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Disaster Plan: Threats to Address

 

Disaster Plan: Threats to Address

The threats you face will be different depending on where you live in the world.  Following are some of the most common disasters.  Think about which may affect your company.

Weather / Natural Disasters

This category is one of the most common disasters that companies face.  It could be flooding, a tornado, or some other natural disaster. 

Natural disasters and severe weather events not only affect you, but they affect other businesses in your area.  So if you have a better disaster plan than your competitor, these events may open new opportunities for you.

Weather disasters can wipe out your infrastructure, your products, and other parts of your business in that location.

Fire

Fire may be one of the higher probabilities.  Think what it would be like if you drove up to your business tomorrow and it had burned to the ground.

Supply Chain

If your business depends on materials from other areas, your supply chain could be at risk. When west coast dockworkers went on strike, this caused severe issues for copier dealers because their equipment typically came by ship.

So look at your supply chain and explore vulnerabilities?  What could disrupt your suppliers, and what can you do about it?

Infrastructure

Your infrastructure is another area to examine.  Almost every business depends on software to operate, and the software runs on computers. 

How vulnerable are you to a failure of either the software or the computer?  What can you do to protect the infrastructure from failing?

Because your data is, in most cases, the lifeblood of your business, how well protected is your data?  What are the risks of a cyberattack on your data?  What about ransomware? 

Accident/Violence/Theft

Accidents, risks, and theft are risks for every business.  What happens if one of your employees is driving a company vehicle and causes an accident?  What if the other driver or passenger is killed or seriously injured? 

What if one of your employees is accidentally injured or dies on the job?  Also, consider the possibility of an employee sexually harassing a client or attacking a client? Or perhaps a key employee becomes unable to work?

What about someone stealing from you, or worse, an employee steals from a customer? 

Unexpected Ones

Because they are unexpected, these can be the most challenging risks for planning.  But that doesn't mean we cannot prepare for them.  Consider 9-11 and the Covid Pandemic.  Owners and management teams with disaster plans positioned their business to respond to these events more successfully because they had well-thought-out plans for other disasters.

When the unexpected happens, you can look at your existing plans and find things to use for unforeseen events.  The planning process will equip your team to face whatever happens.

Disaster Plan - Things to Consider

Your company needs many things to keep the doors open.  When something happens, you need to start restoring operations quickly, starting with a priority list of tasks.  Again not all items will apply to every business or situation, but a list of priority tasks will help you make sure that nothing gets missed.

Infrastructure / Communication

This list starts with infrastructure. Working communication is the top priority. Your employees need to communicate with you and you with them.

Your customers need to reach you and talk to a live person, not to voicemail. Establishing contact with customers needs to be done immediately after your employees can communicate with the office.  Do you know how to get your business phones forwarded to your company's cell phones?  Do all of your managers have the written procedure so that they can act if you are not available?

Make it a priority to update any voicemail response to inform clients of the issue, what you are doing about it, and make sure you have more than one way they can reach you.

Do you have a backup method for employees to contact you?  I would recommend these: Phone, Email, Text, and then a social media channel that you could monitor.

Physical Location

Many types of disasters may render your location un-useable. What are your Plans B and Plan C?  You need to have backup plans, and employees need to know what they are.  It may be a hotel conference room; it could be working from home like many businesses during the Covid Pandemic

 The critical thing is that you have a plan and your employees understand it.

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