Disaster Recovery Checklist for Businesses

January 19th, 2023
Disaster Recovery Checklist for Businesses

If a natural disaster were to strike, would your company be ready? Has your management team prepared the company to continue operating in the event of a disaster?

With the number and severity of natural disasters increasing, businesses need to have plans in place for a quick recovery for the sake of their investors, customers, employees, and vendors.

Here are some general guidelines for ensuring a small business's survival in the event of a disaster:

  • Make a written disaster recovery and preparation plan. This document should be kept in hard copy in your office and emailed to all employees so that they can access it even if your offices are closed.
  • Inventory first-aid kits and other emergency supplies on-site.
  • Offsite backup data security. What happens if your office's servers are destroyed in a flood or fire? If your company is at risk, you should plan ahead of time by regularly backing up your files at a remote location or in the cloud.
  • Choose a different location for the meeting. Your employees should know where to report for work if your office is suddenly destroyed or inaccessible. Managers should keep a phone number list. You should look into alternate locations in case you need to set up new office or warehouse space quickly.
  • Purchase a generator. Don't expect to get one if you wait until disaster strikes. There will be a supply shortage. Check that the generator has enough power to power your critical equipment, which could range from computers and printers to refrigerators.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities. Who will come to the office before a major storm to install storm shutters? Who is available to fill and place sandbags? When and who can clean up if there is severe damage?
    Remember that some of your employees may be preoccupied with preparing their own homes and ensuring the safety of their families. Others may be National Guard members who have been called up for disaster response. Take this possibility into consideration.
  • Examine your insurance policy. Examine all of your policies for the potential hazards they cover, as well as your policy limits, to ensure they are adequate for your needs. Check for flood coverage again. Most standard insurance policies do not cover flooding.
  • Check the coverage for key-person life insurance and disability insurance. The same disaster that disrupts your business could disable or kill key personnel, causing significant disruption to the rest of the business.
  • Consider purchasing business interruption insurance. These policies pay out cash to keep a business running in the event of a temporary closure. Business interruption insurance can assist you in meeting payroll and even avoiding bankruptcy, as well as in retaining valued employees while your business is closed.
  • Make a public relations strategy. Designate a company spokesperson. Send your recovery story to the local media. Don't give the impression that your company has closed, especially if you need to relocate.
  • Increase the variety of your phone systems. Hurricanes and other natural disasters may disrupt Verizon phone service but not AT&T service, and vice versa. It may take some time before workers are able to repair towers or reroute signals. By ensuring that each of your employees has a different mobile provider, you can spread the risk and ensure that your ability to communicate via cell phone is not wiped out by the loss of a single cell tower.
  • If a business is unable to operate following a disaster, it may require emergency funds. The Small Business Administration can make low-interest loans to qualified small businesses to help them survive and recover from a disaster.
  • Make copies of your tax returns and other important documents. Keep them somewhere online. Offsite, keep hard copies in a fireproof safe or deposit box. Keep it inland if you live on the coast. Keep it uphill if you live in a flood plain. Identify your risks and avoid exposing your valuable assets and documents to the same risk in two different locations.