Prepare for catastrophe in five steps

March 16, 2011

It might not be a pleasant task but preparing for a "worst-case scenario" could make a critical difference in the way your business is able to cope with and successfully get through a catastrophic event. Here is a list of some immediate steps a company should take:

Emergency response: Ensure the safety of your employees by developing a building evacuation plan. Have employees assemble in specific areas so missing persons can be quickly identified and reported to emergency personnel.

Crisis management and communications: Before an emergency strikes, develop an agreed-upon communications strategy with a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. Decisions need to be made about who will be addressing whom: emergency personnel, media, employees.

Awareness and training: Employees need to be made aware that the company has a formal disaster preparedness plan in place; otherwise, some of them may try to take over a situation for which they are not technically responsible. Provide regular training to designated emergency response people.

Technology recovery: Technology recovery plans need to be developed for IT infrastructure restoration and recovery so that a company can bring its critical functions online as soon as possible, minimizing the impact on its clients, employees, partners, facilities and community.

Solicit executive buy-in: A project has a beginning and an end, but in order to be successful, a business continuity management program must live dynamically within a corporation and become part of its culture.

Source: Alex Fullick, founder and managing director of Stone Road Inc.

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