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A checklist for staying in business after a disaster.

Business Continuity Expo And Conference : 31 March, 2008  (Technical Article)
Claire Read of Belfor provides a list of points to consider to avoid becoming one of the many businesses which fail after a disaster strikes.
A fairly recent study on 'business failure, following disasters' indicated that 30% of all companies affected, whether through bomb, fire or flood, fail in the first year afterwards. Perhaps this is not a surprise. Approx 85% of the 70% which survive the first year then fail in the second. A high percentage suffer catastrophically due to loss of market share which is why a good business continuity plan is essential.

Furthermore many would argue that they have insurance in place for the business but few realise that although this will compensate for the losses, it will not rebuild their business. Therefore ensuring that the right expertise is available to address the physical damage from a disaster is essential, helping prevent unnecessary delays and losses.

Here is a simple checklist for companies establishing a Business Continuity plan:.

* Know what your insurance covers you for, remember insurance will only cover you for the losses incurred - it will not get your business back in operation the next day.
* Get experts involved as soon as possible - preferably before disaster strikes. There is a big difference between local clean-up companies and the experts who understand how to mitigate and assess the damage to ensure overall business continuity.
* Understand what aspects of the company's operations, systems and processes are essential to survival. Identify your company's documents/equipment essential to support those systems and processes.
* Keep copies/backup tapes even duplicate machines off site if possible.
* Ensure that people key to your contingency plans can be contacted quickly and at any time, do not rely on just one person.
* Alternative working arrangements - are there other sites where people and production can be moved to, temporarily?
* Communications are vital for contacting your own employees but also contacting key customers to ensure continuity of their business with you.

In all recoveries, time is the most valuable commodity and usually the one that is least under control. If physical losses can be mitigated and addressed speedily, then both financial loss, and consequential losses, will not be terminal for the company.

Finally don't think disaster will never strike and don't think an insurance policy alone will be sufficient to get you back into business, make sure you stick to these rules to ensure your company stays standing in the event of a disaster.

Belfor will be exhibiting at the Business Continuity Expo and Conference held at EXCEL Docklands from 2- 3rd April 2008 - the UK's definitive event for managing risk, resilience and recovery. This event will explore the solutions and best practice to ensure operational continuity and protect a company's interests before during and after an incident

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