Would Your Business Reopen if Struck With Disaster?

Here is a great checklist from our friends at the RMC (Risk Management Control) Advisors Blog. I am reposting the entire article, but you can click this link to read on their website.

 
If your answer is “I am not sure” or “No”, read on to learn some small steps you can take to increase the likelihood that your business would reopen. According to the American Red Cross, as many as 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen after a disaster!
 
Within the last month, two friends have told me about two separate disasters caused by malfunctioning air conditioning systems. In both cases, there was extensive water damage on multiple floors destroying papers and electronic equipment. In one case, over 100 people were displaced and in the other, about 20 were displaced. Fortunately, due to having business continuity plans in place, they were able to react in a quick and efficient manner.
 
Take Inventory
 
The following is a questionnaire that provides you with the information to determine what steps are needed for you to recover. Please note this is only a sample and is not all inclusive.
 
1. List all critical business processes. What is done regularly to be in business?
 
2. List all resources necessary for the continuation of your business.
   
a. Critical personnel, including off-site phone and email contact information.
   
b. Documents and other critical information, along with their type (paper, electronic, etc.) and location of storage. E.g. contracts, invoices, policies, bank accounts, etc.
   
c. List all non-IT equipment and infrastructure needs. E.g. Copy/fax machine, phone, etc.
   
d. List all IT equipment and infrastructure. E.g. PCs, servers, printers, etc.
   
e. List all IT software and services. E.g. Internet access, email, critical applications, etc.
 
3. Assess your readiness.
   
a. Critical personnel.
                       
i. Where would they work if disaster struck?
                       
ii. How would they gain access to needed resources?
   
b. Documents and other critical information.
                       
i. Would they be destroyed if you had a facility, local, or regional disaster?
                       
ii. How long would it take to get critical resources in the hands of those who need them?
   
c. Non- IT equipment.
                       
i. Do critical personnel have access to key equipment at their home?
                       
ii. What suppliers can provide this equipment.
                       
iii. How long would it take the suppliers to provide you with the equipment?
                       
iv. Do you have alternate solutions if the equipment is not available?
   
d. IT equipment.
                       
i. Do critical personnel have access to this equipment at their home?
 
ii. What suppliers can provide this equipment?            
 
iii. How long would it take the suppliers to provide you with the equipment?                      
 
iv. How long would it take you to configure the equipment?              
 
v. Do you have alternate solutions if the equipment is not available?
   
e. IT software and services.
                       
i. Are all critical software and electronic data backed up and recoverable in case of a facility, local or regional disaster? Where are the back-ups?
                       
ii. Do you perform regular checks on backups to verify the data is recoverable?
                       
iii. How long would it take to get critical applications up and running including loading critical software and data after the equipment is configured?
                       
iv. Do you have a contingency plan until IT services are available?
   
f. Cash flow.
                       
i. Do you have a line of credit to access until you are back in business and processing payments?
 
Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are critical for all businesses. This is especially true for industries where your clients depend upon you for critical services, such as payment of insurance benefits, etc.
 
To learn more about risk response planning, contact Elaine Nissley, Principal, ENissley@macpas.com.

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by Scott Heintzelman - Scott is a CPA, CMA and CFE living in Pennsylvania. Scott is a partner serving on the executive team at McKonly & Asbury LLP, a regional accounting firm with multiple offices in the Mid-Atlantic. The firm has been an IPA ALL-STAR as well as winning Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania for numerous years.

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