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Why Every Business Needs a Disaster Recovery Plan

by Dan Schaefer

No matter the size of your business, you should have a disaster recovery plan in place. Here’s why.

Picture this scenario. The day is October 4, 2013 and you are the largest employer in Spearfish, North Dakota. The town receives an unexpectedly heavy snowstorm, and in just a short window, 48 inches of snow blanket the area. You’ve just received news that your facility’s roof has collapsed. Not only is the facility unsafe and impractical to use, but the snowmelt will likely damage a large percentage of your equipment and documents. The only positive point to be gleaned from the situation is that it is the weekend, therefore no one was injured when the roof collapsed.

Come Monday, your employees, customers, and the community at large will be asking, “What do we do now? What comes next?” and it will be your responsibility to answer these questions.

Natural Disasters are Disastrous to Small Businesses

If you’re a small business owner, the likelihood that you will be able to recover from a disaster are not in your favor. The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) states that nearly 40% of businesses hit with a disaster never recover. But, your odds of resuming business are greatly improved if you have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Nationwide Insurance states that two-thirds of businesses with fewer than 300 employees do not have a written disaster recovery plan. Regardless of how you approach the situation, 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:

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 the development 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.

About Dan Schaefer

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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