To Our Valued Clients and Friends:
This email is the sixth in our series on preparing your business to weather unexpected events. Read Parts I – V here, here, here, here , and here. This week, we discuss how to test your plan for preparedness, once it is in place.
Most failures of businesses’ emergency preparedness plans are due to a lack of testing before the unexpected occurs. Get ahead of the curve, and test your plan at least once annually.
Steps to take:
- Schedule a test day in advance; notify every party involved – your team members as well as any necessary outside parties (clients, essential service providers, vendors, and suppliers, etc., who would need to be notified in the event of an actual emergency) that you will be testing your preparedness plan on that date.
- Have every team member make the contacts for which they are responsible – this should be spelled out clearly in your plan.
- If your plan requires evacuation, team members should know their evacuation routes and should have communicated them to you in the plan’s design phase. Agree on a point beyond which they need not travel, whether it’s a landmark or coffee shop they are familiar with or a set distance in miles from their homes.
- Have your team members all log in remotely to your secured server(s); they should make certain they can access the data they require for the tasks and projects they would be responsible for if the unexpected occurred today.
- If you have a backup generator to maintain power during an outage, ensure it is tested automatically on a weekly basis, but test it again on this day. Make sure beforehand that your generator’s fuel source (natural gas or other) is topped off.
- If a data breach is one of your top threats, have an outside expert to attempt to breach your system in consultation with your IT provider
Look for vulnerabilities, failures in communication, confusion. Schedule a full team meeting to review the results and ask for their input. Revise and specify your plan to address any issues or concerns before your next test.
Once the plan is revised, hold another meeting to communicate the changes you’ve made to your team.
Have you tested your emergency preparedness plan? What did you find? If there were issues, how did you address them?
Please click here to email me directly – I’d love to hear how your testing went.
Until next Wednesday –