Clareity Consulting, which provides information technology consulting to the real estate industry and its related businesses, has issued a white paper discussing the need for disaster recovery planning.

“Many business risks can be avoided via a rigorous, expert assessment of the physical plant, personnel practices, flood/water controls, housekeeping, fire controls, electrical power, climate control, IT operations and security practices. Regardless, business continuity risks can never entirely be eliminated, whether it is due to employee failings or more difficult to control issues, such as natural disasters and criminal activity,” according to the paper, “Planning for Disaster.”

The paper poses the question: “What would your organization do if its main office was destroyed by an earthquake, flooded by a nearby river, consumed by fire, or affected by a criminal or terrorist attack?”

Clareity recommends that company develop a formal, written Business Resumption Plan (BRP) that accounts for each circumstance. These plans are intended to allow businesses to help minimize business downtime and loss of productivity following a disaster.

Businesses should create a team that is focused on the business recovery effort, assigning responsibilities to team members, according to the white paper.

“As described later in this paper, a good BRP will include all of the information needed to resume business, and include step-by-step, definitive procedures for each team member to follow throughout the business resumption process. If it is determined clearly in advance which team members are leading specific efforts and which other human resources they have to work with, then the organization can work efficiently – using all of the resources available to it to recover from the incident as quickly and gracefully as possible,” the paper states.

It’s important to collect updated contact information for team members, and to develop clear lines of communication, Clareity notes.

A site or sites should be selected as a meeting place or coordination site following a disaster, in the event an office or offices are not accessible.

“Ideally a location is specified that is near one or more of the off-site locations where you store your BRP, has room for your staff to meet, and has office facilities including desks, phones, fax machines, Internet access and any other capabilities you need to coordinate – or even stage – the recovery effort,” according to the paper. Businesses should also develop public relations plans to make sure that the right information is disseminated to the media and public, the white paper states.

The Clareity paper also lists some items and information that will be valuable when setting up a temporary office site, among them: Insurance information, operating systems and software applications, encrypted password files, data backups, Internet communications capabilities, and critical files and documents.

“This paper was designed to provide a starting point for disaster planning, and Clareity hopes that the guidelines presented in this paper encourage further planning activities and help improve the capabilities of real estate organizations to respond to disasters and other business disruptions,” according to a company statement.

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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