Do You Have A Business Continuity Plan?

Disaster-EventWith the recent storm in the Greater Toronto Area that left several people stranded and hundreds of thousands without power, including hundreds of businesses, I wondered how many companies affected had a business continuity plan in place.

A devastating event such as a flood does more than just damage to your place of business, it can keep employees from getting to work, and prevent customers from buying your goods or services.

Unfortunately, expenses such as rent, taxes, and employee salaries do not disappear during emergency situations. Most businesses will simply call their insurance companies and seek coverage for the damages, and hope that the coverage is enough to keep the business operating post-disaster. However, insurance is only one of the elements to be considered.

On top of insurance coverage being reviewed regularly, a post-disaster plan of action should be to develop a business continuity plan that deals with key employees, landlords, IT infrastructure, the bank, key suppliers and others who you count on when the business is temporarily closed. When the emergency is over, you need to have a plan in place to ensure a smooth and efficient repair process, and if the emergency is affecting your suppliers as well, getting everything back up and running may not be so simple.

It is important to ask yourself the following questions to ensure your business is prepared for the unexpected:

  • Can your business function without you? This may seem like a simple question, but truly think about it.
  • Can all of your employees contact management and colleagues from home? (Without up-to-date contact lists, this is very difficult)
  • How do you retrieve your backed up data, and can your employees access it as well?
  • Is your data still protected if your employees are accessing it remotely? The Wi-Fi at Starbucks does not provide a private and secure connection.
  • Is your insurance coverage enough to replace key equipment if need be?
  • Do you have business interruption insurance that will compensate you for the time you’re out of business?
  • Do you have contingent business interruption insurance to deal with dislocation of the supply chain

Comprehensive insurance coverage and a business continuity plan that protects your business from disruption after unexpected emergencies are essential to your business’ growth and overall well being. Do not wait for an eye-opening experience to develop your business continuity plan – start today!

What measures have you put in place in case of emergency? Have they helped you during crisis situation? Let me know in the comments.

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