Business continuity planning a key focus across the United States.

Red Cross focusing on business continuity planning

As part of its ongoing initiative to improve disaster response and recovery throughout the United States, the American Red Cross is working to promote continuity of operations planning, as well as its own Ready Rating program.

"If something should happen to their facility, how would they be able to continue to operate, how would they protect their financial records?" said Dave Rogness, emergency manager in Cass County, North Dakota. "Generally, the plan a business would develop would incorporate any kind of business interruption. A lot of businesses think insurance is all they need to do, that would take care of it. That product is only a small part of being able to recover. If their business operation is interrupted, a client will go look someplace else pretty quickly for another business that will provide that service or product."

In the Dakota's region, the Red Cross has been raising awareness of its free Ready Rating program, which helps companies perform a self-assessment of their disaster recovery planning, with a score at the end, as well as tools and resource suggestions for improvement.

Sarah Bundy, preparedness and recovery manager for the local Red Cross chapter in that area, noted that the goal of these efforts is to help companies diminish the interruption of operations and services throughout the region.

The Red Cross has reported that 40 percent of businesses fail to resume operations following a natural disaster. Furthermore, about 94 percent of small business owners anticipate an interruption of operations due to a disaster within the next two years.

These statistics don't have to be the case. Companies can optimize their continuity efforts with proper advising and support to leverage their resources more effectively in any crisis. The right disaster recovery advisor will help firms optimize their planning and deploy the right assets to protect themselves from any event.