A Guide to Disaster Planning for Your Business
As I sit here stuck in a hotel room in North Carolina while it snows for the second day in a row, I realized it was time once again for my annual guide to disaster planning for your business.
We had plenty of warning here in the Carolinas, but despite that, things are still pretty bad here, and officials are telling folks to stay off the roads.
Is your business ready for a natural disaster or severe weather? Here are some tips that I've published over the years based on firsthand experience. (I live in Florida, so I've seen a few hurricanes, floods, tornados and other severe weather.)
If you think you're on top of disaster preparation for your business, I suggest you compare your disaster plan against this one to make sure you didn't miss anything (and if I missed anything on this list, please let me know by commenting below).
1. If you don't have a business disaster plan, write one now. Publish it for all of your employees. Add it to your employee handbook, and then publish frequent updates as personnel and other business conditions change.
2. Get management and heads of major departments involved. Make them stakeholders. Designate someone in your company as chief disaster planning officer.
3. Publish a list of all emergency contact numbers for your key personnel and vendors. Include home and cell phone numbers, and email addresses as alternative means of contact if main communication channels go down. And don't forget IM, SMS and Skype, even FaceTime addresses, as alternative means to communicate during a disaster.
4. Back up your computers and computer systems regularly. Then back up your backups, and keep them offsite. Personally, I have four backup drives and a cloud. Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud are all great places for storage. Remember, there are two kinds of computer users: those who have lost data and those who will lose it. I fall into the first category. Remember, backup drives can fail. I've lost three backup drives over the last few years, so be careful.