Note: This article also appears on The VAR Guy.
FEMA’s preparedness month might be over, but it’s still a good time to think about not just your clients’ preparedness plans, but your plans as well. A good plan includes useful information and how to act under various circumstances, and when it comes to people you’ll rely on, there are some areas to consider.
Identify key players
The most important people are individuals at your organization you know you can count on if there’s a problem. There are many types of disaster and you’ll respond differently to each one. If there’s a large natural disaster, family and friends will come before business and you’ll have bigger things to worry about than whether or not a server is online. Even still, the key players in your plan should know when they might be needed and why. Simply writing down their phone numbers isn’t worthwhile if they have no idea their being included or why. Make sure employees you count on know what to do in an emergency. If something happens during office hours, will they be able to help and how should they help? If something happens after hours, let them know how you’ll contact them (text, call, email, etc.). Make sure they’re aware of which situations might prompt you to call them, and what you’ll need from them when it happens.
Build contact lists
People can be your most important resource in an emergency, provided you have a method of contact. You’ll need info for key players in your organization, as well as relevant vendors or utility companies. Write down the following:
- Personal phone numbers and emails for key individuals at your organization
- A general description of what these individuals do and their role in disaster response
- Telephone provider phone number and website
- Internet or cable provider phone number and website
- Domain registrar and account information
- DNS provider or other third party hosting phone numbers and websites
- Public domain name information
- Power company phone number and website
- Gas company phone number and website
Note that you need to be able to access all the information you collect. If you store it in the cloud, will you have Internet access to actually retrieve it? If you store it in your office, could it get damaged? Make sure you have physical and digital copies of this information and multiple ways to access them. You never know where you’ll be when you need them.
Test the plan
For any plan to be successful, it’s important to test things out. Most likely, you’ll want to test two things: your disaster response plan, and your backup and disaster recovery plan. Simulate a disaster in your office and respond accordingly. For technology disasters, be sure to test backups, and simulate recoveries so you know you’ll be ok if something happens. For some specific tips on testing a backup and disaster recovery plan, see our guide Don’t Let a Disaster Be Your First Backup Test.
These are just a few communication considerations for your disaster response plan and for your backup and disaster recovery plan. For a more detailed guide on creating a disaster recovery plan, check out our ebook Making Disaster Recovery Easy. For some excellent guides on disaster response for business, see some of the tips on Ready.gov.