If a disaster struck, how would your small business respond? That is a question more and more business owners in Bedford and surrounding communities are trying to answer. From natural disasters like hurricanes and blizzards to man-made disasters like a security breach and terrorism, there are many events that could cause a serious disruption to your business operation and hence your bottom line, even with small business insurance.
Having small business insurance is certainly a tool to reduce the impact of loss, but that is not always enough. By formulating a disaster recovery plan, you can help mitigate the effects of a disaster and get your business back on track.
Types of Disasters
For a small business, a disaster can be anything that makes normal business operations impossible. Whether your employees can not make it into work, your data is compromised or your building is destroyed these events can be catastrophic for a small business. Running a business in Bedford, NH leaves you open to many types of natural disasters including:
- Severe winter weather
Other disasters are man-made but can be just as destructive and unavoidable such as:
- Security Breach
- Hazmat Spill
- Terrorist Attack
Disaster Recovery Plan
Every business is unique, so your disaster recovery plan should be as well; however most recovery plans share a few major components that you can customize including prevention, detection and correction. By focusing on these specific areas, you can create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for your small business in Bedford.
1. Preventative measures: By doing a risk assessment, you can pinpoint areas that leave your business most at risk. This is where an insurance agent can help as they most likely have experience with similar industries such as yours and have experience in both claims and insurance products designed to meet some of these needs. Many insurance companies also have loss control professionals on staff for larger accounts whose very job is identifying risk and educating you about preventative measures to prevent an accident or loss.
Simple things can also be done like looking around with a fresh set of eyes and the objective on loss prevention. Maybe the stacks of paper you mean to someday recycle out in the garage, near the gasoline and paint rags will have a different perspective with loss prevention in mind. Installing surge protectors, having off-site backup storage for your data, as well as emergency generators are all types of preventative measures that could prevent a disaster from seriously impacting your business operations.
2. Detective measures: Finding a problem as soon as it occurs helps prevent damage from spreading. Fire detectors and anti-virus software are two examples of detective measures. Your disaster recovery plan should include emergency procedures to immediately respond to a detected disaster, prioritizing human lives followed by protecting your critical business information and equipment. This may include evacuations, controlled shut down of systems and contacting local authorities for assistance.
3. Corrective measures: After a disaster has occurred, you need to get everything up and running again as soon as possible. Small business insurance can be a critical tool in this process but you need to know in advance what this will and will not apply to, including the loss of income for the time it takes to get back up and running. You should have a plan in place detailing who is responsible for certain tasks and how you will proceed.
Formulating a Plan
Once you are committed to developing a plan, there are several thinks you should keep in mind. Formulating a disaster recovery team can help you organize and coordinate, reducing confusion and stress when disaster strikes. This team is essential to formulating a streamlined plan that covers a wide variety of disasters.
After performing a risk assessment, priorities should be identified. Essential documents and equipment must be recovered first, followed by less critical business components. By estimating how long each department can function without certain components you can develop a timeline to follow after the disaster. You will most likely want to contract with a professional to help restore data and operations after a disaster.
A formal plan should be developed, distributed and tested to ensure it works. This allows you to identify problems before you are in the midst of a real disaster.
While small business insurance is a critical part of protecting your Bedford business against disaster, it is not intended to handle everything. Formulating a comprehensive disaster recovery plan will help you minimize the damages and bounce back more quickly from any disaster life throws your way.
This material is for informational purposes only. All statements herein are subject to the provision, exclusions and conditions of the applicable policy. For an actual description of all coverages, terms and conditions, refer to the insurance policy.