Business disaster management and the importance of planning

At any given moment, there is some disaster, natural or unnatural, somewhere in this world where people are affected on a large scale. One does not have to be at the epicentre of an earthquake to suffer the repercussions of a disaster. Disaster can strike at any time and place and can affect businesses critically.

The importance of a disaster management plan cannot be overemphasised.

Failing to have a well thought out, rehearsed and constructed disaster management plan can expose a business to huge risks and, in the event of a disaster, cripple it.

Kaizen is the Japanese word loosely translated as ‘ongoing improvement’. People are key to kaizen, as kaizen concerns the involvement, reward, motivation and contribution of personnel. The fruits of kaizen are new ideas, better morale, better productivity and personal development.

The key elements of disaster management are people, assets, services, services providers and locations.

By analysing where each element fits in with the business and how the elements relate to each other, one can determine what the possible risks are. One can also determine what can be done to prevent these risks and, in the event of a disaster, what can be done to mitigate the disaster and get back to full speed as soon as possible.

One can avoid disaster by planning ahead.

Recently, we experienced a power outage. Fortunately, we had a disaster recovery plan in place for power outages and within five minutes we switched over to our generator supply and continued operations as normal – while people from other offices were milling around aimlessly. The forethought and planning that goes into a well-executed plan can quickly bring a business up to speed. Sadly, one cannot rely on service providers to always deliver and therefore one has to have a recovery plan ready at all times.

Threats such as hacking, data loss and data theft can be formidable disaster events.

While many disasters manifest themselves visibly, there may be insidious threats out there that can sink the proverbial ship. Less than 30% of businesses recover from a significant data loss event. With hacking and industrial espionage a growing trend, one has to make sure that one has proper security and system management in place.

Having an off-site backup system where your data is encrypted is essential.

Do you still rely on flash drives and external drives for data backups? One should hope not, as backup drives can fail or be stolen or mislaid. Also, remember that having your data in an unencrypted format means that anyone who accesses your drive can access that data.

Having an off-site backup system where your data is encrypted is absolutely essential. It should also be affordable, convenient and have a contactable support centre. Having an off-site backup will ensure that data loss is not a disaster event.

By adopting the philosophy of kaizen and getting one’s personnel involved in documenting processes and carrying out analyses, one can easily draw up, implement and maintain disaster management plans. One can also streamline processes and cut costs by analysing them, and who better to provide the ideas and input than your very own staff? Finally, disaster management software can help to capture and analyse data from all the key elements: personnel, assets, service providers, locations and services and use this data to formulate disaster management plans.

IronTree will soon be releasing a cloud-based Business Continuity and Disaster Management suite of software for all of our customers.

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