Should you do it? Yes. Do you do it? Possibly not. Contingency planning is something that many organisations know they should do, but not so many actually have a set procedure in place for damage limitation.
Contingency planning is all about managing unforeseen risks. For a lot of businesses a risk could be something as small as a fire in the office, a break in, or even staff being snowed in. Would your business be able to run as normal if any of the above happened?
Webroster.net’s Technical Director says: “In all my years experience I stick by the saying: If it can go wrong, it will go wrong at point. So you need to make plans for when it goes wrong, not if it goes wrong. I’m sure everyone has experienced this to some extent at some point in their lives.”
It is hard to pre-empt what ‘could possibly’ happen and how you and your customers would react in that situation, but for many businesses the most important factor is being able to continue to provide their product or service under any circumstance to prevent loss of income.
So lets think strategically about this; what is the most important process or item involved in keeping your business running? Is it a database or document containing your client’s details? Or a laptop containing all your work? Or a software system used to book jobs? Whatever it is, why not minimise the risk involved in loosing or being unable to access it; store it online!
So what processes can you handle online? The answer is almost anything! A good starting point is to store (or at least backup) all documents in an online filing cabinet so that should anything happen to your office/filing cabinet/hard drive, you won’t lose any valuable and potentially confidential information. Why not look at migrating your software systems online too? Rostering, monitoring, CRM, financial programmes and even general word processing applications can all be used via the web.
The internet can be your best friend when it comes to business contingencies. Whatever you put online can be accessed wherever you are, which means you don’t have to be in your office to run or operate your business. As long as you can provide services as normal regardless of fire/theft/flood/snow/zombies then you can put a tick in your contingency box!