Business continuity the morning after the storm was a secondary concern to the owner being interviewed by the TV news crew. ”This is a building…I don’t care so much. Nobody got hurt…” The havoc wreacked by this perfect storm, the worst case scenario, was devastating. The building was nearly destroyed. Employees and their families were shaken, but safe. Are you prepared for the reality associated with a disruptive event?
IT Business continuity begins before the perfect storm.
Now what? The sun is up and you don’t have many options. It’s got to be business as usual. Clients, customers, consumers and employees look to you for stability and security. Whether your business relates to finances, health, legal issues or other confidential and critical matters, business continuity planning allows your business to maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions following a disaster.
How have you protected your business?
Business continuity is no small matter. In fiscal 2015, the U.S. Small Business Administration provided 46,000 businesses and individuals with $2.8 billion in disaster loans.
Nearly every business, whether to satisfy insurance requirements or regulations under which they function, has conducted a business impact analysis to predict the consequences of disruption of business. Protecting your business against disaster disruption, loss of IT data and the loss of business continuity, is a solid, proven business investment. The consequences of choosing not to make this investment could become a staggering cost to your own business; as well as to your clients’ and to their own customers’ businesses and lives.
Backup Management is the basis of business continuity.
Business continuity operates through your overall Backup Management Plan before, during and after an event wherein a proactive plan goes into action to avoid and mitigate risks associated with a disruptive event. What have you done to help your business get back into action after a disruptive event?
- Data backup: Have you integrated your operating system, data and applications into virtual servers that allow your business to become completely site and device independent? Are you sure your computers keep running safely in redundant data centers?
- Unlimited support: Have you provided your employees with 24/7 support anywhere, any time on any device so they can resume work and stay productive immediately after a disruptive event?
- Security management: Do you have a strategic security plan that allows you and your employees the ability to authenticate their identity, manage passwords and access all software applications, systems and data anywhere, any time on any device?
- IT infrastructure: Have you prepared for the total physical loss of every computer, server and other piece of IT equipment residing within the physical structures of your business? How will your data, your work and your computers be accessible?
- Total mobility: Is everybody able to work off-site with an internet-enabled device, such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. Can they connect with one another and clients from home or temporary offices?
Disaster Recovery on a personal level.
Business is about more than IT. It’s about people. After a natural disaster, you and your employees, along with your clients and customers, are facing personal recovery, too. Here are some ways you can help your employees manage their work and personal challenges:
- Keep in contact: Once the weather or the threat has passed, the first thing you should do is attempt to contact your employees. If you can’t reach people right away, don’t jump to conclusions. They may not have phone service or may be attending to more urgent matters. Wait a reasonable amount of time before taking further action or contacting the authorities.
- Allow your employees to work remotely: From downed power lines to icy roads, it may be too dangerous for your employees to return to the office. Be careful not to forget about these employees. Check in with them regularly to stay-up-to-date on their situation and see if there is anything you can do to help them get back to work.
- Be flexible: In the weeks or even months following a natural disaster, your employees will likely be doing a lot of clean up and damage control at their homes. Be flexible about work hours and dress code. Allowing employees flexible work hours to take care of personal issues can help reduce their stress, so they can be more focused and productive.
- Pay your employees: Requirements for paying employees depend on whether they’re exempt or non-exempt. Refer to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and be sure your policy is documented in the employee handbook.
- Set up an employee assistance program (EAP): Sometimes the most difficult part of recovering from a disaster is finding help. An EAP is a third-party organization that contracts with your company and provides a variety of support programs for employees. Normally, EAPs are in place to help employees with work-related difficulties, but it can also help employees with personal struggles.
How does your business compare?
- A Business Continuity Plan (BVP): A definition of potential risks, determining how those risks will affect operations, implementing safeguards and procedures designed to mitigate those risks, testing those procedures to ensure they work, and periodically reviewing the process to make sure that it is up to date. Investopedia
- Disaster Recovery Plan: A documented process of procedures to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster and is increasingly associated with the recovery of information technology data, assets and facilities. Wikipedia
Your Managed Service Provider.
Kirkham.IT is a Managed Service Provider (MSP) providing specifically defined services that remotely manage and assumes responsibility for providing IT infrastructure and/or end user systems for their clients. Kirkham.IT proactively determines the services needed to meet client-specific goals, and provides these services and infrastructure under a subscription business model.
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