The ultimate disaster recovery cheat sheet: Part 3

Disaster Recovery 101: Your Building & Procedures for Recovery

You hope that you never have to deal with a disaster. However, having a plan for your employees and your computer systems is vital. You also have to know how to protect your building and get everything in order so that you can open your doors once again.

Document Critical Business Functions

Identify everything that is “critical” get up and running. This will likely include such things as being able to answer phones, check email, and process orders. However, every business will have different functions that are critical to them. Identify what they are and what you need in order to perform them.

Getting Back into Your Building

There may be situations where you cannot get back into the city or back into the building following a disaster. For example, if there is a hurricane, the city might be flooded. No one can get in until officials have cleared it. You will need to stay tuned in to all that is going on. You will want to register for American Red Cross Ready Rating so that you can be better informed of natural disasters.

Even if the city is open, you might not be allowed into your building. As the owner of the building, you might be able to do a walk through with officials. However, if you are simply a tenant, you may have to wait until the owner gives you the go ahead. At that point, you have to consider how you’re going to operate without having access to anything inside of your office or warehouse.

Once you do get back into the building, do a walk-through with at least one other employee. Immediately document damage and conduct an inventory.

Remote Call Forwarding

Hosted VoIP will provide you with a wide array of services that can help you during a disaster. Rather than depending on phone lines, it utilizes the internet. Although you may not have the internet at your place of business, you can get it at home or in the next city over. It allows you to continue receiving business calls and operating, even if it’s at a temporary location.

You can also set up for calls to be forwarded to remote locations. It is one of the best ways for you to continue with “business as usual” even if you’re not in your primary workplace.

Utilities & Vendors

You have to consider how you’re going to establish utilities once again. Having all of the utility numbers and your account numbers in a remote backup will ensure you’re able to call them. This will make it easier for you to find out when they’re able to resume service.

You will want to have phone numbers and account numbers for all of the major vendors that you do business with as well. You may need to find out if they were impacted by the same disaster that you were. If they were, they may not be able to provide you with services yet because they are in the same situation as you.

If you are trying to do business in a remote location, you may need your vendors to deliver products to a new address or to help you out by breaking cases to deliver smaller amounts so that you can get what you need to do run without having a large inventory on hand.

Consider talking to vendors prior to a disaster striking to find out how they operate in various instances so that you know which vendors are more likely to help you.

Commercial Business Insurance

It is critical for you to have commercial insurance in place. Although you may only have basic commercial insurance, you have to consider how it is going to help you in the event of a disaster.

You will want to consider various forms of insurance:

  • Building coverage
  • Personal property
  • Tenant improvements
  • Additional property coverage
  • Business income
  • Extra expenses
  • Workers compensation

Each of these forms of insurance is going to help in a different way based on the kind of disaster you are dealing with and the detriments it has had on your business. Business income insurance will also provide you with coverage for lost revenue. It will be what will cover normal operating expenses if your business is uninhabitable for a specific amount of time. This is the coverage that will also help you to pay your employees when you don’t have any kind of income coming in.

A disaster recovery plan is not as simple as having a backup system and a call sheet of numbers. There are a lot of steps that you need to take in order to create a truly effective backup plan that encompasses all aspects of your business. However, a little bit of planning goes a long way to making sure you’re prepared for anything that could happen.

Contact us for more information on how to put together a disaster recovery plan that can protect your business.