Disaster response for business continuity: plan today and stay in business tomorrow
Being business-ready for any potential disaster should be top-of-mind, every day. Business continuity is about planning the actions to take in a crisis, implementing alternative operating procedures and communicating to staff and customers. You may never have to use your plans, but they will be critical if you ever need them!
To maintain financial viability, ensuring access to funds is critical. This includes making sure you have uninterrupted access to your banking accounts, your providers and your customers.
Every business should have contingency plans in place for business resumption in case of a disaster, natural or otherwise!
- Critical system breakdown/Internet outage
- Cyber theft
- Fire, flood
- Lost files
- Natural disaster
- No power, heat or water
- Phone system failure
- Ransom of key files and computers
- Storm damage/Internet outage
Business Continuity is a management commitment to plan, test and update your plan as your business grows. These important questions need answers:
Q: How will I recover lost revenue?
A: Where is your client data stored? How often is it backed-up? How/what will you communicate to customers, vendors and employees?
Q: Who do I call for help?
A: Review/document options and calling trees with your senior executives, Internet providers, accountants, lawyers and insurance providers to understand what you must do. Review them now—before a disaster occurs. Remember: Your business is important, but the safety of your employees is paramount.
Q: How long can I go without my systems?
A: You need data back-up systems, sites and processes. This takes time, detailed planning – and practice. Having a documented plan is important and testing is critical to ensure your business can continue in the face of a minor or major disaster.
For every type of disaster, consider:
- Who is responsible for the plan? Who tests and updates it?
- Who organizes planned practice runs? How often?
- How do you document/communicate who does what, when and where?
- What if normal communication methods are not available – how will you connect?
- Have you allocated time and money for training, back-up materials and systems? Have you negotiated back-up space, access to goods, services and materials needed to run your business? Your business may need to operate for days, even weeks, in “disaster mode” – are you ready?
The potential cost of doing nothing outweighs the cost of planning and testing.
Read more at: sba.gov and Office of Disaster Relief: U.S. Small Business Administration.
Laurance A. (Larry) Selnick, CTP, Director, Treasury and Payment Solutions Sales at Webster Bank has nearly 40 years of experience in cash management systems and bank operations. He serves on the New England ACH Payments Board of Directors and its executive committee focusing on payments information training and regulatory awareness. Laurance is a member of both the New England and the National Associations of Financial Professionals (AFP) and holds the AFP’s Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation.
The opinions and views in this blog post are those of the authors, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult your tax advisor regarding your individual situation. All loans and lines of credit are subject to credit approval. The Webster symbol is a registered trademark in the U.S. Webster Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.
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