Achieving Business Continuity in the Event of an Unexpected “Disaster”

Achieving Business Continuity in the Event of an Unexpected “Disaster”

October 16

When formulating, testing, and potentially executing a disaster recovery plan, most scenarios involve some form of natural event, like a tornado, flood, hurricane, or fire. But achieving business continuity in the case of something unexpected — like theft, vandalism, user error, employee resignation, or even the tragic sudden death of a key member of the organization — needs to be considered as part of any robust disaster recovery plan. A business isn’t truly prepared until they have thought through the potential impact of a wide range of events that could impact day-to-day operations.

Once again, having a plan and testing it thoroughly remains a vital aspect of disaster preparedness — whatever that disaster may be.

Business Insurance can Help Protect against User Error

There are many types of business insurance available for small to medium sized organizations that can help mitigate the consequences of an unexpected event. Professional Liability Insurance — sometimes referred to as Errors and Omissions — helps to protect a business in the event of a user error or negligence causing any form of damage to a customer. In many states, businesses are required to carry this form of insurance.

If the sudden death of a company executive would adversely impact business continuity, a Key Man (or Person) insurance policy serves as life insurance for the business, providing the necessary finances to help recover from the tragedy. Entrepreneurial start-ups should consider carrying Key Person insurance on their executive team members.

Commercial property insurance, in addition to covering most natural disasters, also provides coverage in the event of theft and vandalism. It is important for businesses that rely on technology to ensure that off-site backups of valuable data are regularly stored as part of a routine business process. In this case, consider theft or vandalism to be a potential threat as large as fire or another natural event.

Handling an Unexpected Employee Resignation

When an unexpected employee resignation occurs, hopefully that employee provided the professional courtesy of a two-week notice. If so, execute a plan to transfer all knowledge and project work to others on the resignee’s team. Ensure these knowledge transfer plans are part of company policy, and if there are any business competitive issues at play, consider letting that employee leave early after their work and knowledge are transitioned.

If that employee decides not to give any notice before quitting, immediately revoke all network access and change relevant passwords as necessary. In either case, be sure to secure any company assets in that employee’s possession, including any smartphones and computing equipment. Having employees share work and knowledge in general, mitigates any risk in case anyone resigns suddenly.

Not all disasters that affect a business are of the natural kind. The smart business needs to make sure their disaster recovery plan accounts for all scenarios, even those that are relatively rare. Planning for adverse events helps to ensure business continuity when something unforeseen actually happens.