As the east coast braces for another hurricane, we are reminded of the importance of having a business continuity plan in place to protect the people and processes that power a hedge fund.
The “beauty” of hurricanes and other weather-related situations from a BCP perspective is that businesses have time to prepare and put the necessary precautions in place. A firm that is ill-prepared for a hurricane is going to have real problems when an unannounced incident, such as a building fire, occurs.
In a previous post, we discussed how to respond to a pandemic emergency as well as the business continuity plan considerations. Many of these practices hold true for weather-related incidents because, in both situations, you have time to prepare before the disaster strikes.
Since there are unique considerations associated with a hurricane disaster, I sat down with one of Eze Castle’s Certified Business Continuity Planners, Lisa Smith, to discuss what firms should think about before the hurricane arrives to help ensure they can continue operations. Following are some key business continuity preparation questions to consider:
A business continuity plan typically identifies a few key individuals who will activate at the plan. Will these individuals be available to execute the necessary steps? Often the BCP owners are also members of the management team who travel frequently. Now is the time to ensure they will be available to execute their BCP responsibilities.
What will be the criteria for allowing employees to work from home? Who will have the power to make that decision? You may want to consider allowing employees to work from home a few days prior to make sure they can assess the systems. Testing before the bad weather arrives is critical.
Do you have enough Citrix or VPN licenses to accommodate the number of employees working from home?
How will you communicate business continuity plans to employees during off hours? Will you use a call tree or an automated notification system?
If your office loses power or employees lose power at their homes, is there a central meeting location from which they can work? Hotels typically have generators and Internet/wireless access so they are ideal alternative employee meeting spots. Budget permitting, book a meeting room from which employees can work. Be sure to have a list of target hotels so you’re not scrambling to find a location at the last minute.
What type of employee assistance will you offer should a catastrophic event occur? How will employees access this assistance (i.e. call HR or go to third-party)?
Which employees are traveling and may be stranded in remote locations due to airport or other transportation related closings? What type of assistance will be provided to them?
Finally, remember that clear communication is critical to ensure all your preparation pays off.
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