As Hurricane Katrina furiously slammed the US, the devastation it brought with it to millions of people and businesses is just horrendous. The unfortunate fact is that most businesses are simply unprepared for events of catastrophic proportion and the staggering disaster statistics provided by the Hartford Financial Service Group, are frightening:
- 68% are due to human error
- 25% by hardware / software failure
- 5% of natural disasters
- 2% of intentional causes
- Fewer than 25% of organizations have a contingency plan
- When disaster strikes 43% of the ones without a plan never reopen
- Most companies without computers for more than ten days will not recover fully
So what are some of the steps your business ought to consider so you are better prepared?
- Elect a preparation team and a coordinator.
- Prepare a disaster recovery document and share with your staff. Make sure all of your documents are stored at several locations.
- Keep a record of all your assets with detailed descriptions, pictures and serial numbers.
- Determine an evacuation plan with emergency phone numbers and locations.
- Backup your computer data daily and make sure it is stored primarily offsite as well as onsite. A most recent backup of all your software systems must be stored offsite. Keep several copies in case of bad media.
- Determine a recovery plan for your hardware and the possibility of temporary hardware utilization offsite, including your staff.
- Decide where your vital records will be stored.
- Maintain a list of critical phone numbers such as: employees, suppliers, customers, contractors and repair firms (electrician, plumber, heating, landlord, accountant, attorney,) as well as fire, police and medical departments.
- Create an emergency communication plan to protect your phones, email, Internet, Web site, Fax and computer network.
- Annually review and test your plan.
Finally, I would like to share with you a story just posted today by one of my colleagues on a favorite forum of mine:
I’m in a Houston hotel watching the TV showing views of New Orleans. We’ve seen our neighborhood underwater, although we do not know the status of our home. 2 dads of my daughter’s friends decided not to leave the city and we do not know their status. We see others in our hotel actually seeing their homes underwater. We are told we may not be able to return to the city for a month.
Please pray for us. Any words of support/encouragement/love are appreciated. I’d give my cell but it doesn’t work too well since the infrastructure supporting their operating has been put out of commission.
My wife, daughter, and I are together. We thank God for that.
The business lesson? Get sources of residual income so your economic life is not tied to one source…….
I’ll check mail and the forum as time and circumstances allows….
Although each of the ten steps outlined above could become the topic of an entire article, I encourage you to take action and put your plan in place so you don’t find yourself and your business dreadfully under water.