Averting a business data disaster from afar

19th January, 2016

How prepared are you for a disaster in your business? Can you pick up where you left off and run your business from anywhere in case of an emergency?

There are a number of situations that could have a significant effect on a business. Natural events like fires, floods and earthquakes could wreak havoc on a business. Business owners could have to leave their premises due to building issues like faulty wiring or asbestos. How well prepared would you be?

There are a number of practical tips and tricks that you can implement in your business right now that will help your business recover quickly from any potential disaster.

Upload business collateral to the cloud

One of the best things you can do for your business right now is to put all your important documents (including your emergency plan) in the cloud so you can access data from anywhere. That way, even if you lose your computer and back-up drive in a disaster, you will be able to pick up where you left off from another computer or mobile device.

In case your business premises is destroyed or you have to be away from your office longer than expected, create documents that include all the necessary information for you to get back to business quickly.

Include the following information:

  • Compile a list of items needed to run your business if you lost it all tomorrow. This includes important documents, equipment, and even other files such as your business logo in case you have to print new business cards. Store all digital items in the cloud.
  • Make a plan for the first hour after a crisis. Include a list of who to call, what to gather, and any other pertinent information.
  • Decide the best ways to communicate to your employees their responsibilities in case of emergency.
  • Gather a contact detail list for all business partners.
  • Ensure all your back-up data is stored off site or in the cloud.

Immediately following a disaster

Have an emergency plan in place that provides specific detail on everything that needs to be done for the business before, during and immediately after a disaster event. The document should include staff responsibilities, contact details for emergency services, physical equipment maintenance schedules and action plans in easy to understand formats.

The plan should also outline how you will communicate with emergency services, your employees, customers and suppliers in the event of an incident. It can be a good idea to set out what needs to be done immediately and what needs to be done in the following 24 or 48 hours.

Recovering from a disaster

A disaster recovery plan can be one of most important strategies you have in place for your business. This plan should cover operating from alternative premises and planning for disruptions to electricity, gas, water, sewerage and telecommunications systems.

Making sure you have more than one supplier is important; your existing supplier may also have be impacted by the event. Be prepared for broken machinery and damaged equipment, and know who can fix them. Have their contact details at hand and stored in the cloud in case your computer equipment is also damaged.

The point of difference between a business that recovers quickly and one which struggles to bounce back under similar circumstances is good resilience planning. Your business is critical to your financial wellbeing and could also be a necessary service to your community so naturally you want to protect what you can. Implementing an emergency and business continuity plan will hold your business in good stead in the event of a disaster.

For more information, as well as templates for emergency and business continuity plans, see the Australian Government’s Emergency Management and Recovery page.