud if possible.

A continuity plan is important; hopefully you’ll never have to enact it. Nevertheless, you should plan for the worse. If you’re unsure of where to start, or feel your current plan is inadequate, please contact us.

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