Shreveport, LA (PRWEB) May 02, 2013
Many small and medium-sized businesses aren't just flirting with disaster, they're inviting it when they fail to plan for catastrophic natural events, says On Hold Company in a recent blog post. When Hurricane Sandy devastated many businesses and communities along the East Coast, barely a quarter of businesses had backed up critical data or prepared their structures to withstand the storm. Without up-to-date disaster and business continuity plans, a business may find it difficult to recover quickly and maintain relationships with suppliers and customers.
A disaster plan is worthless if nobody has read it, Bryant Wilson, CEO of On Hold Company observes. "Many businesses treat their disaster plans like casual readers treat a copy of War and Peace: they like having it on the shelf, but aren't interested in reading it." A company can't adopt a "write it and forget it" attitude, he continues, because the business models and tools they rely on change so rapidly.
For example, an outdated disaster plan may not address backup and recovery plans for key functions such as Web site backup and recovery, social media passwords and tools, databases, and other technologies. Wilson advises business owners to "blow the dust off" their disaster plans notebooks and look at them with a critical eye. "Ask yourself these three questions. When was the last time you reviewed it, as a management team or with the entire staff? Is it still relevant? Is it customized to your particular location?"
If a business owner doesn't like the answers, it's time to revise the plan - immediately. At a minimum, the plan should include basic precautions to protect employees and customers. Train all staff to move to safe places during an emergency and equip on-site shelters with emergency supplies like flashlights, blankets, food, and water. Assign someone to maintain the shelter area and inspect it regularly. Arrange for backup power such as a generator and train staff to operate it. Have an evacuation plan.
Plan for disaster recovery as well. Keep backup copies of Web sites, databases, and other critical documents in a safe place, preferably off-site. Create contingency plans for communication in the event that phone and Internet service is lost. Make sure employees have the information they need to communicate with each other, suppliers, and customers during the recovery period.
Wilson stresses the importance of communication. "After a disaster, this is one of the most difficult tasks, but it's also the most important – particularly for a local business. It's critical to have a team member assigned to this task and equipped with the needed tools." Be prepared to provide updates on the situation through all available communication channels: the Web site, social media, and on hold messages.
Many customers, vendors and partners will call to check the status of a business after a disaster, Wilson explains. "If things are not business as usual, don’t let your on-hold messages suggest otherwise. Through the years, On Hold Company has worked with clients to provide crisis communications on-hold to keep callers updated and informed in during emergency situations.
A disaster recovery plan helps a business protect its physical plant, vital records, and future profits. But the most important benefit, Wilson says, is that it protects a company's more important asset: people. "A good disaster plan gives your employees the tools and training to keep their heads during a crisis and protect lives."
Readers can follow the On Hold Company blog at http://www.onholdcompany.com/blog.
About On Hold Company
On Hold Company (http://www.onholdcompany.com) is a leading provider of custom telephone on-hold music and messages. The company has been in business since 1994 and provides on-hold marketing for more than 13,000 clients across North America. On Hold Company also provides digital signage solutions, telephone voice prompts and overhead music and messaging services.