This is a loaded question: “Is your company prepared for a natural disaster?” Our firm, in early 2015, would have to answer that question with a big fat NO. By mid-2015 we started wrestling with the thought of what we would do if our Savannah office was hit by a hurricane. (Just a reminder for all our coastal friends, Hurricane Season begins June 1!) Then we started thinking about our other two locations, Atlanta and Dublin, and other natural disasters: fire, tornado, or earthquake. Below is the Disaster Recovery Plan that we researched, adopted and implemented January 1, 2016.
The Plan is divided into cross-functional teams:
IT Systems Team
Internal Accounting Team
Business Insurance Team
Each team has their assignments and each team has a lead and a back up team member.
Primary Team: Responsible for funding approval for disaster recovery resources. The initial contact in the event of a disaster situation, and responsible for activating team leaders to begin recovery process. Leads the cross-functional teams. Responsible for reviewing plan documents and realistic test(s) of the Disaster Recovery process.
Recovery Team: Responsible for contacting the rest of the team members on a continuous basis, briefing on the disaster, and keeping the team on track to restore office functionality.
IT Systems: Responsible for acquiring servers/computers and other physical assets. Works with COLO (data storage facility) to restore any data that might be needed. Includes securing all backup data stored at offsite location and getting restored.
Communications: Responsible for contacting vendor(s) to keep phone service operational and setup at alternate sites. Assist with communication with team members and clients.
Facilities: Responsible for acquiring office space needed to continue business. Responsible if possible, relocating team members from location that is down to the other two offices to work. Also responsible for working on speedy repair of original offices.
Internal Accounting: Responsible for running the internal accounting for payroll, A/R, A/P and providing input on available funds for various disaster recovery needs.
Insurance: Responsible for contacting the firm’s insurance company and coordinating any emergency funding as well as claims process requirements.
In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew paid the Atlantic Coast a visit and the path
was directly headed to our Savannah Office. This was our firm’s first official test for the plan. All in all, we faired very well. It provided us the opportunity to re-evaluate what went really well and what we could improve on.
We sincerely hope your Company never goes through a natural disaster. We have learned having a Disaster Recovery Plan gives the Leadership and Team Members peace of mind that there is a plan in place for the “just in case” moments in life.
We have additional suggestions on how to create a disaster recovery plan. Please feel free to reach out to Rhonda Williams, Chief Operating Officer at TJS Deemer Dana LLP at or by calling 678.242.1303.