Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don't Risk It! Luncheon with Sikich

Are your organization's employees, programs, donors and technology safe?

Imagine having all of your organization's information, including your most treasured donors, stored in technology that was compromised. What would you do if you were unable to reach or locate employees, or your key programs were interrupted due to a disaster situation? When any type of situation occurs, key members of the organization have a responsibility first to the employees' safety, then to operations and finally to the financial impact. One of the top five issues facing non-profit organizations is disaster response planning, so take these steps to document an effective plan:
1. Prioritize processes. Separate each of your significant processes into one of three categories: Mission Critical (most important), Business Critical or Organizationally Important (least important). In doing so, you will prioritize the parts of your organization that will be addressed under the "Immediate Action" phase should a situation occur.
2. Determine recovery objectives. How long can you live without access to a particular system? Define what you consider a disastrously disruptive event and set the maximum amount of time you can go without access to your employees, a technology system or something else you need to run the organization effectively.
3. Plan for common incidents. Learn from your history when planning for common incidents. What types of situations have you dealt with in the past? If one is more relevant than the other, plan for that type of incident first.
4. Communicate the plan. Staff members at all levels need to understand their roles in disruptive situations. Prepare a document to communicate the plan and place multiple copies throughout the office. You know where the fire extinguishers are, right? You should also know where this disaster response plan is located. Key points to remember when documenting your plan include organizational information, environmental (technology) information, who communications what (including any applicable spokespersons), testing schedules and plan maintenance.
5. Test your plan. Your plan is not complete until you test it. Often times it is not possible to pull the plug on the entire organization, so start during slower demand times. Having a Plan B is always a good idea, as well.

Disaster response planning may look like an overwhelming and complex task, but it's essential. Learn more about this topic and how you can make your organization stronger during an upcoming luncheon at Seasons 52, Keystone @ Crossing, from 11:30am-1:30pm on March 20.

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