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Hurricane Season 2016:  Disaster Recovery Plans for Business Owners

Hurricane Season 2016: Disaster Recovery Plans for Business Owners

Now is the perfect time to consider your Disaster Recovery Plan for your business.  Thinking through your plan doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming.  Here are 5 tips you should consider as you develop your Disaster Recovery Plan this year.

Hurricane Season

It’s June 1st and most people are thinking about summer vacation, the end of the school year, and fun in the sun. But for those of us living on the Gulf Coast, June 1st has another meaning: The start of Hurricane Season 2016.  Even though I’m writing this at the start of the season, the Houston-area is currently going through the wettest 2-month period in recent history.

The heavy spring rains this year raise the point that a Disaster Recovery Plan doesn’t just apply to those of us right on the coast.  Weather and other uncontrollable events can seriously affect your ability to conduct business, serve your clients, and survive financially during and after the storm.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

“A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented process or set of procedures to recover and protect a business […] infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Such a plan, ordinarily documented in written form, specifies procedures an organization is to follow in the event of a disaster.” (click here for more information).

Simply put, it’s a set of directions and procedures created by you in a moment of calm that is used when all hell is breaking loose due to weather or other controllable situation.  The key to the plan is that it is put together when you are able to think clearly and logically about the most important aspects of your business when a disaster occurs.  It does not rely on you to make important decisions when you are going through the disaster.  Rather it is a PRO-active plan which puts the decision-making up-front, and only requires the implementation of the plan when the disaster occurs.

Disaster Recovery Plan Consultants

You can google “Discovery Recovery Plan Consultants” and come up with almost 2 million hits articles and companies that specialize in coming up with plans.

I reached out to one to share a few tips on creating your Disaster Recovery Plan.  Melinda P. Rocha is an IT expert in the field of data management.  She spearheaded the creation of a Disaster Recovery Plan for a manufacturing plant located in Deer Park, Texas.  That plan was put into action September 2008 during Hurricane Ike.  Because of the advanced planning, the plant was brought back online days before its neighbors.  In fact, Melinda was able to implement the plan remotely because the plant was inaccessible after the storm and cell service was spotty at best.

Below are Melinda’s top 5 elements of a good DRP.

Top 5 Considerations for your Disaster Recovery Plan

      1. Save all critical and current contact information, including Account/Policy numbers.  Print that list out and maintain it in a secure location for easy accessibility
        • Utility Providers
        • Insurance Providers
        • Financial Providers
        • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Database
      2. Save all completed and current working data in two places for accessibility–both locally and mobile-accessible
        • Locally: desktop/laptop
        • Mobile: thumb drive, external drive, cloud
      3. Store important files that you do not plan to depart with or that can not be evacuated easily in a safe location
        • waterproof safe box
        • fireproof safe box
      4. Store actual/copy of important files at offsite location not within or along the track of the disaster
        • home
        • 2nd home
        • storage facility
      5. Communicate with your customers and inform them of your plan and location during the evacuation or disaster timeframe:
        • alternate address
        • contact information
        • time available
        • time unavailable
        • alternate contact in the case you cannot be reached
        • alternate website, if possible

Work the your team to come up with a Disaster Recovery Plan that address each of these top tips.  As always, if you’d like more guidance on this please contact me and we can set up a time to discuss your disaster readiness.
[Photo Credit: Jason Hunter]
Contact us below if you’d like to work with us in forming your Disaster Recovery Plan.

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