Are You Prepared? Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

From ever-changing cybersecurity risks to the need to now plan for business resiliency in
the face of a global pandemic. Not having a plan is no longer an option. You have worked
hard to open your business and keep it running and losing it to a disaster would be financially
devastating for you — and your employees.
The following guide can help you to determine what you need to include in your plan to make sure
your business is sufficiently protected and can quickly recover from current and future threats.

  1. Make a list of all your physical business assets that could be lost in a disaster. This list
    should include:
    • Building(s)
    • Equipment
    • Furniture
    • Vehicle(s)
    • Product inventory
    • Cash
    • Financial, customer and other operational data
    • Physical documents
  2. Identify Risks. Determine which types of threats can damage or destroy your assets or
    significantly impact your business operations. Some of the following may not affect your
    area, but any that could impact your business operations should be considered.
    • Earthquake, tornado, tsunami, or hurricane
    • Pandemics
    • An electrical surge or outage
    • Fire
    • Hacking, viruses, and other cyber attacks
    • Rain and flooding
    • A spill of hazardous substances
    • Terrorism
  3. Determine the steps you will take to protect your assets from disasters. Take each
    threat and each asset, then analyze how you can prevent or prepare for the various
    disasters that might affect those assets.

Employee safety should be the top priority of your disaster plan. Create a plan for
the protection/evacuation of your employees during natural or man-made events
that could affect their safety.
• Assign and train employees, based on their skills, to be prepared to take specific
actions in the event of a physical threat.
• Bring in a professional to train a number of employees to perform CPR and other
first-aid measures.
• Determine escape routes and safe areas employees should use, depending on the
type of physical threat.
• Post a plan of these routes in a prominent place so employees are reminded of
them and can know them instinctively.
• Include instructions for turning off utilities such as gas, water, and HVAC systems.
• Assign individuals to help ensure that an escape or safety plan is implemented
• Practice this plan and make sure new employees are trained on it as part of their
• Post emergency phone numbers for police, fire, poison control, etc.
• Add safety equipment — including first aid kits, Automatic External Defibrillators
(AEDs), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and shelter-in-place supplies — to your
• Maintain an emergency personnel file on each employee with important medical
data, and names of emergency contacts.
• Develop a plan on how to continue operations in the face of a widespread outbreak,
keeping in mind the potential need to shut down physical locations.
Physical Assets
Meet with your insurance provider to understand what is and is not covered in the
case of various types of disasters.
• Determine the cost involved in expanding coverage to make sure your assets are
insured in case of each type of loss.
• Make copies of important printed documents — such as deeds and other legal
documents — and put the originals in a safe deposit box at your bank.

• Take photos of all physical assets, put them on a CD, DVD, or flash drive,
and store it in your safe deposit box. Businesses that have an inventory of their
belongings, with pictures, typically receive higher insurance payments from losses
and receive them faster.
• If your business is in an area threatened by severe natural storms, consider making
building enhancements so your building(s) can better withstand these threats.

The financial, customer, and operational information on your network is the heart of
your operation. Ensuring that it cannot be lost is the best action you can take to
quickly get your operation up and running again.
Moving your operations and data to a cloud service provider not only protects that
data in case of a disaster, but can also significantly enhance the productivity,
collaboration, and functionality of your business.
Cloud services, such as Intermedia, offer business services — including hosted
Exchange, Hosted PBX, Securisync®, and AnyMeetingTM — that let you
communicate, collaborate, manage content and run your business applications.
Today’s highly mobile environment, with employees accessing data from their PCs,
smartphones, and tablets, makes that access easy, yet keeps your data safe and
secure and away from your physical location so it’s not affected by any natural or
man-made disaster.

Getting Help
There are several governmental and charitable agencies ready to help in times of a
disaster. The Small Business Administration is prepared to assist, with programs such
as their National Response Framework (NRF), National Disaster Recovery
Framework (NDRF), and Disaster Loan Making (DLM) process. Their Disaster
Oversight Council/Executive Management Team oversees the direction and support of
the disaster loan process during disasters and coordinates DLM and continuity of
operations (COOP).

By addressing all the above issues in your plan, your business can prevent damages from
some possible threats, be better prepared for other disasters, and be in a position to quickly
get your operations back up and running when issues do arise.