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Business Continuity Plan


December 02, 2013

A Business Continuity Plan You Can Be Grateful For

Advice For Business Continuity

Baste your turkeys, fill your pies, and unearth the football: The holiday season is finally here—and with it, a reminder to give thanks for all that we have. So, between mouthfuls of stuffing, be sure to count your blessings for family, friends, health, and business. Be grateful for your company’s prosperity (especially as storm season comes to an end) and the opportunity to ensure its continued success—through a sound business continuity plan.

Because we’re grateful for you, our readers, we have prepared a guide to help you put a business continuity plan in place or fill-in the gaps of your existing plan.

In the Wake of Sandy

A little more than a year after the hurricane dubbed Superstorm Sandy pelted the East coast, New Jersey Shore residents and businesses are still struggling to rebuild.

Sandy was supposed to be an anomaly, the “perfect” storm that comes once every 100 years. But most scientists agree that adverse weather patterns are becoming increasingly commonplace. The tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest, injuring dozens and leveling an entire town, and Typhoon Haiyan, which may have left 10,000 dead in the Philippines, are just the most recent testaments to this fact. 

Because of these catastrophic weather events, and other smaller disruptions, planning for disaster is more crucial than ever. Don’t know where to start? Begin with our essential guide below.     

Putting Continuity into Business (The Essential Guide to Disaster Preparedness)

Business continuity plans help organizations prepare for any disturbance to daily operation, from power outages to supply chain problems, IT and telecom crashes, cyber attacks, and adverse weather. Every effective plan addresses three foundational concerns: how your employees will communicate and how and where they’ll resume their work.

You cannot prevent all emergencies, but you can take the lessons learned from Sandy and turn them into a comprehensive plan that will save you time and money, minimize the consequences of crisis and, ultimately, render your business stronger and more resilient. Here are some suggested guidelines:

1. Conduct a business impact analysis. Identify the systems that are most critical to your business’ core operations (which ones must resume normal processing as soon as possible and which ones are deferrable?) Then assess the potential impact on these functions in a state of emergency.

2. Identify key people. Just like businesses have critical functions, they also have critical people. Assemble a critical recovery team and equip those employees with the tools they need to carry out their jobs: remote access, mobile wireless connections, laptop batteries with extended life, a home land line, etc.  

3. Have a back-up plan. Collaborate with your financial institution to develop alternate methods for moving funds and paying suppliers, if for instance, there are power outages to facilities and workstations. You might consider:

  • Online and Mobile Banking: Access your accounts, initiate and approve wire transfers and ACH transactions, and deposit checks electronically—right from your computer or mobile device.
  • Wire Services: Set up and initiate wires by landline or mobile phone.
  • ACH Blocked Account - Positive Authorization: Deviating from your normal processes can make you more susceptible to fraud. Because only predefined electronic entries post to your account with this service, it protects you from unauthorized ACH activity.
  • Business Debit Cards: The secure alternative to checks. Use them to pay invoices, purchase supplies, or fund day-to-day expenses. Transactions are detailed on your monthly checking statement for easy recordkeeping.  
  • Cash Vault: Ensure you maintain an adequate cash supply at multiple locations with dedicated back-up sites.
  • Remote Deposit Capture: If an emergency prevents you from making a trip to the bank or ATM, you can use this compact check scanner to deposit checks right from the convenience of your home or office.
  • Positive Pay: One of the strongest check fraud protection services available, Positive Pay compares checks presented for payment at the bank against your issued check file.

4. Communicate: Perhaps the most vital consideration of any business continuity plan, it is also one of the easiest to overlook. Know how you will communicate both internally and externally. Ensure that your employees are trained, coordinated, and fully understand their respective roles in a crisis. They should practice enacting the plan via a disaster simulation at least once a year.    

Get Started

The old adage, “hope for the best, plan for the worse”, couldn’t be truer when it comes to business continuity plans. Don’t fail to take precautions just because you’re optimistic. After all, according to FEMA, 75% of business that did not have a business continuity plan failed within 3 years.

You shouldn’t stop looking on the bright side altogether, of course. Be grateful, for example, for Hurricane Sandy’s silver lining: the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and establish business continuity plans that will make us stronger than the next storm. This holiday season, remember to hoist a turkey leg in a show of thanks.

For more information regarding business continuity planning, please contact your financial institution.

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