You're busy. If you're not handling a customer inquiry, you might be working on a new enrollment, or trying to answer an agent commission question, or following up with one of your carriers - the list goes on and on.
I would urge you however, to take a quick moment and ask yourself - does my insurance agency have a disaster recovery plan in place? In a conversation with NU Online, David Paulison, former executive director of FEMA said "Small businesses that don't have a plan in place generally don't survive after a disaster, whether it's a flood or a tornado. We see that anywhere from 40-60 percent of those that are hit like that simply don't come back to business." He then added, "The truth is that it's not that difficult to put a plan together to survive any type of catastrophic event-a disaster or something like H1N1."
When you hear the term "disaster recovery", you may immediately think of a large event like Hurricane Katrina, but you may be surprised that natural disasters are not the leading cause of data loss.
Take a look at the following results from a study by Strategic Research Corporation showing the leading causes of business continuity incidents:
- Hardware Failures (servers, switches, disk drives, etc) - 44%
- Human Error (mistakes in configurations, wrong commands issued, etc) - 32%
- Software Errors (operating systems, driver incompatibility, etc) - 14%
- Viruses and Security Breach (unprotected systems are always at risk) - 7%
- Natural Disasters - 3%
So how do you get started on your disaster preparedness plan?
The first step of your plan should be to move to the cloud. When your store your client information, documents, emails, etc. in the cloud they are stored on multiple servers and backed up constantly. If every piece of hardware in your office were to crash, you would still have all of the information that you stored in the cloud. When you store your information in the cloud you are no longer prone to any hardware failures, viruses, natural disasters, etc.
Here at AgencyBloc, we take security very seriously. All data and attachments stored in AgencyBloc are written to multiple locations instantly, backed up multiple times throughout the day, and stored in multiple physical locations (even our backup location has a backup). AgencyBloc is hosted in world-class data centers, utilizing industry-proven architecture for security, reliability, and redundancy.
Regardless of your agency management system, every agency needs to have a comprehensive plan in place to ensure preparedness for any major event. Don't let the thoughts and tasks be overwhelming; it all starts with education, and thankfully organizations such as the Small Business Administration and FEMA have free and helpful resources:
SBA - http://www.preparemybusiness.org/
FEMA - http://www.ready.gov/
Steve Anderson, the leading authority on insurance agency technology, productivity and profits presented a free webinar called "The Digital Revolution: Creating Effective Document Management Systems". Storing your documents in an safe, online location is one of the first steps in being prepared for a disaster.
View Webinar Recording