Newest virus a reminder for contingency planning

The FBI issued a warning earlier this month about a virus created to hack both PC and Mac users by misdirecting Internet browsers.

Estimates put the number of computers infected in the millions. Most computer users don’t even know the virus is on their computers, but recognize that their computer is slower when web surfing or their anti-virus software was disabled.

The investigation, which began last fall, tracked down the culprits to Estonia. The FBI took over the servers, switching off the virus infecting servers, but feared the possible results of shutting them down. Instead, they created a free virus patch and free virus checker that takes only a few minutes to deploy at You have until July 9 to run the check.

More importantly, this is a reminder of the importance of developing a contingency plan to address computer virus attacks on your business.

Ask yourself, “What happens to your business if the Internet goes down in your computing system? Your building?”

And, “Could you survive a week offline?”

A backup plan is a must, says Dan Bobinski, CEO and director of the Center for Workplace Excellence.

“I think it’s imperative that companies have hard-drive backups for all documents, both on-site and off-site. For absolutely vital documents, make actual hard copies,” he says.

If companies don’t plan for such emergencies, there could be a definite loss of income, and that loss should be accounted for in formulating a plan. Bobinski says the biggest losses will occur in businesses that rely heavily on the Internet for providing services.

“As a training specialist, I developed a self-paced online Train-the-Trainer program for people who don’t have a travel budget or can’t afford to take time off from work. I have clients on four continents, and I wouldn’t have any of those clients if I couldn’t access the Internet,” he says.

Getting the plan into place is essential. It’s impossible to react on the fly and have success when it comes to overcoming a disaster.

“The ripple effects will probably be painful, but survival is almost certainly do-able,” he says. “When people become unemployed, they are maybe out of work for a year, yet they find ways to survive. Businesses can be equally resilient, because humans are resourceful creatures that find ways to make things happen.”

Find a qualified adviser to walk you through the contingency plan steps. Small businesses can hire advisers or find several agencies with information to help form a plan. Keep in mind, this should be a well thought through plan.

Once you establish this alternate plan, consider the following:

• Show the plan to all employees.

• Make certain employees understand their role and responsibilities.

• Train people to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

• Organize practices and drills (where practical).

• Regularly review the plan, remember technology changes almost annually, and there are personnel changes.

• Show revised plans to all employees and remove old copies.


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