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Why Every Business Needs a Disaster Recovery Plan

Why Every Business Needs a Disaster Recovery Plan

by Dan Schaefer

Every business, regardless of size, should have a written and executable disaster recovery plan. Here’s why.

True story - imagine for a moment, it’s October 4, 2013, in Spearfish, South Dakota. An early October storm has just dumped four feet of snow in your area. You’re one of the largest employers in town and you’ve just learned that your office roof has collapsed. Thankfully,it’s Saturday and no one is in the office. Unfortunately, the building is a total loss. Your customers, employees and community are depending on you. Trembling, you think to yourself, “what am I going to do now?”

If you’re a small business, the statistics are not in your favor. The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) reports that almost 40% of small businesses never recover from a disaster like this. Your chances of survival are improved if you have a written disaster recovery plan, however Nationwide Insurance reports that two out of three businesses with fewer than 300 employees don’t have a written plan. The statistics are not encouraging if you don’t have a recovery plan. Regardless of how you look at it, the bottom line is that your organization is more resilient if you have a written plan in place.

 

A few years ago I worked for an organization, Agility Recovery Solutions, that helped businesses prepare for and recover from disasters. At time of disaster we rescued our clients by providing essential resources like power, office space, computer equipment, and communication/connectivity. Over the years we recovered thousands of organizations from all sorts of disasters. Many of these disasters were in the headline news but more often, they were everyday events like a broken water pipe or backhoe digging up a utility line that could cripple a business.

 If yours is one of the businesses without a written plan, there’s good news. There are free resources available to help you get started with putting a plan together as soon as today. Two free resources I recommend are:

The Definitive Guide To Disaster Planning from Agility Recovery Solutions.

Ready.gov Business Continuity Plan information.

 Both of these resources will give you an overview of what a good plan should include. Ultimately, to develop a comprehensive plan, I would recommend speaking with a Certified Business Continuity Planner (CBCP) or working with a partner such as Agility Recovery Solutions that can support thedevelopment of your plan.

However you choose to get started, part of a good recovery plan includes knowing what fixed assets and critical files you have, where they are, and who has them. Asset tracking software can serve the dual purpose of complementing your recovery plan while also supporting your accounting function. Look for software that is compatible with both barcode labels and RFID tags and which also allows you to attach images to an asset record – something that will come in handy if you need to file an insurance claim.

 Bill Boyd, the former chairman of Agility Recovery Solutions and someone I worked closely with when building out their sales teams, was a champion for helping organizations of all sizes survive disasters. He would often say “disasters happen, and sometimes they’re serious. If you don’t have a plan, you may not be in business or as big of a business.”

 Friends, make sure your organization has a plan.

 So, what happened to the business in Spearfish, South Dakota, with the collapsed roof? Were they prepared? Did they have a plan? Did the business survive? This short 150 second Roof Collapse video will explain the outcome.

 

Dan Schaefer works for EnaSys, a leading provider of asset and file tracking software that helps organizations know what fixed assets and files they have, where they are and who has them. In his free time he can be found spectating cross country and track meets or training for his first marathon (for more about this see his “On Marathon Training and RFID Technology” article).

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