I had lunch with a buddy yesterday and we were talking about Disaster Recovery or what is now called Business Continuity Planning – BCP. Disasters are on everybody’s mind right now with Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami and now the worsening nuclear situation. Maybe it is human nature to think that we are immune to such large scale disasters. Then I recalled the long list of disasters that has impacted our area over the years.
Since I moved to Santa Barbara in 1984, this idyllic seaside community (one of the founding hubs of the original Internet – ARPAnet) has endured 4 major wildfires including the Paint fire in 1990 that claimed 500 homes, the Zaca Fire in 2007 that burned over 240,000 acres, the Tea Fire in 2008 that burned 210 homes, then the Jesusita Fire in 2009 destroyed 80 homes. Even the Northridge earthquake in 1994 although 80 miles away, left the Santa Barbara area without power for half the day. A Business Continuity Plan would’ve been prudent for the radio station where I was working at the time. Without a backup generator, we were actually off the air the whole time. So much for the Emergency Broadcast System.
The point is that disasters can and will likely happen. Earthquake, fire, flood, cyber attack, sabotage, weather, utility outage, terrorism, and even disease are all threats that may affect you, your family and your business. Your best protection of course is to have a Business Continuity Plan. Proper prior planning and a little initiative will mitigate the impact when it hits.
I am an old Boy Scout and have lived my life by the Boy Scout motto: “Be Prepared.” Here are some questions to ponder that will help you plan ahead for when the unthinkable happens and disaster strikes:
- Do you have an emergency communication plan for your family? Your business? What if the phones, the cell phones, and the Internet are all down? How will you coordinate? How will your business operate? Do you have a prearranged single point of contact?
- What about emergency supplies? Water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and medicines?
- Is your business data backed up? What if your office burns down? Are the back-ups stored off site? Do you have enough information backed up to bring your business back to life?
- What about your own computer? Is your computer backed up? Backups stored off site?
- What about your web site? Do you have a complete back up of your web site? Where is it?
- What if your Web Master gets hit by a bus? Do you have all of the login information for the domain name registrar account? Do you know who is hosting your web site? Do you have the login information for the account, for the control panel, and the FTP information for your web site? Who is going to bring the web site back to life? Who is going to maintain it?
- Lastly, have you tested your Business Continuity Plan?
The bottom line here is that stuff happens all the time. Learn to think like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared.