Prepare to Get Back to Business after a Disaster
We like to think we are prepared for anything. And if your office has a disaster recovery plan in place, you are likely ahead of the game. Many companies don’t think about disaster recovery until they are in the middle of it. However, companies located in coastal areas of the U.S. are used to thinking about how to keep their business afloat if the worst happens, particularly during summer months when severe weather is most likely to strike. With hurricane season coming upon us once again this year, here is a refresher for companies who want to make sure their DR plan is on point.
Update Contact Information
Sometimes the disaster recovery plan, once compiled, goes into the vault until it is needed, and that is when you may discover that newer employees, updated phone numbers, or even plan details haven’t been updated since the last hurricane season. Since disasters truly can strike at any time (not just hurricane season), it is important to make sure someone in your office reviews the DR information regularly and updates it. A monthly review should be quick, and make it easy to find recent changes that need to be added to your plan. Have all employees check to make sure their phone numbers are correct, and ask your IT expert about any new processes or changes to backups that need to be noted in the plan as well.
Back that Stuff Up
Know how to access your computer systems remotely. If you have a cloud-based solution for any of your data, it will be easier to access that than the equipment and programs housed in your physical office. The information in the office still needs to be backed up, however. You may choose to back up to a remote server, use backup tapes or disks, or some combination of those processes. Know who is going to keep that data safe and how you are going to restore it if you need to restart your operations at a remote location. And make sure that the storage systems for your data comply with HIPAA regulations, since electronic health record users are expected to anticipate and protect against threats to patient information security. More details on disaster preparedness and HIPAA can be found in the whitepaper on Duxware’s site: Storms, Emergency Preparedness & HIPAA. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (hhs.gov) is another excellent resource for HIPAA and DR information as well.
Keep Clients Informed
It’s always important to make sure the people you serve know that you are available and ready for business. If you have a company blog, you can reach out to your readers to let them know where you are and how to contact you. If your office is remote for an extended time, you may even be able to share with them some ideas on turnaround times and other processes that could be affected by your displacement. Group text messages or automated calls are a more direct way to reach out to clients and ensure they know you are still there and ready to serve them. Weigh the time invested in implementing any of these changes against the value you expect to receive from keeping those lines of communication open. A time-efficient approach may be more effective for some customer bases, while others may need more of a personal touch to feel confident that you are working to serve them no matter what.
Thorough preparation is key in the event of any disaster. Update your plan and make sure that everyone knows the plan before you put it into practice. Once you know that all your staff are safe and ready to work, you can get back to business as usual with little delay, and keep your practice thriving even during trying times.