A question of continuity

The unexpected always happens, and any kind of disruptive event can place a real strain on businesses.

Even a thriving recruitment business could find itself under pressure if disaster strikes. The incident need not be as dramatic as an earthquake or a terrorist attack either: a break-in, vandalism, fire, IT failure – or staff illness – could all have a serious impact.

While such events are outside the business’s control, preparing a strategy to deal with them can greatly increase the chances of coming through such tough challenges.

Yet many firms fail to do so. In its 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, software specialists Symantec found that it had never occurred to 41 percent of small and medium-sized businesses to put together a disaster recovery plan and 40 percent said that disaster recovery was not a priority for them.

But even simple steps could make a big difference, such as identifying the key people who would be required to re-establish the business’s core functions in the event of an emergency.

Furthermore, keeping copies of all the essential documents – such as terms of business and standard letters – as well as key contact details off site could be vital if there is no access to the information kept on the premises. By setting up internet email accounts for emergency use, recruiters will also be able to share these essential files using a centralised online document store.

Having a back-up of a main computer system could also prove invaluable, as could enabling staff to work from home through the use of emergency mobile phones and remote access to their desktop and emails – although security will, of course, be an essential part of such policies.

However, it is not enough just to develop this plan. It is important to test its effectiveness, correct any flaws, update it regularly and, most important of all, communicate it to the employees who will be involved in implementing it.

While it is not possible to plan for every contingency, a disaster recovery or business continuity plan is a vital insurance policy for when things do go wrong.

For more information on setting up and maintaining a plan, please contact us.

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