Written by Beth Hildreth on March 30, 2015

Companies of all sizes need a plan for unexpected events that may disrupt operations. No matter the cause of an outage, there must be a plan to keep the business’s doors open and its systems operational. A business continuity plan is a black-and-white strategy for dealing with these difficult situations, and it does not need to be the length of a novel to be effective.

Contact Information

Storing lists of contacts in the cloud ensures that all employees who may need information will be able to access it if an emergency occurs. While no two businesses are alike, the most common lists that businesses should make available to authorized personnel are these:

  • Business contacts – This list should contain essential details about financial institutions or services with which the company is engaged. It also should include the business’s preferred attorney and a full list of vendors that have provided work or products in the past.
  • Employee contact list – This list should include addresses, names, and company email addresses as well as personal and company cell phone numbers. Adding the names and contact information of spouses and partners is also helpful.
  • Customers – Businesses want to ensure that they do not lose revenue and that they keep the company afloat. If the unthinkable occurs, contacting key customers to let them know that the company is still up and running can keep cash flow stable.

Responsibilities

One of the most difficult things to do during an emergency is to stay calm and organized. Having a list of employees and their assignments during an incident is extremely helpful. Businesses should establish procedures for who does what in a crisis, and leaders should ensure that employees know that this document exists and how to access it. Also, companies should create and communicate a hierarchy of authority to manage a scenario in which a key manager is unavailable.

Inventory

Knowing exactly what physical assets the company possesses will help immensely if those assets must be moved to an alternate location or registered on an insurance claim. Businesses should create a list that contains any computer equipment (including peripherals), network hardware, and similar components.

Relocation Details

If the main company location were compromised or damaged in some way, would employees know where to go for work?  Remote work may not be feasible, so the business continuity plan must also define a handful of centralized meeting places or alternate locations for work. This list should be prioritized in the event that the next preferred location is also unavailable.

File Backups

In addition, essential company documents and files–as well as client files–must have a backup strategy that involves storage on a secure cloud. Losing data or access to critical data can make a bad situation worse.

While predicting the future and planning for unexpected situations are certainly challenging, doing so should be considered mandatory so that the company can continue operating.

The key is to keep the plan simple, organized, and current. Most importantly, companies should ensure that each employee understands where to find this important information and what they are expected to do during an emergency. Having a solid plan of action will help the business retain its revenue streams during a crisis and recover more quickly afterward.

In addition to having a business continuity plan, it’s important to consider overall network reliability. Click here to learn how Momentum’s comprehensive Cloud Disaster Recovery Solution can add another layer of security to your business.

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