West Virginia Department of Commerce Business Disaster Recovery

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Business Disaster Recovery

We think of a business crisis as fire, flood or hurricane; sometimes it’s simply having your computer systems knocked out for a period of time that can cause a significant loss in sales or a key employee that can suddenly no longer work and no one else knows his or her job.

Plan on It
So plan for the unplanned and test your plan. In this age of mobile technology, could your business be run from a backup location? Does more than one person know how to do a job or have permission to do important business functions like sign checks, make orders for supplies and pay employees?

Here’s just a few tips to consider:
  • Make duplicates of important communications materials. Keep copies of certain important materials at home: checks for business account, company letterhead, envelopes, important phone numbers and passwords.
  • Keep copies of important records in a remote location. Even though you keep important documents in a safe-deposit box, the bank, too, can be damaged by a disaster. “This type of record loss happens more frequently than people think, and reconstruction is a major inconvenience,” explains Connie Bracher, disaster chair for the California Society of Enrolled Agents and a tax preparer at Acorn Bookkeeping & Tax Service in Crestline, California. “Important documents should be copied and stored in another part of the country with a brother or sister, or in a safe-deposit box in another state.”
  • Run through a test drill of your disaster plan. As the poet Robert Burns wrote, “the best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry”. Don’t plan on using a communication system (handheld radios) to contact employees only to find they do not have the range necessary.
  • Prepare multiple contingency plans. If your primary plan depends on other locations or people being available during your disaster and they are also struck, you need to quickly come up with a Plan B.
  • Don’t skimp on insurance. Small companies tend to skimp on insurance coverage, especially when it comes to things like business income interruption insurance. If they do get insurance, they get the least amount they can. It is very cheap to buy additional coverage, but is extremely expensive to pay for ongoing expenses out of your pocket. Determine the kinds of risks you can do something about prepare for them as best you can.

Dare to Prepare
You’re ready to handle a disaster and save your business if you can answer yes to the following questions:
  • Have you identified the impact an outage would have on employees, customers and business interfaces?
  • Have you determined how long your company can afford to be inoperable before your business is critically affected should one or more of your services or operations experience disruption?
  • Have you developed, documented and tested a comprehensive business continuity plan for facilities, employees, processes, systems, data and networks that address recovery and restoration and internal communications, with other offices and customers?
  • Have you determined how your business will operate should key business partners and vendors be affected by a disruption or disaster?
The preceding information has been provided by Sheree R Curry / Curry Media Services

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has a website, www.ready.gov/business, that gets your business “ready” to face possible hazards, with complete information on preparing your emergency plan, testing and tweaking it, and keeping the plan updated.

The US Small Business Administration, USSBA, also has an informative website, www.sba.gov/prepare, with emergency preparedness information for natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes to cyber security and workplace safety information.

Disaster Preparedness Checklists

West Virginia small business owners may call the Small Business Ask Me Line toll-free at 888-982-7232 for information or assistance.

Current Disaster Resource Information
West Virginia Severe Storms and Straight-Line Winds (DR-4071)
Federal disaster declaration granted in July to help West Virginians recover from the June 29th storm. Individuals and businesses in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Greenbrier, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Pocahontas, Roane, Tyler, Webster Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas, Raleigh and Wood counties are now eligible for individual assistance from FEMA. Need assistance? Call 1-800-621-FEMA or visiting www.FEMA.gov. The deadline: November 19, 2012.