In business, as in life, things sometimes happen unexpectedly – things that are beyond your control, and that put your business in danger. Also known as a business continuity plan, a disaster recovery plan is there to give you a framework for action in the event of something catastrophic befalling your business.
Making a plan like this can be tricky as a small business, as your resources are limited, and it’s probably difficult to find the time to make a plan for something that seems so unlikely. But whether it’s a flood or fire destroying your premises, a major data protection breach or anything else that hugely disrupts your business, having an emergency plan in place could mean the difference between keeping your business going and having to call it a day.
What should you put in your disaster recovery plan?
The idea of a disaster recovery plan is that you’ve already thought about all the possible eventualities and have contingencies in place for if they happen. This means that should the worst happen, you’re ready to spring into action straightaway, saving valuable time and minimising the impact on your business.
Start your plan with a summary of what you’ll be covering in it. Then brainstorm a list of situations that would be catastrophic to your business, and write them into your plan. For each of these scenarios, your plan should include:
- An inventory – a list of your equipment, noting which items your business can’t operate without.
- Job roles – a breakdown of all job roles in your company, again noting which ones you can’t operate without, and which ones would need to be relocated should your premises be disrupted.
- Who to contact – who will you call first in the event of an emergency? This might include people within your business as well as outside parties, such as suppliers, customers, insurers and employees. Details may differ depending on the kind of emergency.
- Scenario-specific procedures – this should cover the procedures you’ll follow in the event of each emergency you’re including in your plan, including aspects such as where you’ll operate from if your premises is destroyed, what you’ll do if your van is written off, or how you’ll get your IT systems back up and running if they’re hacked.
- Business continuity insurance details – details of who your insurance is held with, their claims hotline and your policy number.
It’s worth reviewing your plan periodically to check that it’s still up-to-date, as things like contact details may change from time to time.
If you’ve not yet taken out business continuity insurance, it’s worth getting cover in place. It’s there to keep your business afloat when disaster strikes, and for small businesses, it’s a way of protecting your livelihood. You can insure for loss of revenue, as well as for the expenses you’ll have to cover during a period of disruption (such as renting alternative premises). If you’d like to talk to us about business interruption insurance, simply contact one of our business insurance experts today.