Protecting against disaster

At Madisons we can provide businesses in the Manchester area with a range of advice. Here are some useful ideas for protecting against disaster.

With the increasing reliance of companies on computers and the internet it is more important than ever that firms devise a strategy for dealing with disaster. However, research shows that many small businesses have no plan in place for coping with a crisis.

Disasters take many forms, including 'natural' causes such as floods or storms, and 'man-made' calamities caused by human error or sabotage. Careful preparation will minimise the impact on your business, so you should act sooner rather than later. Here are some of the areas to consider:

Hazard avoidance
Valuable equipment should be kept away from potential hazards, such as water pipes. Important IT equipment should be kept on upper floors to minimise the impact of a flood and desks left clear overnight to reduce the risk of fire.
Safety
Fire equipment, including alarms and extinguishers, should always be in full working order. Escape routes should be clearly marked and accessible at all times, and floors free from obstructions.
Security
Undertake a review to ensure that security measures are adequate, with locks and alarms in working order.
IT and information protection
Firewall and anti-virus software should be up to date, and a policy enforced to ensure that unsolicited emails are not opened. Important information should be backed up and a copy kept in a separate, secure location. Sensitive data should only be accessible to key members of staff.
Insurance
Insurance policies must be valid and offer sufficient cover, including buildings, contents and key personnel.
Contingency plans
The business should have a disaster plan detailing possible hazards and likely outcomes, and setting out the individual roles of members of staff. The plan should be reviewed regularly.
Emergency routine
Staff should practice the emergency procedures.
Recovery
You should have a recovery plan, complete with a time-scale for action.

Remember that being prepared could make all the difference to the well-being of your staff and the long-term survival of your business. Even if the worst doesn't happen, you will reap the benefits, by reducing your vulnerability to everyday risks and improving staff confidence.

If you are in the Manchester area and would like professional assistance from experienced accountants and business advisers, contact the team at Madisons today.

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Madisons is a trading name of Madison Business Services Limited Registered office: Bushbury House, 435 Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester, M20 4AF. Company Number: 03800186, VAT Registration Number: 741 1182 67 Registered to carry on audit work in the UK and Ireland and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Details about our Audit Registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk and www.cro.ie/auditors for Ireland under reference number C009016107.
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