June 2013 saw the entire country shocked and mourning the loss of thousands of lives to the floods in Uttarakhand. Sometimes it is an earthquake somewhere, cyclones and cloud bursts somewhere else that cripples normal life, affecting livelihoods.
And what about man-made disasters? Fires, political violence, strikes? Don’t they also take their toll on the otherwise regular lives of people? Just as you take steps to safeguard your own life and your belongings in times of both natural and man-made disasters, you need to do the same for your business. And while it is true that beyond a point, you cannot do much, it is imperative that you ensure that the basic safety and recovery strategies are in place.
The following pointers will give you the direction on how to go about disaster recovery and business continuity plan –
Insurance: The importance of insurance cannot be undermined. So what if your business is still in its nascent stages? Be it for tangible or intangible property, getting some of the basic insurances in place is a must for every business. The type of insurance required depends on the type of your business operations.
Here is a bird’s eye view of some of the insurances that may be applicable to your business – Types of Insurances for Small Businesses.
Data Back-Up: Perhaps the need for data-backup needn’t be emphasised in today’s world. It is a basic necessity. After all, every business information, intellectual property resides in your computers, laptops, servers and hard drives. Unless you make it a habit of keeping a regular back-up of your business data, you run the risk of losing them to system crashes, man-made or natural disasters. Further, it is extremely important that you keep this data back-up at a place other than your office. The reason is obvious. Should there be a disaster, you should be able to recover your lost data at the earliest and get back to business as usual.
Here is a guide on How To Back-Up Data At Work.
Office Security: Disasters can be in the form of hacking, break-ins and shop-lifting too. How to ensure complete security from hackers and burglars then? A complete strategy to safeguarding your business premises by installing data security, using good methods of storage, informing and educating employees, unplugging unnecessary appliances and by being alert.
Things To Keep In Mind For Office Security is a good guide on how to go about ensuring the security of your office premises.
Prepare A Disaster Recovery Plan: A disaster recovery plan or a business continuity plan is to prepare your business against outages caused by factors beyond your control (e.g., natural disasters, man-made events) and to restore services to the extent possible within minimum time. This is easier said than done and entails and elaborate planning. Here are some of the basic components of a good disaster recovery plan-
1. Identify the critical functions of your business. List them down in order of importance.
2. Identify those employees in your business who can carry on the critical functions without much supervision in case of an emergency. Empower them with the necessary resources such as laptops, mobile phones, data cards, so that they can carry on these functions even without having to come to the office.
3. Try doing a mock drill every once in a while, say once in a quarter or 6 months, in order to check the efficacy of the disaster recovery plan you have charted out. Hope this article will help you in taking stock of an important aspect of your business.
Write to us to tell us what more you think is important in the preparation of a disaster management plan.