Last weekend I volunteered to write the QBO Monday Minute for Liz due to her family emergency; I also wanted to write about the 'worst case scenario for QBO' I posed in that article. I also happened to mention the fact, which I have done several times over the past few years, that I live in Moore, Oklahoma, what many call, 'the Tornado Capital of the world.' So having lived through several F5 storms in the last 15+ years, I think I know a little something about disaster recovery, or at least business continuity.
Over just the last 3 weeks or so, if you have watched the nightly news, you will have seen the horrific flooding in Baton Rouge, we have seen earthquakes in several foreign countries (of differing levels of economic development), major fires in California, and train accidents involving chemical spills, and countless other 'disasters'.
If you have never experienced any of these types of disasters, then this is where I am going to rub YOU raw, because all I can say is 'just wait, your time is coming.'
The question is, are you one of those people who say, 'that won't happen around here', or 'we have nothing to worry about?'
Maybe you consider the possibility of such disasters in your family life and so you get 'Red Dirt Ready' according to one of the many different FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) public education programs. You and your family have a 'safe spot' or a 'gathering location', you have a 7 to 10 day stockpile of your essentials (food, water, medications, clothing, etc.) and you have practiced evacuation or 'shelter in place' situations. But what about 'at work'?
That's right, what about 'at work', especially if you are a small business owner, or a manager or executive, are you 'ready there as well' (rub, rub, rub)? Does your business, even if you are a one man shop, or a small 3 or 4 employee firm have a disaster recovery plan (DRP), sometimes referred to as a business continuity plan (BCP) or business process contingency plan (BPCP)? If not, why not (rub, rub, rub)?
Regardless of what you call it, such a plan describes how your business would deal with a disaster, or even potential impending disaster. Disasters are events that make the continuation of normal functions impossible. For example, you might loose your entire office or shop in a tornado, flood or even a wildfire. How would your small business deal with such a situation (rub, rub, rub)?
On the other hand, your own business might have been spared from the direct effects of such a disaster, but you major supplier lost their business, and now your production is impacted by that loss. How would your small business deal with such a drastic reduction in production components (rub, rub, rub)?
Let's say once again that your own business was spared from the tornado that went through your community, but you find that 60% of your employees have lost their homes, cars, and in fact some are severely injured or deceased. In addition, you are told that the electricity, water and natural gas to your facility may be off for 7 to 10 days. How will your company deal with the forced shut-down due to a lack of municipal infrastructure, as well as the impact of the storm upon the lives of your workers (rub, rub, rub)?
Do you have a 'Plan' to assist you in minimizing the effects of a disaster, as well as providing the information and organizational methods to maintain or quickly resume mission-critical business functions?
It's easy to know that you need to back-up your computers, including some form of off-site back-up that will provide essential data (like your QuickBooks or other financial data) in the event of a disaster. But let me ask you, even with an off-site back-up, just how long would it take you to get a replacement server delivered to a secure location where you could restore your back-up? And what if your 'IT Company' you are counting on to help you out is also put out of business by the same disaster?
Have I started to rub you really raw with the topic of disasters and recovery because you are recognizing the fact that you are no where 'nearly ready' for a major disaster?
Don't worry, you are not alone. According to the FEMA, "Despite the number of disasters impacting the public since 9/11, less than 50% of businesses (of any size) have disaster recovery plans. Of those that do, fewer than half of those have ever tested their plans, which means their 'untested plans' are tantamount to not having a disaster plan at all."
Now that should really 'rub you raw'. This is exactly why I have taken on the responsibility of writing 'Friction Friday's'. My job is to generate more than a little 'friction' in your life, to 'rub you raw', and to get you to realize that you need to do 'something' about the things that need your attention, 'immediately.' At the same time, in the weeks to come, I will also strive to provide you with some sound guidance, to soothe the pain, and give you a little pat-on-the-back for getting out front and staying there when it comes to 'friction elimination.'
So next week, I will cover some of the fundamentals you need to be considering and incorporating in your DRPs.