Recent storms such as Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria have reinforced the need for small businesses to prepare by backing up their data. This is true even for companies that are not in hurricane zones. Important records must be safeguarded and emergency plans should be established to help the organization maintain its continuity in the face of the unexpected. Below are some tips for doing this effectively.
Secure Your Sensitive Documents
Companies should make a habit of duplicating documents which are critical, such as bank statements, payroll records and tax returns. They should be stored in containers which are waterproof and which are stored in locked areas which are separated from normal documents. Documents should also be stored electronically and placed on a flash drive, DVD or other forms of removable storage. Storage technology will change and advance over time, but the need to store data won’t.
If You Use Third Party Payroll, Find Out If They Offer Fiduciary Bonds
If your company uses third party payroll, it is critical to find out if they provide fiduciary bonds. The reason for this is because these bonds will protect your company in the event that the payroll service defaults. Many companies make use of third party services to process their payroll more efficiently.
Know The Threats of The Area In Which You’re Based
Hurricane season starts around June and ends by November 30th, so companies which operate in Florida, the Gulf Coast or Caribbean should be aware of this and prepare accordingly. But preparation isn’t limited to companies that operate in Hurricane zones. Natural and manmade disasters can occur anywhere and jeopardize the operations of businesses which are present in the region.
For instance, any company based near an active volcano should be prepared for the possibility of an eruption. Any businesses that operate in California, which has a history of earthquakes, should be prepared for that eventuality. Organizations which operate in unstable countries known for political upheaval or terrorism should have contingencies set in place to rapidly evacuate and protect employees and valuable data.If a nationwide disaster occurs which is federally declared, companies may contact the IRS at 866-562-5227 to talk with someone trained to respond to such emergencies. Employers have the option of asking for backup copies of tax returns which were filed in the past, along with attachments such as tax statements and W-2 forms. This can be done by completing Form 4506.
The Consequences of Not Preparing
Companies that fail to prepare for the unexpected runs the risk of being completely destroyed when disaster occurs. The recommendations here are more for smaller businesses than larger businesses, as most fortune 500 and 1000 corporations have elaborate contingencies including underground vaults and bunkers. It is small and medium sized businesses that have a greater tendency to be lackadaisical when it comes to preparedness, which may partly stem from having access to fewer resources. Regardless, businesses of all sizes must prepare the best way they can.