Wildfire in California

It’s a situation none of us want to consider, but unfortunately experience and history has shown us that we need to be prepared for the unexpected, no matter how terrible that thought may be. Disaster planning is vitally important for businesses in ensuring they can still operate in the event of a disaster, with many employing professional disaster recovery services to help with coping strategies.

Failing to plan for the worst could mean millions of dollars lost in revenue due to challenges finding alternative premises, issues with technology infrastructure and loss of corporate data. Many businesses draw up business continuity plans that detail the exact steps to be taken in the event of an emergency.

If your business is yet to draw up a suitable business continuity plan you may find the following information useful:

Technology

Technology always plays a prominent role in any company and ensuring that key computer systems operate during and after a disaster has evolved into a mini industry, with leagues of consultants and vendors offering to take care of this aspect on behalf of companies. Big businesses will spend an average of 7% of their total IT budget on business continuity and disaster recovery this year alone.

Facilities

Facilities management is often overlooked when it comes to disaster planning, which is a huge oversight as it is one of the most important areas outside of IT. Locating alternative suitable space is vital for most larger businesses, and you’ll also need to consider furniture procurement and installation of environmental systems – basically everything you need for your business to function in the same capacity as before.

Depending on the size of the function, you could consider operating from the same site, a different company location, at employee’s homes or at a transportable work facility. You should also remember site security, staff access procedures and the location of the alternative address in relation to the main site.

People

Disaster recovery plans only work if people are written into them. It’s important to know you have a contingency plan in the event of a major disaster. With their homes and neighbourhoods under threat it’s understandable that most employees would concentrate on their personal lives rather than that of their employer.

In addition to arranging back-up in the event a disaster keeps them from coming into work, provision should also be made in case they’re trapped in work. Think about how you would keep staff safe and fed even in the absence of power supplies.

Data

With ‘big data’ comes big problems, especially if an event beyond your control were to threaten it. Companies are becoming increasingly reliant on the availability of data to inform sales and respond to changing consumer behaviour.

Big data should be stored so that rapid recovery is possible. Cloud based storage may be your best option, as would having multiple servers. However, remember that not all data would need to be made immediately available after an emergency – discuss what is essential and what’s not with your management teams.