As the recent flooding in New England showed, you can never be too prepared when disaster strikes. Human Resources functions and especially payroll are critical to the ongoing mission of almost any organization. When things go wrong, the finger pointing starts and sooner or later they will be pointed at you. What can you do to prepare for the worst?
Start with these three things you will need, at minimum, in the event of a crisis or disaster. First, a solid . . . tested . . . complete backup of your data. Don’t wait until the crisis to test whether backups have been made and are complete; insist that your IT staff routinely test backing up and restoring your data. Have them restore a backup to a test environment to confirm that all required files are saved. If there is any question at all concerning access to a back up in the event of an emergency, consider backing up your HR data to an encrypted, external drive. External Drives of 500 GBs or more can be found for $150 or less. Even in routine situations, data backups are often taken off site to be archived and may take hours or days to recover. Having your own copy of your data could mean the difference between processing payroll now or a couple of days from now.
Secondly, you will need a copy of your installed software; updates since the last full build and installation codes. At Dresser & Associates, we maintain all of our client installation codes on file. We also provide our clients with copies of their software via download from our user portal. However, in the event of an emergency, internet access may be spotty or unavailable. Get copies of your programs in a durable format (CD or DVD) and store them, along with installation codes where you can get at them when needed.
Thirdly, make sure your staff is cross-trained in critical functions, like processing payrolls or reporting out emergency contact information. Every function in your group should have a backup. And don’t forget to keep that backup person’s training current so they can step in at any time and perform the duties of the person they are backing up. Learning on the job during a crisis is not an option.
Additionally, ask yourself, if you need to print checks, do you have a supply of stock, a printer, MICR ink etc.? Are there any other supplies you will need? Copies of forms; contact information for supplies; a fallback for getting to the bank in the event of a loss of the internet? How will checks be distributed if there is no mail delivery? There are lots of things to consider in your continuation plan for HR. The basics, however, are three: good data, reliable software and well-trained staff.
For more information on how we can prepare you for the next crisis that comes along, give us a call at 866.885.7217 or drop me a line at email@example.com