Preparing for disasters and other unforeseen threats is an important part of preparing your business for longevity today.
Criminal activity, natural disasters and terrorism are sadly threats that all businesses should account for and the best time to plan is sooner than later. It is important that you have readiness plans in place to minimize the potential impact of any potentially threatening situation. Without prior planning, you leave your company open to financial disaster, especially if you are forced to close operations for a period of time. In addition, without a proper plan to cope with a disaster situation, your company may face lawsuits from clients, vendors or employees claiming negligence.
Ensure Proper Security Measures
It is important to protect your facility and systems by assessing your security measures and making improvements where necessary. Though not all security threats can be avoided, some situations can be prevented with appropriate preparation.
- Advise management and employees to report any suspicious persons or activity in or around the facility.
- Establish and follow visitor control procedures such as mandatory sign-ins, name badges, escorts, orientation, etc.
- Survey locks, fences, exterior lights and other physical security devices to ensure that they are in place where needed and in proper operating condition. Establish a monthly inspection of your security perimeter and key protective features of your facility.
- Evaluate critical locations in your facility for proper security, including the electric, telephone and gas units, building entrances, transformers, outside storage units and server rooms.
- If your facility has a security/fire alarm system, be sure it is operating properly and that key personnel know how to arm/disarm it.
- Make sure that fire suppression systems are regularly inspected and maintained. Also, be sure that a sufficient number of trusted personnel know how to activate, operate and shut them down.
- Closed-circuit television can serve as an excellent crime deterrent, and when the system is equipped with a recorder it can help solve crimes.
- Review your procedures for issuing facility keys and access cards. At a minimum, keep lists of who has been issued keys/cards and have a procedure for handling a situation when a troubled employee is terminated without returning them.
- Discuss security with your local police department. Police departments are often very willing to provide information and support to local businesses.
- Have your local fire department conduct a pre-planned visit to your building. While there, they can identify potential hazards and plan fire suppression priorities.
Disaster Preparation and Response
It is important that you have readiness plans in place to minimize the potential impact of any potentially threatening situation.
- Be sure to discuss terrorism and applicable natural disaster coverage with your Marshall & Sterling representative.
- Keep copies of insurance policies and other critical documents in a safe and accessible location (e.g., a fireproof safe).
- Evaluate which disasters are most likely to occur in your area, remembering to include the possibility for terrorist activity. Be sure you are prepared for all of the risks you identify.
- Develop a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan. If you already have one make sure that it is current. This entails preparing for anything that disrupts your business operations and planning for a backup option. You may consider identifying backups for essential operations, supply chains, personnel, business functions, data processes and communication channels.
- Review your policy for off-site backup of EDP records. Ideally, these records should be backed up and transmitted or sent off-site on a daily basis.
- Have telephone call lists available (include cell phone and pager numbers) for all key personnel so required staff members can be contacted during non-working hours from any location. Review procedures for notifying employees that your facility is closed. Remind employees that they should never attempt to enter areas that are closed by police or other emergency responders.
- Consider establishing an alternate method for your phone service if the switchboard becomes unusable (e.g. forwarding incoming calls to a cell phone or remote number).
- If you are forced to temporarily close, you should have strategies in place for communicating with your customers and clients of the situation and status updates regarding any disruption in services.
- Check available emergency supplies such as flashlights, batteries, emergency generators/fuel, patching materials such as plastic sheeting, wood 2x4s, duct tape, spare fire extinguishers, first aid kits, etc.