Fires, floods, gas explosions, terrorism attacks, theft and sabotage could all cause substantial loss and damage to your business. Assessing the risks and working out how you would respond to a disaster, both short and long term, is key to surviving an incident.
Here are some top tips to help you devise a disaster recovery plan:
- Back up data regularlyand store copies off site in a secure place. Low cost back up options include CD writers or DAT tape recorders. Practise restoring the data in an IT system outside your own to ensure it works.
- Ensure that important paper documents, such as contracts and employee information, are protected. Make copies and use fire resistant and waterproof storage containers.
- Keep a list of contact detailsfor your staff, customers and suppliers off site so that you can contact them in the event of an incident. Also keep a list of emergency contacts for staff.
- Be clear about what your insurance policies coverand what they don’t so that there are no nasty surprises when you subsequently make a claim. Keep copies of the relevant policies off site so that you know immediately what to do in the event of an incident.
- Review your insurance coverregularly to ensure it keeps pace with any changes in the business.
- Identify your business critical activitiesand set out the tasks needed to restore them and resume trading off site. Identify the core resources that support your critical activities and consider how you would source replacements.
- Have an emergency pack which will include your business recovery plan, as well as a first aid kit, mobile telephone, and masks to protect against fumes and dust.
- Make an inventoryof equipment, materials, products and any other assets to give you an overview of the business. This will make it easier to work out losses and identify gaps in core resources after an incident.
- Make arrangements for a temporary base– you may not be able to operate out of your existing premises for weeks or even months, depending on the type of disaster. Remember any site must comply with health and safety rules.
- Test the feasibility of your planand review it once a year to keep it current. Tasks in the plan should be assigned to designated people. Being organised is a vital part of incident recovery.