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Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?


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As a general rule this is what most recovery plans should cover:


1) Staff: make sure your staff are ok and aware of whats going on regardless of the incident

2) Data backup and access: In the event of virtually any circumstance you still need to be able to get hold of your data. If you are going to re-plan your event it is going to be a lot easier if you know what was planned. If you are a hire company you need to know the details of all the hire clients to ensure that you can either negotiate changes or cancel hires all together (if your unit has just burnt down people are usually quite understanding) you might even be able to get equipment off people who have hired that isn't in use.


Having achieved both of the above you can then assess your situation make your hires of equipment.


Things you can also consider:

Set up an "office" somewhere people can meet and discuss situations generally needing Internet access and a printer (i.e. someone's house, a hotel or even a friendly pub)

Call forwarding, the phone will probably be going mental as soon as word gets out there is something wrong (small companies might be able to cope with forwarding to a mobile, but larger groups might need something more substantial)

Alternative premises, more of an awareness of what could be hired/borrowed at short notice even if it is just enough space to store active hires. (For a few days something like the yellow box storage might be viable or a friendly company (doesn't have to be entertainment based) with a bit of free space.

Financial awareness, at a time like this you broadly need to be aware of how much you might have to spend, its going to be costly but it might be your "finest hour" with clients seeing how you can cope under pressure, however if you clearly cant cope they may all find new suppliers.

Insurance always important!


Most important thing in any emergency is DONT PANIC!!!!!! think through everything best you can most things are possible in this industry which increasingly is needing to plan full scale productions in just a few days after a booking comes in.

I agree with Colin

we have local to us a serviced office center for a small fee they answer the phone for you or divert to a mobile making you look like a bigger company than you may be.

Our local one also has meetings rooms you can hire by the day week hour etc

Maybe worth looking at local ones to you as you may well be able to hire the meeting room and have say 5 lines fax etc all diverted for the time it takes

to recover the business. most have wi-fi also


I would also speak to phone provider and maybe get call diversion put on all lines now as it can take upto 24 hours to get it working it may be free or a small charge but in an emergancy calls can be diverted to whatever number with just a few button presses or call to operator.


Bt do a product called pc back up it backs up any important data (you set the times and what it backs up)

I get mine free with my broadband package combine this with external drives covers you for most things.


lastly my two top tips

make sure you have passwords and usernames for all programs data email etc off site


make sure you have the programs either on a disc or a laptop off site no point having all the data and no programs to run the data.


It can take forever trying to get usernames passwords etc from your phone email and internet providers in a dissater you dont want to be spending

half a day on a outgoing call trying to sort this while incoming calls are getting your voicemail.

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one way around a lot of this could be to use the Buddy system, 2-3 companies who do the same thing get together and agree to support each other, so your office blows up you make a call and move your operation to one of the other companies, maybe not perfect but its a start and something you know you have in a real emergency and could be put in place tomorrow.


Ensure you have web / exchange access to your email and you should be away.


Of course this works well for small operations, if you have 30 staff and 10 shows to do that day you'll be wanting something much more in line with some of the official stuff discussed here.


And I can only repeat what others have said, off site back-up and insurance that covers business continuity.

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As regards business continuity in general, not just power cuts, I would urge keeping greater stocks of any supplies or materials that you regularly consume.


Consider the results of an industrial dispute affecting one of your suppliers, or of bad weather affecting deliverys.

Give special attention to specialist goods that can not easily be obtained from other suppliers.


If your busines relies on road transport, as most do, then remember just how quickly fuel supplies can vanish.

Keep vehicle tanks at least half full, and consider a small reserve in cans (the law limits the amount of petrol that can be stored, but even a little helps)


Hire companies should consider a little spare stock, remember that if goods on hire are stolen, this should be covered by insurance but the loss of reputation wont be covered if you are unable to fullfil a contract the following week, owing to theft of the goods.


Also remember that sudden extreme weather, or power failure, or even terrorist attack could close transport links without warning.

Most plans assume that some disaster would prevent key workers from getting to work, what if they were already AT work but could not get home?

In rural areas (more risk of extreme weather) and in city centers (risk of terrorist attack) staff could be trapped at work overnight, and this should be planned for, particularly if should coincide with power failure or other problem.

IMHO most workplaces should consider this, and at least keep basic stocks of non-perishable food, bottled water, blankets, battery lanterns, battery radio, and basic hygeiene supplies.

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