The ultimate disaster recovery cheat sheet: Part 1

Disaster Recovery 101: Employees & Operating Your Business

When disaster strikes, you need to know how to communicate with your employees and keep your business operating. In some instances, you won’t be able to get into your business for several days (or weeks). This is when it’s critical to have a plan in place so that you can get back up and running as soon as possible.

Identify Key Personnel

One of the most important things you want to do is identify key personnel who will be able to handle things in a disaster. These should be supervisors or department heads. Depending on the size of your business, you may only have one or two key personnel. For larger businesses, you may have five or six.

Everyone you work with should know who they go to based on what they do within your operations. For example, all of your accounting personnel would likely report to the CFO or the controller.

You should also identify a small group of employees who will serve as your recovery team. This includes naming one person as the crisis manager. Outline the roles and responsibilities that they will have if any kind of disaster strikes, whether it is a fire, hurricane, or something else.

The recovery team will be the first ones to take action. Depending on where everyone is when disaster strikes, they will be the ones back into the building or the ones that rally everyone up in order to keep everyone calm and informed of what’s going on.

Create a Call Tree for Employees

A call tree will allow you to identify all of your employees by Department. This works both ways. You will want to use it so that you can inform employees and then have those employees responsible for calling other employees. It will allow you to focus on operating your business without having to call each one of your employees individually.

Your employees will also be able to use the call tree if they need to call in order to find out what is going on. For example, if the disaster has struck around the city, they will need to know whether they need to report into work or not.

Provide Updates

It is important for you to provide updates to your employees on a regular basis. If certain phone lines or the Internet is down, you may need to have more information readily available.

Consider asking all of your employees to identify names of family or friends outside of the area that they would stay within the event of a disaster. For example, if the city tells you that you need to evacuate, where would you evacuate to? This information should be available on all of your employees so that you can call people as needed in order to provide updates.

You may also want to consider having a VoIP phone number that you can call into remotely in order to leave a message about what is going on. This way, employees can dial in to hear the message so that they are receiving regular updates.

Establish a Business Disaster Checklist

Take the time to write out a business disaster checklist. This includes everything you need in order to recover and get everything back up and running.

Consider everything from communications to technology and data. You will want to review how you’re going to pay employees as well as how/where you could potentially operate your business until you can get back into the location.

Be Prepared to Operate Remotely

Depending on the level of the disaster, you may need to be prepared to operate remotely for days, weeks, or even months. Depending on the type of business, this may be difficult.

It’s a good idea to develop relationships with vendors and neighboring businesses so that they can be a part of your recovery plan. If you have another location for your business, it will allow you to stay open and focus on bringing in at least some revenue. Even if you have to rent space so that you have an emergency command center, it could help to keep you going.

It’s not just about being able to communicate with your employees. You need to be able to have other plans in place, such as on-site and off-site backup systems. If your data is lost, you need to know how to recover as quickly as possible. The good news is, establishing a disaster recovery plan before disaster ever strikes, allows you to be prepared.

For more information on how to plan for the unexpected contact Kotori Technologies, LLC.