The increasing severity and occurrences of natural disasters should compel business owners and executives to develop disaster recovery strategies. A business disaster recovery plan allows them to restore business functions immediately in the event of a disaster like a cyber attack or natural disasters.
Small businesses are extremely vulnerable to the adverse effects of disasters. In fact, data from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) show that 40-60% of small companies went bankrupt after disaster strikes. FEMA also found that 90% of entities who failed to reopen within five days of the calamity filed for bankruptcy within a year.
It is, therefore, a necessity for businesses to develop a business continuity plan to sustain their operations after a catastrophe.
Benefits of a Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan
A DR plan aims to protect critical business infrastructure during a disaster. A well-executed emergency response can spell the difference between the survival and failure of your business after a catastrophe. Here are other benefits that a DR strategy can provide to your business:
Reduced recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO)
DR plans can significantly lower your RTOs and RPOs because you already have a backup and recovery strategy in place to respond to disasters. However, you need to conduct regular drills to ensure your plan is working.
Limits the interruption of mission-critical processes and ensures business continuity
The immediate implementation of your DR plan allows the vital operations of your business to continue a few days following a calamity.
Improves the reputation of your business
Enabling your business to resume operations immediately after a devastating event allows you to deliver on your commitments. It will also enhance the reputation of your company as a dependable business partner.
Limits business losses due to downtime and other causes
The immediate implementation of your DR strategy allows you to restore business operations immediately. As a result, your revenue losses and damages to your assets will be minimized.
Granular management of business data infrastructure
With a DR plan, you can implement your data management plan including data storage, data protection, and data backups quickly. As a result, you can restore data at file levels to ensure the complete recovery of data and services.
Steps in the Development of a Business Disaster Recovery Plan
Both large and small entities should develop a working emergency recovery plan to protect their bottom line from catastrophic events. Businesses should also conduct a business impact analysis to identify important things to protect during a disaster. Here are some ways to create a disaster recovery plan:
Establish an emergency response strategy and conduct employee training
You should create steps that you and your workers take when a catastrophe occurs. You should include strategies to prevent the loss of your business assets, inventories, and other properties.
Furthermore, you should establish an emergency response protocol to know whom to contact first during a crisis, including yourself, your security team, and the concerned agencies or authorities. Conduct regular drills to familiarize your workers on the safety procedures and their responsibilities.
Develop a human resources management plan
Create a plan to ensure your employees’ safety during the emergency and their ability to return to work. Some of the strategies may include regular building maintenance and provisions for home-based work.
Assign responsibilities to each employee clearly to avoid confusion during the plan’s implementation
You should communicate the things each staff should do during a disaster. Familiarize them with their tasks by conducting regular live drills and emergency safety seminars.
Create a communication strategy to maintain contact with customers and suppliers
Establish a communication protocol for informing customers about your predicament. You can post notices outside your office and in local newspapers or contact them by phone, email, or text messages.
Collate a list of emergency and vital phone numbers and addresses to contact key individuals after the crisis
Your list of addresses and phone numbers should include suppliers, contractors, clients, insurance providers, local authorities, and emergency management agencies.
Prepare essential supply kits for your employees
You should store emergency supplies in your premises so that your employees can access them during a disaster. The supplies may include first aid kits, bottled water, non-perishable food, device chargers, and cash.
Backup your records and data
Maintain updated duplicates of your important documents, records, and contracts in an off-site safe deposit box. You can also hire the services of a data storage company to keep your electronic data at its proprietary data center for safekeeping.
Make sure your insurance is up-to-date and will sufficiently cover your business losses
Review your insurance policy to make sure all your costs will be covered and there are no gaps in your coverage. Your plan should also include extra expense insurance, business interruption insurance, and catastrophe insurance.
Furthermore, you can consider buying commercial insurance like building coverage, business income, business personal property, and ordinance or law.
Cooperate with both ends of your supply chain to ensure business continuity
Develop collaborative strategies with both clients and suppliers to avoid disruptions to your supply chain after the crisis. You can exchange ideas on disaster preparedness and backup solutions to maintain your business relationships.
Submit a report of your losses to the Small Business Administration (SBA)
You should file a report detailing the impact/s of the disaster with the SBA. During catastrophes, the agency provides advice and assistance to small and medium enterprises across the U.S.
In fact, all businesses can avail of up to $2 million in loans for purposes like repairing destroyed facilities and equipment. The agency also provides Economic Injury Disaster Loans for the working capital requirements of affected businesses.
Small and Medium Enterprises need to prepare for any fortuitous event. We at STGOhio.com can develop a business disaster recovery plan so that business owners can focus on faster recovery and business continuity.