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21 Tips to Prepare Your Investment Firm for a Power Outage

By Matt Donahue, Business Continuity Analyst | Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Extended power outages and blackouts have the potential to impact not only businesses but also our personal lives. Without electrical power, some business functions may cease entirely, resulting in the loss of valuable data and production time.  

With Hurricane Season here and Tropical Storm Cristobal brewing in the Atlantic, we are running a two part series contributed by one of our Business Continuity Experts here at Eze Castle Integration – Matt Donahue.

In today’s article Matt looks at the steps or actions investment firms and other businesses can follow in order to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from an extended outage or blackout. Then Thursday’s article will focus on these same topics but for individuals.

21 Tips to Prepare Your Business

During an outage, investment firms risk data losses, experience logistical issues and experience unfavorable or impossible working conditions. Heavy reliance on technology items, IT systems and software can put businesses in a difficult situation during an outage, especially if they have not pre-planned or completed a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).  Other mitigation activities such as purchasing alternative or back up power sources such as batteries or generators are good ways to ensure power for essential items.

Here are some other helpful steps and precautions investment firms should consider.

Before a Power Outage or Storm

  • Consider a telephone calling tree or a voice recording to communicate with employees during an emergency.

  • If you have employees with disabilities or special needs, talk with them about what their needs may be during a disaster.

  • Plan for payroll continuity.

  • Review and practice what you and your employees intend to do during and after an emergency.

  • Establish facility shutdown procedures.

  • Make plans for assisting employees who may need transportation.

  • Make plans for communicating with employees’ families before and after storm outage.

  • Check if your phone system will work without electricity. If not, have at least one phone line that can operate without electricity.

  • Prepare to move records, computers, and other items within your facility or to another location.

  • Consider how to recover any digital data if there is a significant power outage or if computers and servers are damaged. Keep tax and payroll records, records of inventory, and other essential information at an alternate site.

  • Establish an alternate operating location and back-up suppliers.

During a Power Outage

  • Utilize your communications plan and keep employees, partners, vendors updated on your situation and potential need.

  • Keep in contact with building management for status updates and information.

  • If you have limited or back-up power, ensure that systems are operating and running properly and supplies are adequate to keep power on.

  • If employees are onsite, determine which are critical to rem

  • ain and which can leave (especially if this outage is large and may impact employee families).

  • If no systems are operating, consider shutting down business for the day and sending employees home.

  • If the payroll system is down, establish a system for ensuring that employees are paid for time rendered.

After a Power Outage

  • Ensure all employees are notified and given expectations for resuming work.

  • Notify partners and vendors when you have resumed normal operations.

  • Check all equipment and systems to ensure they are properly functioning.

  • Have a discussion with staff and management to review what went well and what could be improved upon. 

Extended power outages and blackouts present unique challenges for investment firms.  Being prepared and educated are critical to mitigate losses and bolster employee safety.   

Come back next Thursday for 19 tips on how individuals and their families can prepare for power outages.

For more information on disaster recovery and business continuity planning, read these articles:

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