It has never been so vital to have a business continuity plan with the various visits of natural disasters in the past few years, from Hurricane Maria that swept Puerto Rico to Hurricane Florence leaving hundreds of businesses immobile.
As a provider of disaster restoration services who has partnered with numerous general disaster relief contractors, we believe that prevention and preparation play a critical role in a company’s post-disaster business recovery plan.
1. WHAT IS DRBC - DISASTER RECOVERY AND BUSINESS CONTINUITY?
You might be surprised to find out that technically disaster is not a real term. What we call disasters are actually “hazards” and they are only considered disasters when they cause damages.
DRBC or Disaster Risk Management (DRM) is the overarching term, meaning the implementation of your “policy objective of anticipating and reducing risk (Preventionweb, 2015).”
When a business was hit by a natural disaster, a forced shutdown may occur due to the structural damage the disaster caused, which then leads to breakage in business continuity. For example, when a business had a failed Internet server, its employees may not be able to work from the office that day.
In order to minimize financial and physical loss during and after a disaster, DRBC has become the key topic among business owners.
2. BUSINESS CONTINUITY IS DIFFERENT THAN DISASTER RECOVERY
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS BUSINESS CONTINUITY?
According to the official definition, the term stands for “the capability of the organization to continue the delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident (ISO 22301: 2012).” It is also the measurement of business resiliency, meaning how well your business is able to move on facing unwanted situations.
Here’s an example:
Say a warehouse caught on fire. As a result, the items stored within would be destroyed. Until the owner of these goods replaced the destroyed inventory, this specific portion of the product or service of this business remained discontinued or undeliverable.
WHAT WAS THE NEXT THING THAT HAPPENED?
Within a week, you were able to rent a temporary storage unit and transfer merchandise from another warehouse. The moment these items began their redelivery, your business continuity is restored. On the other hand, the fire damage restoration is not complete until your burnt warehouse is taken care of, say, another month.
Let’s do some math here:
Your business downtime at this location would be 30 days when the warehouse was restored. But your service interruption rate was only 7 days because you found a backup solution quickly. This leads to disaster risk management.
3. DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT IS THE TABLE-TURNER
While impacts from a technological or digital hazard such as IT malfunction can be prevented and reduced more easily through regular backups, system updates, and installation safety programs, natural hazards are almost always unpredictable, such as fire and water damage.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The answer is simple: an effective disaster risk management plan is the center of business resiliency.
Each industry is affected by natural hazards differently, but the impact could be categorized into the following items: architectural damage, transportation blockage, damage to physical goods, and damage to service. If an earthquake shuts down the roads around your business location. It also damages your business building.
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
If you are prepared, you may have trained some of your workers to work from home so part of the business is still running. Or perhaps you’ve made company files accessible from outside of the office.
A disaster management plan also includes disaster risk reduction. Good housekeeping, regular inspections of physical and digital assets and systems, and updated safety training are all effective ways to prevent hazards caused by carelessness or human negligence.
4. GET TO KNOW YOUR LOCAL RESOURCES
When talking about DRBC, we are talking about minimizing loss and maximizing recovery. The sooner you receive help from your disaster restoration service providers, the sooner your recovery begins.
HOW COULD WE ACHIEVE THIS GOAL?
A simple way to ensure efficient recovery is by utilizing local resources. Because local fire or water damage recovery teams offer the quickest response, within as short as 24 hours from your initial phone call. Most disaster recovery service providers have various local offices throughout the nation, making it easier for business owners to seek help.
Another type of local resource you could turn to for help is business organizations or nonprofit organizations. These resources are extraordinarily beneficial when you are a small business that lacks the corporal structure to bring you right back on track after a disaster.
Local community engagement is also very important after a disaster. In this day and age, a disaster involves more than the victims themselves. When fire devours a warehouse or a building, it often affects the nearby traffic and businesses as well. How you responded to the disaster and how you communicated the situation with other local sources can have a strong impact.
Think about the people most directly affected by the disruption of your company - your employees.
5. ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES CONFIDENT?
According to the FM Global Business Risk Pulse Check published in 2012, 75% of the participants felt that their employer was not well-prepared for a natural disaster, 72% would not feel totally safe in their workplace during a natural hazard, and 71% were not fully confident about their employer’s business resiliency plan.
Believe it or not, having employees with low confidence could damage your disaster recovery performance. Disaster management is a collective effort. It means more than the employer bringing businesses back on track during a tough time.
Naturally, if your staff lacks trust in your business, they may display reduced motivation during the recovery process, causing a negative influence on your business continuity.
HOW CAN YOU FIX THIS?
Information and education is always the best way. A business owner can increase his or her employee confidence through updated training regarding safety protocols, annual inspections, and other disaster management methods.
Is your business disaster-ready? Are you prepared for things that might get thrown in your way? Click on the link below to download our printable Disaster Management Plan Checklist and see if your business is well-prepared!