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about your infrastructure? If your office
is standing but has no power, any
servers at your facility can't be
accessed. Think about the applications
you run on your servers email, pay-
roll, and accounting, for example how
long can you afford to be without
these? If your email and your phones
are down, are you able to communi-
cate with your clients? Do your people
have the ability to do their jobs from
home if the office is inaccessible?
The bottom line is, there are simple
steps you can take to prepare your
business for an emergency. I want to
walk you through the three steps I
believe all businesses should take to
develop a practical and very affordable
disaster recovery plan.
Step 1: Talk to your people.
This sounds obvious, but you'd be sur-
prised how often this step is over-
looked when businesses start putting a
disaster recovery plan together. Find
out exactly what people need to do
their jobs. Do they need paper,
Internet, electronic data, mobile
devices, printers, and specific applica-
tions? Can they do their jobs from
other locations? If you are a sole pro-
prietor, you wear many hats, so docu-
ment what you need to perform each
responsibility, from how you service
your clients to how you run your busi-
ness. Also, talk to anyone outside your
organization whom you may need to
contact in the event of an emergency,
such as your landlord, phone company,
Internet provider, IT partner, and other
critical vendors. Make sure you know
whom to contact, how to contact them,
and what they can do to help you.
These questions should be answered
in advance of an emergency, not dur-
ing one.
Step 2: Create a plan.
Once you've documented your require-
ments, begin to create your disaster
recovery plan. The plan itself can take
many different forms, but it should
identify what systems, applications,
and tasks are critical and non-critical in
order for your business to function and
provide for ways to access or recover
the critical components in the event of
a disaster. Once you have a plan, use
it to train everyone in your firm. If the
only people familiar with the plan are
the ones who wrote it, it is almost guar-
anteed to fail. All of your people should
understand what their individual roles
and responsibilities are in the event of
a disaster, and what resources are
available to them.
Step 3: Know what your resources are.
In your plan, prepare for scenarios that
allow you to continue working during
significant disruptions and know what
resources are available to help you do
so. Do you have a regular offsite back-
up of your data? Do your people have
the ability to access applications
remotely or in the cloud? If no one can
get to the office, can you arrange for
alternate meeting spaces? Do you
have secure access to critical client
documents and data? Do you know
advocacy community education
15
The bottom line is, there are simple steps you can
take to prepare your business for an emergency.
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May 10
August Aquila
hosts a
CPA Succession Symposium
follow-up online session.
Save the Date
Details soon!