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Hurricane Season is just around the corner. Is your business prepared?

disaster recoveryBusiness continuity means you can continue doing business no matter what happens. Whether an employee suddenly quits, a supplier can’t satisfy your supply needs or a hurricane has completely destroyed the building where you normally do business, “the show must go on.”

The first step to creating a business continuity plan is to determine what the most important functions of your business are and create alternative ways to maintain those functions even if your business location is destroyed by a hurricane. Thanks to smart phones, you can not only keep in touch with your employees but also access the Internet. If you’ve truly planned ahead, then you and your employees will be able to access your company’s network and keep doing business as usual, even if you all have to work from home, another city or another state.

Of course, the same preparations that will help you maintain business continuity will also come in handy for disaster recovery. If you store your company’s important files on an in-house server, you’re going to need a backup and recovery system. The best way to do this is by finding a reliable, trustworthy managed IT services provider (MSP) that specializes in working with companies the same size as yours and in the same industry. MSPs often do regular server backups. They also regularly check to make sure that your server(s) is being backed up properly and that the saved data can, if necessary, be recovered quickly and effectively.

Imagining the worst-case scenario will ensure that you cover all your bases, but don’t get locked into the idea that data backup and recovery pertains only the worst that could happen. This type of mind set could lead to procrastination and the loss of important company information that’s either difficult or impossible to replace. It’s probably better to think of what you would need to do to keep your business running if three or more of your employees suddenly caught a bad case of the flu and couldn’t work for an entire week. These things are more likely to happen than a hurricane.

Another important aspect of disaster recovery is delegation. If you’re injured in a hurricane and can’t do it yourself, make sure you have someone lined up to assume your responsibilities. That person should also have someone who can take over if he, too, is unable to do it, and so on. This ensures that your business will go on no matter what. Hold regular drills to ensure that each person knows what steps to follow should she find herself suddenly called upon to fill your shoes.

Never put all the responsibility on one person’s shoulders, not even your own. Depending on the size of your company, you could assign certain responsibilities to each team member. Of course, your IT team will be responsible for data recovery and other IT related business needs. But who would be in charge of making sure that orders got processed and shipments sent out on time? Who would communicate with vendors or clients to let them know what’s going on? These are questions that you need to answer long before disaster strikes, so that you and your team won’t miss a beat if and when it does. This is another area where an experienced MSP team could help.

Naturally, you hope that your business is never destroyed by a hurricane, but if it were, would you be prepared with business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure that you and your team could continue to work almost as if nothing had ever happened?

 

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