FinancesResources

Business Disaster Planning Checklist

Planning Before a Hurricane or Other Disaster Arrives is Key to Business Survival. These guidelines help businesses develop a strategy to minimize damage, lost time and money.

 

Develop a business continuity / disaster recovery plan.

– Establish a disaster-recovery team of employees who know your business best, and assign responsibilities

for specific tasks.

– Identify your risks (kinds of disasters you’re most likely to experience) and make a detailed plan for how

you would respond to each type of disaster.

– Prioritize critical business functions and how quickly these must be recovered.

– Establish a disaster-recovery location where employees may work off-site and access critical back-up

systems, records and supplies.

– Obtain temporary housing for key employees, their families and pets.

– Update and test your plan at least annually.

– Communicate and meet with key stakeholders (banks, trading partners, vendors) of your company

annually to discuss critical components of your plan that would require their participation.

– Include contact information (for employees, customers, vendors, etc.) within the plan.

Alternative operational locations.

Determine which alternatives are available:

– A satellite or branch office of your business.

– The office of a business partner or even an employee.

– Home or hotel.

Backup site.

Equip your backup operations site with critical equipment, data files and supplies:

– Power generators.

– Computers and software.

– Critical computer data files (payroll, accounts payable and receivable, customer orders, inventory).

– Phones/radios/TVs.

– Equipment and spare parts.

– Vehicles, boats and spare parts.

– Digital cameras.

– Common supplies.

– Supplies unique to your business (order forms, contracts, etc.).

– Basic first aid/sanitary supplies, potable water and food.

Safeguard your property.

Is your property prepared to survive a hurricane or other disaster:

– Your building?

– Your equipment?

– Your computer systems?

– Your company vehicles?

– Your company records?

– Other company assets?

Contact information.

Do you have current and multiple contact information (e.g., home and cell phone numbers,

personal email addresses) for:

– Employees?

– Key customers?

– Important vendors, suppliers, business partners?

– Insurance companies?

– Is contact information accessible electronically for fast access by all employees?

Communications.

Do you have access to multiple and reliable methods of communicating with your employees:

– Satellite phones?

– BlackBerryTM?

– Internet?

– Email?

– Emergency toll-free hotline?

– Cell phones?

– Pagers?

– Two-way radios?

– Web site?

Employee preparation.

Make sure your employees know:

– Company emergency plan.

– Where they should relocate to work.

– How to use and have access to reliable methods of communication, such as satellite/cell phones, email,

voice mail, Internet, text messages, BlackBerryTM, PDAs.

– Their user IDs and passwords for critical company systems.

– How to perform multiple job functions to help ensure adequate support coverage during a disaster.

– How they will be notified to return to work.

– Benefits of direct deposit of payroll and subscribe to direct deposit.

– Emergency company housing options available for them and their family.

Customer preparation.

Make sure your key customers know:

– Your emergency contact information for sales and service support (publish on your Web site).

– Your backup business or store locations (publish on your Web site).

– What to expect from your company in the event of a prolonged disaster displacement.

– Alternate methods for placing orders.

– Alternate methods for sending invoice payments in the event of mail disruption.

Evacuation order.

When a mandatory evacuation is issued, be prepared to grab and leave with critical office

records and equipment:

– Company disaster-recovery plan and checklist.

– Insurance policies and company contracts.

– Company checks, plus a list of all bank accounts, credit cards, ATM cards.

– Employee payroll and contact information.

– Desktop/laptop computers.

– Customer records, including orders in progress.

– Photographs/digital images of your business property.

– Post disaster contact info inside your business to alert emergency workers how to reach you.

– Secure your building and property. 2 of 3

 

Cash management.

Be prepared to meet emergency cash-flow needs:

– Fund bank accounts and keep enough cash on hand to handle immediate needs.

– Take your checkbook and credit cards in the event of an evacuation.

– Release direct deposit of payroll, if necessary.

– Use Internet banking services to monitor account activity, manage cash flow, initiate wires, pay bills.

– Issue commercial credit cards to essential personnel to cover emergency business expenses.

– Reduce dependency on paper checks and postal service to send and receive payments (consider using

direct-deposit/direct-debit electronic payments and remote deposit banking services).

– Contact your branch for any special coin/currency needs, if a threat is imminent.

– Make night depository drops as early as possible, if a threat is imminent.

– Be prepared to safeguard your own deposits in the event you are unable to reach a branch that can

process your transactions (consider using remote deposit banking services).

Post-disaster recovery procedures.

– Consider how your post-disaster business may differ from today.

– Plan whom you will want to contact and when.

– Assign specific tasks to responsible employees.

– Track progress and effectiveness.

– Document lessons learned and best practices.

—-
For more business continuity planning tips, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Web site at

www.ready.gov/business.

To access a copy of this business disaster planning checklist, go to

www.capitalonebank.com/disasterplanning.

Products and services offered by Capital One, N.A., Member FDIC.
©2010 Capital One. Capital One is a federally-
registered service mark. All rights reserved.

Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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