It seems every day we read about disasters that devastate lives and businesses. Unfortunately, human nature can lead us to feel a false sense of comfort thinking large storms or computer virus attacks won’t affect us.
After Hurricane Sandy (a 100 year storm) large areas in the Northeast were decimated and most businesses in its path suffered downtime; many are still recovering. In addition to the seven days of business interruption caused by Hurricane Sandy, ProTapes, like all businesses have experienced downtime and system interruption due to computer viruses and other technology threats.
Because of threats like this, ProTapes began a major safety initiative to protect it’s employees, technology infrastructure and its New Jersey based operations. We formed a Safety & Security Committee comprised of key employees from Operations, Finance, Human Resources and IT. The committee’s mission was to establish a plan for immediate vulnerabilities and long-term steps towards safety and business continuity.
Safety & Security Committee Responsibilities:
- 1. Complete Fire Protection
- ProTapes sent a group of employees to be trained as fire captains who then established emergency evacuation procedures which are re-enforced by periodic fire drills. Additional alarms were installed in the warehouse and factory after it was discovered certain areas had inadequate coverage.
- 2. Improve surveillance and security
- The committee took steps to update and fine-tune building access investing in additional surveillance cameras in key locations which previously lacked coverage. Building access is available only to current employees and their supervised guests.
- 3. Create written procedures for our machines and operators
- The committee created formal written procedures for fork-lift safety and maintenance. Driver certifications are carefully tracked and updated. Our operations are fully compliant with OSHA guidelines.
- 4. Migration to the Cloud
- In response to Hurricane Sandy, we invested in migrating critical computer hardware and software to the cloud ensuring ultimate availability, protection and continuation of all your projects with us. Key employees can now access all their work remotely from anywhere. All they need to pick up working where they left off is electric, internet and a computer.
- With our new cloud infrastructure; our data, designs, software and other valuable technical assets used for day-to-day operations are now protected against power outages, building devastation and computer viruses.
Membership on our Safety & Security Committee is renewed regularly and all employees are encouraged to join and present their ideas and observations. The Committee now meets 2-3 times a year and has successfully implemented an end-to-end business continuity solution.
It can happen to you
Most small to midsize companies feel they don’t have enough resources to develop and invest in an end-to-end disaster recovery solution. Ironically, it’s those same businesses who are least able to afford the disruption caused when disaster strikes. The best thing you can do is learn from your past, be prepared, invest in safety and plan for business continuity.
Lessons learned: our recommendations for your business:
- Take inventory of your current strengths and weaknesses.
- Determine immediate actions for your most critical weaknesses.
- Get support and budget approval for the changes needed, then chip away at the to-do list.
- Communicate frequently to all employees about the company’s continuity plan.
- The task of planning for business continuity is never complete. Frequent reviews of your plan will uncover additional actions to be taken.