For many businesses, the current year of 2020 ticks all the right boxes for being a year of disaster. With all of the lockdown measures, new regulations and general disruptions brought upon businesses in all industries by the outbreak of COVID-19, many people have been left to rue the absence of a properly formulated Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). Something that many businesses neglect in these plans is what’s going to happen to all of their physical mail. In this blog, we’ll outline and define what a DRP is, what is typically included in them by most types of businesses, and how UK Postbox can be utilised to manage your physical business mail in the event of a disaster.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan is a set of procedures or rules, formulated by a business as guidelines to follow in the event of a man-made, natural, national or even global disaster. These guidelines are structured in order to outline what the company needs to keep going, during and after these events, with as little impact on the running of the business as possible. A Disaster Recovery Plan is an essential piece of what should be your broader business contingency plan; something you apply to the parts of your business that need a functioning IT system.
Some of the main aims of a Disaster Recovery Plan include:
- The proper management, protection and security of any sensitive data or information.
- Effective budget planning in the event of a disaster, including where and how resources are allocated
- Implementing clear processes to follow in the event of a disaster, and training staff beforehand so that everyone knows their role in the wake of a disaster.
- Adequately insuring the business against any disruption a disaster may cause.
What should be included in a disaster recovery plan?
When putting together your business’s disaster recovery plan, there are several vital considerations, including:
Determine Critical Needs
Your business must evaluate its processes and decide which are the most critical. Identifying these priority processes should be the first step you take in outlining a disaster recovery plan, and some examples of critical functions that your business may need to make sure are covered include:
- Product/services and the delivery of these services
- Product/service development
- Processing of payroll for staff
- Customer service
- Human Resources (HR)
- Mail management and distribution
One of the biggest priorities in your disaster recovery plan should be how you intend to protect your most valuable and sensitive data. This includes how you should access your data storage solutions in the event of a disaster. You should also consider how to keep the continuity of your business going, with regards to the organisation of things such as customer data, orders, shipments and much more. You need to make sure to fully document what you need when it comes to managing and storing data in these kinds of situations.
When it comes to a disaster, a plan for your internal and external communication is vital, because it means that everyone at your company will be on the same page regarding what processes you need to follow and what needs to happen amidst a disaster. Employee contact information needs to be updated, and all employees need to understand what their specific roles are in the days following the disaster.
During a disaster, you will need guidelines for how the business's assets and equipment is going to be managed, and by who. Circumstances might facilitate the need to work remotely, so steps may need to be taken in your disaster recovery plan to ensure all employees have access to the equipment they’ll need so that the business can continue to run smoothly.
Test your DRP
Planning for disaster recovery should always be a continual process, and part of planning this process will be to test your DRP regularly. This testing is to ensure that your plan is up to date with the current business circumstances, that your staff know what they’re doing when it comes to implementing the plan, and that your documented procedures are both appropriate and effective. Any necessary updates that you find are needed after any checks need to be executed quickly to avoid potential problems in the future when the plan is required.
Disaster Recovery & Mail
Physical mail is still an incredibly important cog in the running of businesses to this day. Yet, it is something that you may forget to include in your disaster recovery plan for your business, or at the very least, you may not know what you can do to manage your mail in a crisis. This has been exacerbated by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, during which many businesses have lost access to their physical premises, and in turn are losing track of, and access to, their business mail.
UK Postbox can provide a solution for how you can continue to use physical mail amongst your business during a disaster. With our virtual addresses and mail management services, we will be sure to find a mail solution that works for you and slots away nicely into your disaster recovery plan for your business.
How UK Postbox can help
UK Postbox can offer you an efficient, easy to follow solution to managing your business mail online, without having to deal with the physical mail itself. This solution is especially useful as part of a business contingency plan when you no longer have easy access to your physical mail. With UK Postbox you can:
- Get a virtual address: Upon signing up for our business address service, we’ll provide you with a unique virtual address to hold your mail, from a variety of different locations of your choice.
- Redirect your business mail: With this service, you can set up a royal mail redirection from your office to your UK Postbox address, or arrange for a private courier to deliver the items to your UK Postbox address.
- Be notified when mail arrives: When mail arrives for you at your new virtual address, our team can scan the outside of the envelope or parcel, and then assign a unique barcode to the item, before notifying your account.
- Manage your mail online: Using our online platform, you can manage all of your inbound and outbound business mail using a variety of features. You can request us to open and scan the contents of your mail, forward mail on to another location, and even send a reply on your behalf with our sending mail online service.
That concludes this article exploring what Disaster Recovery Plans are, and what they mean for your business. Covering everything from some of the typical things you should include in them, why they are so valuable for your business in times of strife, and how we specifically can help you to have mail contingency plans as part of your comprehensive disaster recovery plan, we hope you have taken something valuable from this article.