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The aftermath of the flooding in Calgary, Alberta Canada has show one thing that your business needs a disaster recovery plan. An important part of the recovery plan is to also keep in mind that a change of leadership might follow a disaster. With your small business damaged or destroyed, you need to be made whole as quickly as possible.
Keep record of all conversations and the steps you need to take to recover.  A smartphone can come in handy to record critical information and store that in the cloud.
Every employee’s name, address, email address and contact phone numbers should be available to senior managers. With your team leaders carrying out their areas of responsibility, your business will begin to recover from its disaster. Test your business recovery plan by bringing senior managers together to simulate a response. Periodically review your business recovery plan and update it to reflect the current management structure and procedural changes.
We look at how organizations can create a disaster recovery plan and turn it into a company-wide policy.
Before you can implement a disaster recovery strategy for your IT infrastructure, you've got to create an official plan. Once you've met with key stakeholders and identified potential disaster scenarios, such as the loss of critical applications and data that could bring the organization to a standstill (and possible demise), your plan still has to be documented. You need to cut the meat from the fat when identifying which components of an infrastructure absolutely must be available in time of a disaster.
The flood damage in Alberta and Ontario has awoken many Clubs to take a hard look at their current Disaster Recovery plans and to update accordingly. Much like designing a tailored golf insurance policy, the more detail you can add to a Disaster Recovery Plan, the better. Put together a Steering Committee whose overall responsibility is the direction, research and implementation of your Disaster Recovery Plan.
About Jonathan AppletonWith a diverse background in psychology, real estate, financial and over 15 years in the insurance industry, Jonny believes that every client and prospect deserves unmitigated honesty, professionalism and total transparency. Jonny is indeed honoured to have earned the trust and respect of the Golf & Country Club industry and is recognized as one of the leading experts in your industry.
Looking across the Bow River at the Calgary downtown core towards Prince's Island Park from Crescent Heights during the flood of June 21, 2013. As the floodwaters rose last week, many companies in Calgary lost business-critical IT functions, effectively shutting down their operations.
As vice president of Fortress Technology Planners—an IT support and consulting firm here in Calgary—I’m glad to be able to report that Fortress wasn’t one of those companies.
As with any business planning, you need to ask the right questions to get the right answers. How quickly do you need to recover?  The shorter a recovery time you need, the more expensive your solution will be.  Think about your needs and choose a sweet spot between cost and recovery time. Once you’ve decided on a plan and have your disaster recovery solution in place, don’t forget to test it out. The declaration must identify the nature of the emergency and the area in which it exists. A state of local emergency lapses after 7 days unless it is renewed or cancelled by the local authority or cancelled by the Minister. A declaration of a state of local emergency is not a requirement in order for a local authority or citizens to be eligible for financial assistance through a disaster recovery program. A local authority is not required to declare a state of local emergency in order to activate their emergency operations centre or their municipal emergency plan. The most critical step in being able to recover from a disaster is being prepared for one in the first place. Anyone who has actually managed a business' recovery from a disaster knows that the most critical factor when it comes to business and operation continuity is having a plan in place before the disaster strikes.
In an emergency, the most wasteful use of workers' time (and sometimes their safety), is in setting up makeshift IT triage—that is, on-the-fly access to data and applications after a disaster. Disaster preparedness means having, at the very least, the data and apps that are required to keep day-to-day operations already running in a remote location and ready to access.
Also it's practically guaranteed that, after experiencing a disaster, a company will not be running with its full staff. In short, IT contingency in wake of emergencies should be as seamless, as compliant with corporate security policies, and as easy for end-users to access as possible. Easier Than Ever Such disaster preparedness is easier than ever for companies to deploy because of changing trends in technology.
So, why are many organizations still not on-board with creating strong disaster preparedness plans?

A disaster recovery plan, also known as a business continuity plan, is essential for your small business. These individuals can include your information technology manager, a product recovery team leader and managers of your sales, human resources, finance and facilities teams. One or more locations should be identified and may include a bank’s safe deposit box or a business document storage facility. Provide print copies of the plan for your recovery team and save an electronic copy to the cloud or to a USB flash drive for later access. A once annual review and disaster recovery simulation exercise will keep your team prepared and knowledgeable of the recovery steps. This critical document should detail every conceivable emergency that could reasonably befall your organization, pinpoint mission-critical applications and systems, and be signed off by all key figures in your organization—including executive management, human resources, and those responsible for facility management.
It's important to have a concrete plan in a concise, written format to distribute to staff, so that no one is left in the dark when it comes to knowing what to do in the event of disaster. This spotlights the importance of an up-to-date inventory assessment of hardware and software.
For example, a database that's used to track sales leads may not be crucial in a disaster but, for a healthcare facility, a database listing all current patients is. Certainly the topic of planning can be quite complicated and it is prudent to have ongoing discussions among the Board and staff to plan against certain catastrophic scenarios and to plan ahead. They will be also responsible for assessing the full impact a flood or fire will have on the club. What needs to be done first in order to get the club operating and generating income again?
Like knowing the best route to escape a burning building, giving specific instructions to all parties will help when the panic of a disaster strikes.
At Hallmark Insurance Brokers, we serve as your trusted business advisor in advising, designing and implementing a comprehensive risk management plan that will protect your business from threats in the industry. Our approach to risk management provides our clients with industry specific solutions for long-term risk reduction that leads to increased profitability, and facilitates access to the best insurance companies at the best possible premiums.
Any time there’s a disaster—whether a widespread natural disaster or a localized incident such as a fire—you can count on something going wrong with IT. There will of course be technical issues involved with IT disaster recovery, but before those issues are tackled, the following fundamental strategic questions must be addressed.
If continuity of your IT systems isn’t business-critical, there’s no point in paying for an overly sophisticated disaster recovery solution.
Consider the scope of events that can occur.  As we have seen recently, a disaster recovery location that is one block away might not be far enough. A plan can look great on paper, but until you know for sure that it actually does the job, you haven’t yet fully gained the assurance of business continuity that brings true peace of mind.
If your company is like most businesses today, IT is too vital to simply hope for the best when disasters occur. He is Executive Vice-President for Fortress Technology Planners that offers a range of IT services to SMEs across Canada.
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The Disaster Recovery Regulation governs eligibility and criteria for a disaster recovery program. Portions or the entire municipal emergency plan may be activated as required to manage an emergency or disaster. While disaster recovery will always involve some on-fly decision making and adapting to realities on the ground, both of these can be made orders of magnitude easier by having contingency plans and systems already in place, and staff who are already trained how to implement them. Disaster recovery (without proper preparedness) may mean IT scrambling to find a place to set up a replacement server, take a copy of the data and applications from the damaged server, and then restore that data and re-install mission-critical apps to give end-users the alternative access they need to continue key operations. Often, such implementations in the wake of an emergency, are not properly configured, may be insecure, and may not meet required corporate compliances, such as HIPAA. It also means having trained end-users how to access that in-place, contingent data so they can continue to get to the systems they need, whether they are working on company-issued machines or their own mobile devices. IT employees, who would setup these temporary disaster recovery fixes, may not be available or present to implement them, so redundancies need to be built in, and plans clearly documented, so that whoever needs to step in can do so.
Cloud computing, virtualization, and the continuing increase of always-connected and relatively powerful mobile devices in the hands of end-users are all key ingredients in deploying a strong and effective disaster preparedness solution. In a recent survey conducted by Symantec of IT decision-makers in small- to-mid-sized businesses, only 26 percent have a disaster preparedness plan in place.
Your successor should be ready to step in; therefore, name that individual and train him or her to take over under certain circumstances. Your attorney should also maintain copies of important business documents including the articles of incorporation, IRS filings, state documentation and other legal forms. Seek help from local, state and federal resources as well as from volunteer groups including the Red Cross.

During critical times your staff may be concerned with handling their personal recovery if their homes were affected too. Perform corrective action as needed to address deficiencies and to reroute the response as necessary.
To guide you through creating the plan, here is a checklist of what an effective plan should contain. Know every piece of software or hardware running in the infrastructure, including anything virtualized. Email may be needed to communicate with staff status updates and procedures, especially if employees are forced to remain off-site. If an organization has never shifted any business processes to a cloud-computing model, this may be a good time to consider doing so.
Indeed having a specifically planned and set Disaster Recovery Plan is pro-active, warranted and necessary. If your club offers event planning and production, client will need assurance your space will be ready for business. Your club’s offerings and holdings may change over the years as well, so keep developing a Recovery Plan to fit any new concerns or risks your team discovers.
I bring up our successful disaster recovery only to make the point that disaster-recovery planning can minimize—or even eliminate—business disruption when catastrophe strikes. But if IT downtime means lost revenue, the cost of even the strongest of disaster recovery solutions could easily pale in comparison to the potential loss. The insurance analogy is also applicable here—you should never have too little, but you also shouldn’t pay for more than you need. Figure out details such as how long you can go without certain IT functions before business is disrupted—and what the cost of that disruption will be.
The time when your attention can do the most good is before calamities like the Calgary flooding happen—not after. A Certified Business Analysis Professional and a Project Management Professional, Jonathan develops and manages large IT projects for clients.
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Take the time to develop a business disaster recovery plan that can help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. Your senior managers should know who this individual is; your employees should be told on a “need to know” basis. Your sales manager will notify customers and offer possible delivery alternatives, if known.
It pays to not only invest in a good asset-management solution, but also to keep a log file on all software and updates. Which components are important depends on the nature of the business, but, whatever they are, they should be listed and included in the plan. While line-of-business applications may require more planning, or they may be to complex to easily move to the cloud, e-mail and storage are good candidates for a move to the cloud. Determine what you can’t live without, and make that the focus of your immediate recovery plan. He also teaches business analysis and project management at two colleges of applied arts and technology.
Contact me for info on how to access these resources and engage with our national collaborative IT peer group.
In this first of four articles on disaster preparedness, we tell you how to start thinking about disaster preparedness and how to gather the information you will need to create an effective, efficient plan for recovering from whatever fate throws at you. Your human resources manager will reach out to your employees, acting as the conduit for internal communications.
This way you not only know what the entire IT inventory is in case of loss from a disaster, but you can compile a list and check off which systems absolutely must remain operational during a crisis, and which you can live without temporarily. Consider using Social Media Channels such as Twitter and Facebook to provide customers recent news and updates. Your facilities manager will be responsible for securing the facility, coordinate the submission of an insurance claim and file for a disaster loan, if needed.

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