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Flooding in New Orleans and the Importance of Business Continuity Planning

The difference between having a disaster plan in place and not having one could be your business itself. And, the recent flooding in New Orleans is just one more example of why having solid disaster recovery and business continuity planning is place is a must – not optional – for anyone doing computer-networked business today.

Flooding in New Orleans

Major flooding in the US has devastated businesses in the digital age with costly results.  Those businesses that had a disaster recovery plan or DR plan, and a comprehensive business continuity plan in place bounced back much faster than those that did not.

The cost of recovery for these small businesses and medium and large enterprises was also much lower.  Is your business ready for disasters of all types?  In order to reach a place of optimum readiness, you need a DR plan in place to ensure that your business survival and recovery is fast and seamless.

Some things your business continuity plan should cover are:

  • Access to Disaster Recovery (DR) plans
  • Alerting key DR plan participants
  • Safety – Ensuring safe evacuation or shelter
  • Alternate business/work site
  • All office systems – phone, computers, connectivity etc.
  • Management decision makers – who and how
  • Communications – internal and external
  • Insurance, suppliers, customers – Do you have staff assigned to speak to each group?

Creating a Winning Business Continuity Plan

It takes dedicated, qualified business IT specialists to help you create a winning business continuity plan (BC plan). If your organization doesn’t already have a BC plan in place, you’ll want to put it at the top of your to-do list. If you feel you have a substandard BC plan, you’ll also want to mark it for reevaluation and possible overhaul.

Here are the six main steps in creating a solid BC plan:

  1. Identify the scope of the plan.
  2. Identify your key business areas
  3. Identify critical functions
  4. Identify discrepancies between various business areas and functions.
  5. Determine acceptable downtime for each critical function.
  6. Create a master BC plan to maintain operations through any crisis.

You also need to have a business continuity checklist that includes equipment and supplies, the location of all data backup sites, where the BC plan will be kept accessible, and who should guard it. You’ll also want to keep contact info for emergency responders, key personnel, and backup site service providers.

Remember, also, that your disaster recovery plan is an integral part of the larger business continuity plan, so you will want to make sure your IT department has planned accordingly for the two.

Testing Your BC Plan

After you’ve drafted your BC plan, it must be rigorously tested so you’ll know it’ll be effective in case of disaster. Generally, most BC plan testing consists of:

  • Table-top or conference room exercises – Team members go over a physical draft of the plan at a conference table and identify and repair any flaws in the plan.
  • Structured walk-through – Each team member individually goes over his or her part of the BC plan in detail, IDing any faults and correcting any weaknesses.
  • Comprehensive disaster simulation testing – Performed annually, an environment is created that simulates an actual disaster which includes all equipment, supplies, and personnel that will play a part in the plan. The purpose of this step is to find out if your critical business functions can be carried out successfully in the event of an actual disaster.

Floods are Just One of Many Disasters to Plan For

It isn’t news that any Louisiana business owner wants (or needs) to hear, but the recent flooding is only one example of a disaster that can befall your livelihood at any time – sometimes with little or no warning.

New Orleans Louisiana business owners and residents really don’t need reminding of how many disasters can adversely affect their homes and businesses. They are some of the most disaster-ready inhabitants of the United States, but even so, you still have to have hard and practiced disaster and BC planning established if you are to ride out the next storm unscathed as a business owner.

Statistics on Small Business Disaster Recovery

  • 75 percent of small businesses don’t have emergency operating plans.
  • An estimated 18,000 business across Louisiana were forced to shut down after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
  • 40 to 60 percent of businesses never return to doing business after a major disaster.

(Source: Urban League of Louisiana)

You need New Orleans IT experts who understand how to plan for disaster and keep your critical systems functioning through any catastrophe, power outage, fire, flood, storm, hurricane, tornado, other contingency.

You need BIOS Technologies to get you the business continuity plan in New Orleans you and your business truly deserve!

Let Our New Orleans IT consultants help you plan for the worst.

BIOS Technologies consists of IT consultants who are the best, brightest, and most able IT support specialists in New Orleans. Call us now at (504) 849-0570 or email us at info@biositgroup.com to learn how our experts can get you on your way to having enterprise-level business continuity planning in place – even as a small business!

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