No one likes anticipating disaster, but have you considered what it takes to be prepared if there’s a power failure, IT system crash or a natural disaster? If you answered no, you’re not alone. Most independent investment advisors don’t have a disaster recovery plan, but it is certainly worth some thought. Having a disaster recovery plan might aide in keeping your company up and running were there to be an interruption out of your control.
Wondering where to begin? First of all, be sure to include an employee communication strategy with instructions outlining an alternative work location and ways to keep business running as usual. The details will vary, depending on the size and scope of the firm.
Also, be sure to list office functions and responsibilities that may need to be relocated, beginning with the most important roles. Make a list of the supporting equipment you’ll need to continue operating. Remember that space, time, and money will be a premium. Focus on necessary items like desks, computers, servers and printers.
It should go without saying that important documents and information should be placed in a fire-safe box either in the office or at a remote location. This is an ideal location to keep records, insurance policies, fixed asset inventory and contracts. It’s also a good idea to house passwords, phone numbers and key codes in this same location.
You should also create a crisis communication plan. To create a crisis communication plan, you will need to determine who needs to be reached, how you will relay necessary information and who will be responsible for executing your disaster recovery plan.
Clearly outline who will need to meet and where. Consider using services like Log Me In or Go To My PC to have remote access to your office. Include notifications to employees, clients, vendors, suppliers and your broker-dealer.
On the tech side, you should back up data on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to store the data offsite so it’s not destroyed along with the original content. If you are not on a “cloud,” you may want to consider it. A cloud-based document management system provides all the benefits of an “on-premise” document management system, but in a secure, online environment.
Finally, test your plan. Doing so minimizes damage and loss and improves your ability to cope with the unexpected. Taking the time now to devise a disaster recovery plan is one of the smartest decisions independent investment advisors can do to protect their business in case of a disaster.
Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group, RCS Capital Corporation’s (NYSE: RCAP) retail investment advice platform.
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