With any luck, it’ll be a long time before businesses again see the likes of the disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy. Still, the event provided some lessons in being prepared for lesser, but still lethal, problems caused by wintertime weather.
To ensure your disaster-recovery plan won’t come up short when you need it most, such as when snow or ice hits, consider these three best practices to test your Finance systems:
1. Have “unexpected” people run it. Sure, your payroll manager knows how to get paychecks out the door, even in less-than-ideal conditions. But what about your A/R clerk? She may be one of the only people to make it in during a stretch of bad weather. So you want to rotate the folks who test your plan to make sure it’s usable by anyone.
2. Create specific scenarios. Many plans focus on what happens in “an emergency.” But there are plenty of different things that can go wrong. So you want to make sure your company’s plan is being tested under a variety of possible scenarios: The server is down, power is out for a short period of time, your phone systems are down, etc. How would you react in each?
3. Don’t trust “smooth” results. Disaster recovery test go A-OK? You may not want to stop there. Experts say that’s a pretty good sign you may not have dug deeply enough. The whole point of DR testing is to find weaknesses you can shore up – no one is ready for everything. If your test came up clean, think about making some adjustments and running it again.
For more on securing your financials processes, see “How to Improve Disaster Recovery Preparedness.”