Got Business Plans For Hurricane Season 2006?

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Prepare your gulf coast business for hurricane season.

“No, it’s not some new Tropical Bipolar Disorder, but If you have a business located along the Gulf of Mexico, having a good plan and an alternative work environment can eliminate some of the anxiety for business owners and employees, when a tropical depression enters the Gulf”, according to James Moak, CEO of Gulf South Technology Solutions (GSTS). After nearly 20 years of providing network consulting, as an engineer, Moak decided to open his own firm in 2005, just six months before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. “I think it was a wake-up call for everyone; I know it was for me”, said Moak.

"After Katrina, we were inundated with calls. People needed a temporary work environment as much as they needed help in getting their information systems back up and running. We could only provide limited space last year, but we are prepared to help businesses this year. We have 100 dedicated workstations/cubicles setup in an environmentally secure data center for our customers."

"I have always advocated a minimum 10-Step Disaster Plan for our clients, but getting past step five is a critical hurdle for many companies. Most companies are willing to scope the project, but when it comes time for budgeting and executing the plan, there’s some overwhelming desire to procrastinate. I have always said, businesses don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan. Hopefully, going forward, businesses will be better prepared to budget for the necessary steps to eliminate or at least reduce the need for total business closure, for the sake of their employees, families, and their customers, which all depend on them”, said Moak.

If you have not covered Steps 6 thru 10, are you leaving your business exposed?

Phase I – Information Gathering

1.Organize the Project

Who will be running the project? When does it need to be done? What tasks are involved? What are the objectives and scope of the plan?

2.Conduct Business Impact Analysis

What are the most critical functions or systems in your business/unit? What would be the impact if they were severely interrupted? How long can you manually operate accounting, customer service, sales, etc, if your system is down?

3.Conduct Risk Assessment

Where is the critical system or function performed? What is the probability of this area being severely interrupted?

4.Develop Recovery Strategy

How will you operate during a severe disruption to insure all critical functions can be performed? How will you get your business/unit back up and running?

5.Review Onsite and Offsite Backup / Recovery Procedures

Are you backing up critical information and systems? Where are the backups located? Will they be affected if a fire or flood occurs in your building?

6.Select Alternate Facility

Do you have a location to perform work in the event your facility is destroyed?

Phase II – Writing and Testing the Plan

7.Develop Recovery Plan

Documentation of all components and steps from recognizing a disaster, to performing during recovery, to restoration are compiled.

8.Test the Plan

Does the plan work? Are all contact numbers listed and critical areas detailed?

Phase III – Maintaining and Auditing the Plan (Ongoing)

9.Maintain the Plan

When changes occur in the work force, system, equipment, or process the plan needs to be updated to reflect these changes.

10.Perform Periodic Audit

Have someone outside of your unit review and assess your plan.

A company should budget for at least one dedicated workstation/cubicle for every 100 employees, in an alternate facility that is safe, secure, and available to your business 24x7x365. It’s the same as buying insurance. "You hope you never have to use it, but when you do, you know you have some level of security”, according to Moak.

Gulf South Technology Solutions is a Louisiana company, based in Baton Rouge. GSTS offers a free evaluation for qualified businesses, headquartered within 100 miles of the Gulf Coast from Tallahassee to Houston.

For More information go to http://www.GulfSouthTech.com or contact James Moak at 866.909.4787.

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