The Elements

By Andrea Schlapia   |   July 16, 2013

Seconds Away From Disaster… Without A Continuity Plan? Part III

Categories: Blog, Strategic Planning

 

Photo courtesy ©Wavebreak/Getty Images/Thinkstock

Photo courtesy ©Wavebreak/Getty Images/Thinkstock

Disasters are inevitable and in the case of a disaster, failing to plan may be planning to fail.

Continuity planning is displaced because most people believe disaster will never happen to them. Review part I in our series, Seconds Away From Disaster…Without A Continuity Plan, to uncover the critical first steps to create your continuity plan. In part II we reviewed FEMA recommendations and how to prepare your clients and team. You can review part II here.

Technology Recovery needs to be the central part in any continuity plan as it plays an increasingly important role in business stability. Because technology includes many components, recovery strategies need to be developed so technology can be restored in a timely manner to meet the needs of your clients. Keep your business operating by implementing manual workarounds while technology is being restored.

Include the following guidelines in your continuity plan to prepare for the unexpected:

  • Back Up Data

Critical to the restoration process is the ability to have your data available. Back up and store your data offsite to ensure you have access to vital records. This includes both digital and hard copy records. Many firms have implemented a paperless system through the use of cloud based storage systems. Don’t forget about data that is not stored electronically.

  •  Client Contact

Your physical location may be in ruins and nonoperational. Develop a plan to keep your clients informed throughout the restoration process. Client contact information needs to be available even if every computer is destroyed.

  • Telecommunications

Your telephone system is a very important part before, during and after a disaster. Research the features on your existing system to ensure you have the ability to access your system from a web browser. This will enable you to record important updates to keep your clients and community informed about your restoration progress.

  •  Service Agreements

Determine your obligations by analyzing your service agreements. Review leases and supplier contracts. In the event you need to relocate will your current vendor have the ability to meet your needs? It is important to determine which needs can be met through an existing vendor and to implement plan B to request services of a new vendor when existing vendors cannot fullfil your needs. Best practice tip; ask vendors for a copy of their continuity plan.

Putting Your Plan Into Action – Do I Really Need To Test It? Many firms ask if it is necessary to test a continuity plan. The answer is a big YES!

One of the largest gaps in continuity planning is failure to test your plan. Securing a comprehensive, multi-dimensional and ongoing BCP (Business Continuity Plan) testing program is the only way to achieve the level of confidence you need.

Business continuity plans move from a written document to an actionable plan by incorporating the following steps:

 

  • Develop testing exercises
  • Thoroughly review your BCP with all employees (you may want to plan for an orientation workshop)
  • Discuss employee readiness to ensure each employee is aware of their individual responsibilities
  • Train team members for individual tasks if needed
  • Conduct testing and document test results
  • Update your BCP to incorporate noted changes from your testing and exercises

While exercises are time and resource consuming, they are the best method for validating your plan.

It is important for your disaster recovery plan to reflect current information. Technology, systems and operations change over time, therefore your BCP needs to be updated on a regular basis.  Your assigned disaster recovery team should audit the BCP quarterly to identify gaps and make required updates. Firm management should be responsible to notify the Disaster Recovery Team of changes to present components in your firm to ensure your written plan is updated accordingly.

Drafting a continuity plan is a slow, methodical process. Use any of the resources we have provided or contact our office for further assistance.

Ready.gov
Federal Emergency Management Agency 
Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry

The American Red Cross
The Small Business Administration 
Open for Business
Emergency Preparedness & Business Continuity’s free download
RiskINFO’s Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery site
Institute for Business & Home Safety

Question:    Does your firm have a continuity plan? Have you ever had to use it?

Let us know?   We want to know!  (leave a comment here)


Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital

Andrea Schlapia, RCC™, HCS, sHRBP, is the Founder and CEO of Ironstone, which represents the culmination of her 20+ year career within the financial services industry. Her experience began as a financial advisor evolving into a consultant coach for advisors entering the field. This ignited her passion to support others through learning and development of best practices in order to achieve substantial results. To this end, she followed her desire into positions of senior-level practice management specialists for Dreyfus, Prudential, and DWS Investments prior to the realization of Ironstone.  Andrea’s focus is on practice management strategies to enhance and improve both business and personal life.

Andrea identifies 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Through coaching sessions and speaking engagements, she captivates her audience with interactive, high-energy presentations which are built with “how-to” strategies resulting in real-world implementation for significant impact. Andrea has been featured in multiple publications and audio broadcasts as a specialist and distinguished spokeswoman in the financial industry.

Learn more...

Leave us a comment, get our blog posts delivered by email, or email the Ironstone Team.

We would love to hear from you!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contributors

Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital
Connie Deianni
Mentoring and Employee Engagement
Guest Blogger
Practice Management
Dr. Heidi Maston
Organizational and Educational Leadership
Joe Kuhns
Strategic Partner
Judith Bowman
Business Protocol
Laura Garfield
Idea Decanter Co-Founder
Marsha Schechtman
Strategic Partner
Mighty 8th Media
Strategic Partner
Nicole Anglace
Special Projects
Ruthann P. Lacey, P.C.
Elder and Special Needs Law
 Scott D. Calhoun
Legal Counsel
Sharon Gottula
Idea Decanter Co-Founder
TailorMade
Strategic Partner
Ironstone
Practice Management
close

Contact

Thanks for your inquiry!

We will be contacting you shortly. In the meantime please feel free to connect with us on social media and explore our blog posts.

Ironstone understands the importance of protecting your privacy. We will not sell, rent or give your name or address to anyone.

Latest Blog Article

How Advisors Can Embrace the Traits of Leadership

Being a leader comes in many shapes, sizes, and qualities. A good leader is not able to turn on and off their leadership ability or character traits at will. Instead, leadership is a habit built upon our core foundational character traits that have been pressed upon us, in us and around us. We’re not talking […]

Read More>