From the Oct. 2009 Issue
Susan, Robert and Gary have a problem. They have to prepare for the unexpected: What would happen if disaster struck and there was a period that they couldn’t get to their systems? And, even though the likelihood of a potentially crippling event was small, how much should their companies invest to try to “protect” their business?
- Susan manages a large group of Quick Service restaurants with locations across multiple states. They have thousands of employees, many who live paycheck to paycheck, and she worries about what those employees would do if the company was late on a payday. Would a delay in payroll cause some to lose confidence and go work for a competitor?
- Robert owns a parts distribution company with one location and 20 employees. His office manager makes a tape back each day and Friday he takes home the weekly back up. What happens if there’s a problem in the middle of the week and he falls behind on orders and shipments? They recently automated a lot of their work flow and clients said it improved their customer service. Would they jeopardize that good will if they were pushed back into their old ways?
- Gary runs a furniture manufacturing company. His big fear is loss of efficiency if their system was unavailable. How they would know what was in stock? Would they be setting incorrect expectations to customers on availability and delivery dates?
Three different businesses in size, revenue, locations and employees. Three different risk factors. Yet while their businesses are diverse, they all have one thing in common: what risk/reward ratio are they willing to live with if they can’t run internal systems? How much does it cost? What’s the right thing to do?
Planning for Disaster Recovery is very much like planning for a fire or a car wreck: How much risk are you willing to take, and how much insurance do you need “just in case.” Disaster recovery and business continuity takes many forms, all of which may be viable solutions, just not for everyone. Since there is no one size fits all - the best solution is the one that is right for the individual business.
There are several good tools and services available, some of which were covered in the September 2009 issue of The CPA Technology Advisor in columns by Scott Cytron (www.CPATechAdvisor.com/go/2489) and Randy Johnston (www.CPATechAdvisor.com/go/2491). The tricky part is to honestly identify exactly what you need and how much insurance you need in anticipation of those “events.”
Here are some ideas to help you prepare and make those decisions in your individual situation or for your unique company: