The Leader Magazine

MAR 2018

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t H e le A de R MARCH 2018 51 A fter the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, organizations rushed to create contingency plans and establish emergency- management and disaster-planning procedures to help protect against man-made and natural disasters. Emergency drills were scheduled, business continuity plans (BCP) and disaster recovery plans (DRP) were developed, and employees were trained. Soon after implementation, however, many companies eliminated these protocols. Without a threat, the thought of one became a distant memory and contingency planning dropped down the list of priorities. However, in the past year alone, there have been 15 separate weather and climate-related disasters in the United States, each totaling at least $1 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These events resulted in the deaths of 282 people and had significant economic effects on the areas affected. The costs for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria are still being assessed. These catastrophic events have once again heightened our sensitivities around the negative impact a disaster could have on business. In fact, the costs are too great to ignore. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen after a disaster, and for those that do, only 29 percent were still operating after two years. Additionally, if IT is down for nine days or more, bankruptcy will follow within a year. While we can't do anything to control these events, we can help mitigate the effects and damage to business. Here are a few things to ask yourself: • Is your business prepared for a disaster? • What will happen if your office is compromised? • How will you communicate with staff? • How will you run your business without office space? Ultimately, how will you protect all of your assets while ensuring minimal business disruption? f ive tips to ensuring a functional workplace Based on our experience working with organizations to help plan and relocate in all situations, we have identified five things that will help protect your organization from potential threats and ensure that your workplace is functional. 1. Create or update your BCP and DRP. A BCP helps organizations prepare for and aid in disaster recovery. A DRP ensures that there is a procedure in place to recover access to software, data or hardware that are essential to resume business performance. They work hand-in- hand; therefore, organizations need both. If your business is mature, you may have already developed these plans. If so, now is the time to revisit them and make sure they are relevant based on your current needs. If your organization does not have these plans, now is the time to create them. Don't forget that ensuring your staff is aware of these plans and trained on implementation is equally important so be sure to test them annually. 2. Create an employee-communication protocol. Make sure you are prepared to communicate with your staff in a disaster. Do you have contact details for all staff – emails and phone numbers – at the ready? Establishing an employee- communications plan is critical. Here are a few things to consider: • Is there an emergency-notification process in place? • How will you communicate with staff if phone lines and Internet service are down? • To whom should your employees report in the case of a disaster? • If the office space is destroyed or inaccessible, where should employees report?

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