Business Safety – IT Disaster Recovery Plan

In a technology-driven world, IT disasters happen. In reality, IT disasters don’t ruin your business; poor preparation does. How do you know if you need a disaster recovery plan? Basically, unless you’re running your business out of a cave, you need one. To be more specific, you should have a disaster recovery plan if:

1. Your company has a growing dependence on computerized sales, operations, and employee tracking systems,

2. A technology disaster would significantly impact your firm’s financial standing,

3. Employees and/or vendors utilize your corporate technology infrastructure, and/or

4. Your company’s user and equipment growth is increasing the potential for system security failures.

Below, you’ll find three key steps to developing a comprehensive IT disaster recovery plan for your small business.

Awareness of Potential Disasters

The drivers of IT disasters can basically be broken down into two categories: internal forces and external forces. External forces affect the community at large, and internal forces are specific to your organization or industry.

Natural disasters are examples of external forces. Building systems failures are an example of internal forces. In larger metropolitan areas like Portland or Seattle, old buildings are notorious for upending work environments. Malfunctioning sprinklers, air conditioning, plumbing could create a potentially hazardous place to conduct your day-to-day operations. Also, consider information security disasters posed by hackers and phishing scam artists an internal force.

Awareness of Potential Consequences

Once you’ve identified all the potential disasters your small business may encounter, it’s imperative to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Given the disasters mentioned above, it’s likely you can expect to experience any one or combination of the following complications: compromising of sensitive information, loss of service, data loss, loss of power, property damage or loss, water damage, and employee injury or death. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list, and organizations should devote time to discerning the consequences they may face as a result of their unique operations, location, and industry.

Develop Disaster Recovery Plan

Finally, now that you know what to plan for, here are some elements to consider when creating a small business disaster plan.

— Establish a budget. Before developing a plan, assess how much time and resources your company can afford to invest in this crucial endeavor.

— Get good insurance. Read your policy and completely understand what you’re covered for.

— Formally draft your plan. Store physical copies of your plan it in safe, accessible location.

— Include step-by-step instructions. Detail the steps to be taken after the occurrence of a disaster.

— Include important and pertinent information. Provide detailed contact information for employees, clients, and vendors; alternative methods and locations for conducting business; and any critical resources to be recovered.

— Allocate an emergency fund. This is a designated fund specifically used to implement and/or supplement your disaster recovery plan.

— Test, test, test! Once you’ve developed an initial plan, continue to refine it by regular testing and practice to ensure that your plan is functional and effective.

Each organization’s plan will be tailored to its unique needs and assessments. Consequently, I recommend working closely with a professional IT management service. This not only ensures your company takes appropriate precautions to prevent the occurrence of an IT disaster, but also greatly aids the recovery process if such a disaster should occur.

~Richard McNeal, 2009

Is Becoming an Unclaimed Property Recovery Specialist Profitable?

The answer to this question is: it depends on which unclaimed property you are recovering. Some funds are great to work; others can be difficult for a number of reasons, and offer little in the way of profit to the money finder.

The more difficult funds to work are just about any funds held by the state (in the Unclaimed Funds Division/Department). These funds are generally things like forgotten bank account, uncashed refund checks, unpaid stock dividends, etc. They are generally for small amounts (under $1000). They are regulated by state law, which limits finder’s fee caps at 5-15%, and worst of all, they are very public. Most states have a website where anyone can type in their name and see if the state is holding any funds for them.

While this makes it easy for you to find funds, it also is easy for your competition to find them. Worse yet, when you alert the owner to the fact that they have missing money, all they have to do is go to that website and find out where it is for themselves – and pay you nothing. Obviously, to be profitable, you have to find a way to be able to keep your sources secret.

Forget those funds. The best funds for an unclaimed property recovery specialist to work are real estate created overages. These are funds arising from tax sale, and sheriff’s sale, as well as from some probate cases. They aren’t held at the state level, and so through this legal loophole you can charge 30-50%. And these are big funds. $10,000, $50,000 – even more, sometimes. You do the math.

These funds urgently need to be worked, because unlike most state funds, real estate overages escheat – that is, if no one claims them, after a short period of time, the government gets to keep them. So not only do you get the benefit of a nice income for yourself, but you get to save these owners – most of whom sorely need the money – from losing money they never even knew they had in the first place.

With more and more foreclosures happening monthly, there’s never been a more profitable time to become a unclaimed property recovery specialist. The government is holding literally billions of dollars in funds that will be lost permanently without the intervention of a money finder.

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