Last weekend, a tornado touched down within a few miles of my home and home office. No damage to our home but others suffered wind damage, fallen trees, and electrical service interruption. In other news, our nation and world is bracing for an outbreak of H1N1 virus. Wildfires ravaged thousands of acres across the West Coast of the U.S. destroying homes and businesses, causing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
In my local metropolitan area, thousands of homes and businesses are bracing for the threat of floods throughout the Green River Valley this winter as the Army Corps of Engineers is predicting rivers overflowing from damage to the Howard Hanson Dam. Local counties and cities, as well as most large businesses, are preparing for a disaster.
Whereas I don’t get caught up in the fear of these kinds of events, I do think it is prudent to have a business continuity plan in place in the event of an unforeseen emergency. Yes, even for the small office/home office.
A business continuity plan, also called a disaster recovery plan, is defined by www.businessdictionary.com as a “set of documents, instructions, and procedures which enable a business to respond to accidents, disasters, emergencies, and/or threats without any stoppage or hindrance in its key operations.”
In its simplest format, a business continuity plan should include the following information which ought to be communicated to and in the constant possession of all key employees.
• Communication Plan
• Relocation Plan
• Evacuation Plans
• Emergency Supplies
• Vital Records
• Emergency Staffing Plan
Start by developing a Communication Plan. It takes very little time to make preparations that include a list of critical phone numbers of staff, suppliers, customers, local and national disaster assistance centers.
Backing up vital records off-site requires a minor monthly investment and is a must for any business. Web-based backups such as Mozy or Carbonite are my favorite choice for consistent and dependable backup security as there is no hassle required with manual backups, transporting the hard-drives to a safe deposit box offsite, etc. Businesses with more than 5 networked PC’s could consider contracts with Managed Services providers such as CMIT Solutions.
For more thoughts on how to develop a Business Continuity Plan, check the following resources:
If you are a home based business, make sure your business assets are covered in the event of a disaster. Most homeowner’s policies do not cover home-based business losses. For more information about types of home-based business insurance:
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst!