Protecting Your Business Assets

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By Jim Teece

Our business is over 30 years old and we have had floods, fire, freezing and COVID impact our business over the years. 

Here are 10 ways to reduce the impact if you are ever unable to access your office. We have an office at home as well to act as an offsite command center and we have had to use it several times as such. 

You want most of your important info securely stored in the cloud as a backup, but you also want hard copies of certain items in a fire proof safe In case the internet or cell service goes down and in a fire it does and will. 

If you are evacuated from both your office and your home you need to have a backup to the backup. 

  1. Use a cloud based service like Google Docs – I create lists using the spreadsheet tool and print hard copies for my off site backup. 
  2. Employee Names and Numbers – Make a list of your employees with addresses and cell numbers and spouse names if applicable. You should have a hard copy that is current and accessible by anyone that needs to get to it. 
  3. Insurance info – Who your agent is and your policy numbers as well as 800 numbers for emergencies etc. 
  4. Asset list – Once a year you file a property tax listing your fixed assets, serial numbers, date purchased and value. Have a copy of that. It may not be current if it’s August and it was printed in January but it will get you close. Train yourself to add to it as you make a major purchase. You might be doing this in your accounting system. That is fine, as long as you also print it out.
  5. Bank Info – What is your routing number and account number as well as contact info for your bank. 
  6. Passwords – This one is scary and almost not recommended, but the reality is that you need to be able to access your accounts and if you don’t remember your passwords then you have to go the long way to access your account. If you have 2 factor authentication turned on and the cell service is off, you need to have a backup for being able to log in. If you are in the middle of the crisis and local communications are out, you need to focus on surviving and helping others. Don’t worry about your accounts. 
  7. Key vendors. Maybe you will receive a huge penalty if you are late on a payment or services will get tuned off and it’s mission critical to your business. Make sure you have a list of these vendors and accounts and due dates. You will want to call them and explain the situation and ask them to grant you some unpenalized time to get back on track. Send them a link to news about the fire. 
  8. Data Backup. Having your offsite data backup is critical. Make a point of taking a backup of your companies important data offsite and lock into a fire proof safe. We do a daily backup with weekly offsite that is done over 4 different drives overwriting the oldest one and a quarterly backup that is never erased. You will want to backup to the cloud as well, daily. 
  9. Security. With power loss alarm systems fail. You might need to hire a security team to patrol your office. Have that relationship on stand by and ready to go.
  10. Porta Potties – One year floods took out the water supply for a couple of weeks. We still went to work, but I needed to provide bathroom service for my employees. Because I had the relationship already established and we called the night of the event leaving a message and getting in the queue, we were able to reserve one of the last ones they had and we became heroes to our entire neighborhood. 

The key is preparedness. In todays digital world, you need to have access to the critical data even if there is no electricity or internet.

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