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Will You be Ready When Disaster Strikes?

Submitted by administrator_rgb on Mon, 05/02/2011 - 16:13.

Last week’s catastrophic tornado outbreak stands as a stark reminder of why it’s important for all organizations to have a disaster recovery plan.

According to an article published by CNN, the tornadoes that tore through the Southeast April 27 and 28 were part of the second most deadly tornado outbreak in U.S. history. The official death toll is at 337. The storm also holds the record for the most tornadoes created in a single day, with at least 11 reported.

While AP departments typically don’t have to spend much time worrying about the weather, serious storms like the ones experienced last week can cause significant property damage and even level entire buildings. If your organization does not have a disaster recovery plan, there’s no way to know how long you would be out of commission.

Major disasters can strike at any time. Whether it is a flood, a fire, or a record-breaking tornado outbreak, there is virtually no way to predict when disaster might strike. That’s why you should prepare for any possibility. In fact, business continuity experts recommend that you prepare for the worst possible scenario – the complete destruction of the business – and work your way down from there.

When developing your plan, you must ask yourself what impact would the primary destruction of your facility have on each of your department’s processes? What if the major players –including those with signing and other financial authority – are killed or incapacitated? The department’s processes must be examined from the top down and all functions documented.

Don’t worry, creating a disaster recovery plan is a project for the business as a whole, not just the AP department. However, AP should most definitely be involved.

The AP representative should be skilled at thinking methodically through complex problems and issues, and, like others on the team, should be organized and detail-oriented. They should be able to put the AP department’s disaster recovery needs on paper clearly and succinctly, so that those implementing the plan can understand it quickly and completely.

Actually developing a disaster recovery plan can be a somewhat expensive and time-consuming task. In fact, it can sometimes take a month or more just to fully document how your organization would be impacted by a disaster. Determining how you will respond to the disaster takes even longer.

Despite the work involved, developing a disaster recovery plan is time and money well spent. According to The Accounts Payable Network, it can cost up to $120,000 to hire an outside consultant to help develop your plan. But, considering how devastating a disaster can be, the plan is a wise investment.

If your organization is one of the many that does not have a disaster recovery plan, consider purchasing the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Toolkit from the AP Store. This kit includes a pre-formatted policy manual that you can tailor to your specific business needs.

Regardless of how you do it, you simply MUST have a business continuity plan to ensure that your organization continues to function after a disaster. While disaster recovery plan is one weapon you hope you never have to use, it’s also one that you shouldn’t live without.