Chartered Accountant & Business Consultant - Meredith Harington
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Continuity Planning

On 11 March 2011 Japan was rocked by its worst earthquake in recorded history and they now face their biggest crisis since the second world war. With all the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami it was quite something to see pictures in the media showing the locals as patient, calm and collected. This was in complete contrast to the looting and mass hysteria that occurred with the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010.   Part of the difference in reaction between the Haitians and the Japanese is cultural but the other difference is that the Japanese participate in preparedness exercises on a regular basis. Apparently it is not uncommon for Japanese communities to participate in earthquake drills up to once a week.

 

It all comes down to planning and preparedness.


When last did you critically review your business and put plans in place to mitigate your risks?

If the answer was:   you haven't, ever, or, 10 years ago, or, why – what is the point – then you need to keep reading. 


Some risks to consider:
 

 

-  Flood
-  Fire
-  Bomb Threat
-  Cable Theft / Power Outage
-  Hold-Up / Hijack
-  Loss of Data
-  Reputational Damage
-  Pandemic
-  Loss of Stock
-  Burglary, particularly theft of computer hardware
-  Misappropriation of Funds
-  Personal Risk
-  Litigation
-  Professional Risk
-  Electricity Outages
-  Loss of Bandwidth

 

 

While reading these risks if you thought:  "We're a bit exposed there" or "What would we do if that happened" then you should seriously be thinking about your Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

 

A BCP should have a strategy. This strategy should include some or all of the following: 

  • Recovery objectives - these can be time frames (24 hours) or specific objectives (last night's backup)
  • A clear crisis management team - your staff must know who to follow or contact
  • A clear evacuation procedure
  • A list of emergency phone numbers and contacts for resumption or repair of services and equipment
  • What staff should do when "nothing is really happening" - the period straight after the disaster
  • What needs to happen to resume operations
  • A list of hardware and software requirements
  • A list of office inventory/stock
  • A list of vital records such as contracts
  • A list of staff, client and supplier details
  • Insurance information and contacts
  • A process for communication with staff and clients
  • What types of disaster you consider important enough to mitigate against and what your recovery plan is
  • Reporting - what can you do next time to avoid/reduce the impact of the disaster.

 

Also give some thought to alternative sites to work from, staff meetings for updates, communication with your clients, who holds your Power of Attorney and who will run your business if you are not there.

Speak to us if you wish to protect the business assets you have so carefully nurtured.


Extract from a Meredith Harington Article
May 2011

 

 

 
 
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