Disaster can strike at any time – often with little or no warning – and the effects can be devastating.
According to research by the University of Texas, 94 percent of companies that suffer a catastrophic data loss – from a natural disaster, fire or massive equipment failure – either never reopen or close within two years.
No business owner wants to think they might need to execute a disaster recovery plan, but proper planning could be the difference between bankruptcy and the survival of your company. Having a disaster recovery plan can help you continue to operate your business after a catastrophic event.
The first step in creating a recovery plan is to list all your office functions and jobs that would need to be relocated. List the most critical jobs – those you need up and running immediately – at the top. For example, support staff should be listed at the top.
Next make a list of the office equipment and supporting equipment needed for you and your staff to perform their job. Remember, space, time and money will be at a premium. Focus on the necessary items like desks, chairs, computers, software, servers, printers, phones, etc. It’s also wise to stock up on supply items and store them outside of the office.
What would happen if all or part of your office building were destroyed by fire? What if a hurricane or tornado blew out your office windows or flooded your space? Does your plan include an alternative location for resuming operations? It should.
On the tech side, if you aren’t already doing so, back up your computers on a regular basis. Store the data offsite, so it is not destroyed along with the original data. A disaster recovery plan does you no good at all if the backups are stored at the same location as the original files.
With mobility changing the way we do business, you may want to consider implementing a cloud-based document management system now, that can help you down the road should disaster happen. Think about it: a hurricane, earthquake, flood or fire can easily wipe out filing cabinets and their content, papers, onsite servers and hard drives, creating chaos for your business. Without a backup generator, even a simple power outage can prevent access to locally stored files, effectively shutting down your business until power is restored. A cloud-based document management system provides all the benefits of an on-premise document management system – such as a content library, records of changes to each document and audit trails – but in a secure, online environment where authorized employees access files at any time and from any device, ensuring that critical information is never rendered useless or inaccessible, no matter what happens to your physical office.
Taking the time now to devise a disaster recovery plan is one of the smartest decisions independent financial advisors can do to protect their business should a disaster strike.
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