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Business Insights for Women
PNC INSIGHTS Magazine Spring/Summer 2014 Issue
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Planning ahead may help your business survive tornadoes, hurricanes and other large-scale disruptions.

As we've seen all too frequently in recent days, natural and man-made disasters can grind business to a standstill. However, planning for these eventualities can sometimes prevent a complete business loss. Experts suggest that even small businesses should operate proactively, replacing "disaster recovery" thinking with a "business continuity" approach. Here are a few basics to keep in mind while preparing for events you hope never happen:

Employee Safety

Make sure your employees know what to do in an emergency. Appoint a safety coordinator, develop evacuation plans and conduct drills that mimic the hazards you may face, from fire to severe weather. Employees should also know what to do first to respond to incidents such as onsite injuries, physical threats and computer data loss.

Communication

Create a communication plan to alert employees, suppliers and customers about emergency situations if telecommunication systems are disrupted. Maintain up-to-date and complete contact information for all of these groups. For employees, develop phone trees, implement policies and processes to preserve privacy, and then share contact information with multiple staff.

Supply and Production Disruption

If your business depends on inventory or expertise from supplier partners (consider the impact that the Japanese earthquake has had on technology companies), establish contingency plans in case your vendors suffer a catastrophic stoppage. Similarly, your business continuity plan should outline a contingency strategy in the event that your own production facilities are damaged.

Data Preservation

Regularly back up and store data offsite using hard drive storage or cloud services. To get the most from these options, develop a comprehensive automatic backup system for your data. Include incremental copies of data files so you can fall back to the most recently saved version of a file in case of deletion or error. Your backup system should also be able to completely restore the entire computer system in case of physical damage. Practice data- and system-recovery procedures in real time to see how quickly and completely you can come back online following an outage. For further data protection, encrypt laptop computers so they can be used offsite, and digitize paper records so they can be stored along with your critical electronic data.

Insurance

Ask your insurer about business-interruption insurance, which may replace income lost due to downtime caused by covered events. If flooding is a concern in your area, be sure you have appropriate coverage, which is usually excluded in normal hazard insurance. And check that your liability coverage can handle any foreseeable eventualities. For more information, visit the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Disaster Assistance website.

 


The article you read was prepared for general information purposes by McMurry. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.