Most elevators/lifts in North America, Australia and the UK have a sign saying something along the lines of, “If there is a fire, don’t use the elevator/lift.” In Hong Kong, all elevators have signs that say, “When there is a fire, don’t use the lift.” The changing of one word, “if” to “when” presents a large difference of outlooks. In Hong Kong, people and businesses expect a disaster to happen. This is a viewpoint small business owners should adopt as well.
When a disaster strikes, 25% or more of small businesses affected will fail. Why do they fail? It’s not because of defects in the physical location, it’s mainly because they didn’t take the necessary steps to ensure that their business’s technology and related data is protected.
Because the modern business relies so heavily on technology, it’s essential that businesses have a business continuity plan (BCP) to minimize the loss of vital data, or in many cases, not lose any data at all. This is an important asset that will, one day, minimize losses felt due to any type of disaster. Small business owners know this, but many don’t know where to start. If you’re one of these owners, here are six tips on how you can prepare.
- Establish a backup regime. Data backup is one of the most important things you can do, be sure to regularly backup your corporate files, servers and user data files. A truly prepared company will have backups in a number of locations that can be easily accessed.
- Ensure solid communication platforms. One of the first things people do in a disaster is try to communicate with each other to ensure everything is ok. You can guarantee that some customers and employees will be calling to check in, so you need to have communication lines that work.
- Train employees. A BCP plan is useless if your employees don’t know their role in the implementation of the plan. It’s important that you train your employees on their roles, and that you communicate with them your expectations.
- Contingency plans. Like storing your data backups, you should set up contingency plans with the involved parties in your business. You should know where to go to do your banking, what your vendors’ or suppliers’ plans are and how they affect you, and most importantly: you should have a few locations where you can set up your business if the physical property is damaged.
- Review and practice all plans. Everything changes at one time or another, maybe an employee leaves or you adopt a new computer system. This makes it important to periodically practice your plans, review what worked and what didn’t, and update accordingly.
- Work with an expert. Planning for disaster is a tough thing to do well, considering all the elements to focus on and work with. To ensure a viable plan for your business, working with a recovery expert can help ensure that you get a plan that works for you while taking the stress off.
If you’re worried about your business’s disaster preparedness, please contact us. We can work with you to develop a solution, or provide you with the information and contacts to set you on the right path.