In the previous articles in this series, we discussed risk assessment, the importance of establishing what risks and threats your business faces, how some of them can be prevented or avoided and how you should formulate and use an emergency plan.
Surviving an emergency is only the first stage though, if your business is to continue in the long-term, you need to ensure that disaster recovery and business continuity are a high priority, from the moment that you become aware of a disaster, whether imminent or already taking place.
Post-incident disaster recovery is an essential element in mitigating the effects of specific incidents, ensuring that operations are resumed as quickly as possible and before any secondary damage (to client lists or reputation) is incurred.
Again, this should be an ongoing procedure, detailed in your emergency plan and with post-test and post-incident reviews feeding into improving the plan.
Issues that you need to consider include:
1. Business continuity.
How do you maintain production or service provision if your main business location is out of action? Can you arrange alternative supplies or production facilities, or can key activities be conducted by staff working from home? How long will particular locations be out of action, what can be salvaged and relocated to a temporary work site etc.? All these need to be considered and you need to think about emergencies not only affecting you directly, but also your suppliers, shippers or customers. You may be well protected against a blizzard, but will your students still be able to get through, can you still get your products out, or if you are in the power industry, can you cope with the increased demand for heating etc.?
The emergency plan should make clear what sort of down-time is acceptable before temporary measures are introduced, and how these are escalated. For example, disruption of manufacturing, lectures or the sales team of up to 24 hours may be acceptable, but for any longer, you will need to consider relocating the activity.
2. Inform everyone.
Particularly if there is going to be any lengthy disruption to your business, ensure that you keep your customers, suppliers, staff and contractors informed. In an emergency, people will pull together, and a customer who understands the nature of the disaster that you suffered and is being kept informed on the supply situation is more likely to remain a customer than one who has no idea what is happening or when supply might resume.
Communications are therefore absolutely key to getting the business back up and running. You not only have to marshal your staff and other resources, but you need to keep everyone informed if you are to retain their trust and business.
To read the first article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning: Identifying the Key Stages of your Disaster Recovery Plan. To read the 2nd article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 2: Risk Assessment. To read the 3rd article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 3: Continuity Planning. To read the 4th article, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 4: Disaster prevention and avoidance. To read the 5th article, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 5: Disaster mitigation. To read the 6th article, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 6: Incident Response.
We recommend that you register for a free online demonstration of Regroup’s powerful, secure and easy-to-use mass notification and emergency messaging system or for more information, case studies and white papers about how Regroup helps in meeting your day-to-day and emergency communications needs, talk to a Regroup Communications Consultant today at 775-476-8710