Tip #5 Share Small Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan Details with Employees, Associates and Competitors.
Talk to community business leaders at trade association meetings to learn more about their disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Suggest that your association or chamber of commerce provide disaster recovery planning seminars for small businesses.
In addition to sharing information, discuss sharing resources too. Your exchange might be small (communicating updates through voicemail) or large (an exchange of equipment or space). You can find sample disaster recovery exchange agreements and contracts online.
The Jefferson Parish Employees Federal Credit Union used a shared branching Business Continuity Plan to share resources and resumed business within days of Katrina.
"Several credit unions adopted us during Katrina," says Vicki O'Brien, CEO of Jefferson Parish Employees Federal Credit Union (Jefferson, La.). "We have strong relationships with third-party vendors and credit unions through association memberships. When Katrina hit, credit unions from all over the country contacted us offering assistance."
If you use third-party vendors, review their disaster recovery plan and attach them to your small business continuity plan. Provide copies of your disaster recovery plan to outside vendors as necessary. Trade associations also recommend alternate site reviews (if applicable) as part of your annual small business continuity plan review process.
- You can find small business continuity plan resources on the Internet and through your trade association.
- Do you need professional help? Consider outsourcing. Disaster recovery companies have proven, tested software based upon experiences that include 9/11, Katrina and other disasters. In addition to building traditional disaster recovery plans, these companies work closely with clients to create practical small business continuity plans.
Some of the best small business disaster recovery plans go up in smoke during a disaster because they're outdated.
- Review, update and test your disaster recovery plan annually or as needed.
- Use the time set aside for business continuity plan updates to ensure that employees understand the plan's directives.
- Store copies of your disaster recovery plan offsite to ensure safekeeping.
Finally, consider an independent audit of your small business disaster recovery plan, to review, test and ensure the accuracy of it each year.
Reprinted from an article I wrote for Credit Union Business magazine in August, 2006.
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