A lot of businesses kick around the subject of disaster recovery planning. They half-heartedly put together a disaster recovery plan to see if they can get any reduction on their insurance, but that’s about it. Well we all know what a disaster looks like now.
Coronavirus has been the biggest threat to businesses for a generation. Nothing could have prepared us for this global catastrophe. While we brainstormed the different types of disaster and imagined the worst case scenarios, none of us thought a pandemic would strike. As a result, many businesses are reviewing the Force Majeure clauses in their T&Cs. Disaster recovery planning is now at the top of the list. Whether Coronavirus can be considered to be an Act of God is being fiercely debated at the moment. So to be on the safe side it might be an idea to add ‘pandemic’ to your list if you are reviewing things. In fact, think of every type of eventuality you can possibly imagine.
The standard force majeure clause goes something like this:
Neither party shall be liable to the other for any loss or damage which may be suffered by the other to any cause beyond either party’s reasonable control including, but not limited to, any failure of telephone, internet or database systems, Act of God, terrorism, inclement weather, failure or shortage of power supplies, flood, drought, lightening or fire, strike, lock-out, trade dispute or labour shortage, any act or omission of government, telecommunication operators or other competent authorities, war, military operation, or difficulty, delay or failure of production or supply by third parties of materials necessary to carry out either parties’ obligations under this Agreement
Before the pandemic only 42% of small businesses had any type of disaster recovery plan in place. The big disasters anticipated by small businesses are: data loss, server failure, data theft, employee sabotage, storms, flooding and fire. After all, 60% of companies that lose data are closed down within 6 months and 30% of all businesses that have a major fire are out of business within a year. All sobering stuff, but there’s one thing missing from this list that’s absolutely crucial. What happens if your phone lines go down?
Now of course it depends on the type of business. For most companies a loss of phone lines is a problem that’s beyond their control. Screaming at the service provider will make little difference and cause a lot of stress. It’s very simple to set up a back-up telephone number that kicks in if your phone lines go down. In the event of a disaster it keeps your lines of communication open while the disaster is fixed. Or, in the case of Covid, for the duration. Make sure you add ‘phone line recovery’ to your latest disaster recovery plan.
It’s great that companies are reviewing disaster recovery plans. Covid has taught us all that disasters are real and unpredictable. The least we can do is make sure we’re prepared.
Research resources – continuitycentral, comparitech, itproportal