September 7, 2012 by Tom Zeliff Categories: Solutions

Did you know that over 60% of companies confronted by a major disaster close within two years?* The primary reason they fail is that the company did not have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place and are unable to recreate lost information. These plans do not have to be expensive or complex but they do need to be created and implemented to avoid the risky aftermath of a disaster. To be sure, a comprehensive plan reaches across multiple aspects of your organization but centers around your ability to quickly access critical documents, data and information to keep your business running:

Systems & Software

When a disaster occurs, what is it that you can do to get your business back up and running quickly? Do you have a means to re-install the systems and software that operate your business in a different location, and can you access those systems in a timely manner? Up until recently, online systems and cloud software were not as prevalent or robust as on-premise solutions. As cloud based services matured, having your systems and software exist outside of your servers becomes very attractive, especially from a disaster recovery perspective. Your people can work from anywhere until your offices are rebuilt. If you must install your systems on your own servers, do you have a plan on making that happen, from an equipment, location and technology perspective?

People

Your disaster may not be one of physical location, but of personnel. What happens if your key personnel are incapacitated or out of reach? Do you have a plan (in writing, kept offsite) for your required administrative decision-making? Who can sign checks or make other critical decisions concerning the company’s operations until permanent management can be found?

Facilities

If a production facility is involved, how quickly can you obtain the equipment necessary to re-start your operations? Can you get the capital needed to acquire the equipment while your insurance company processes your claims? Do you have the right insurance policies in place? Do you have updated equipment and asset information so that you can even make a proper claim with your insurance company?

The Plan

To minimize the risk of losing access to critical business information and not having a physical office to operate out of, we recommend that you consider the following as part of your disaster recovery plan:

  • Document Scanning and Imaging: scan all of your paper records, client files, HR documents, financial documents, even your company’s insurance documents so they can’t be destroyed in a fire, flood, or other natural disaster
  • Cloud Document Management: store your digitized documents in cloud document management software for remote and immediate access from any web browser

Implementing both document scanning and cloud document management software will provide benefits beyond disaster recovery planning. These include never losing a document again, version control, no more faxing spreadsheets or documents, faster and more effective decision making, a higher level of customer service, and competitive advantage. The alternative without a plan, processes and systems in place—i.e., rolling the dice? A 60% chance of bankruptcy.

Test

Once you have your plan in place, testing it is critical to the program’s success. One company we know recently held a “Disaster Recovery Weekend” where people would show up on a Saturday morning, and be given an envelope. In the envelope was the statement “you survived” (or not) and they tested their disaster recovery processes, including a full restoration of their data backup, following their written procedures. That is the best (and only) way to determine if your disaster recovery plan will work other than when the real thing happens.