Well, it’s official. The Federal Government has shutdown.
While this impact is going to be felt around the country, especially depending on how long this shutdown lasts, it is going to be felt first right here, in our own backyard. The Washington DC metro area, Northern Virginia, and Maryland are going to be among the first places affected, mainly because of their proximity to the capital and the large number of people living in those states who work for the Federal Government.
While the Government now works to decide which offices are deemed “essential”, and will stay open during this shutdown, it is important to think about what type of impact this will have on businesses that are not part of the Federal Government. And, even more importantly, what business owners need to be doing to protect their organizations from the short and long-term impact of a shutdown.
A couple of weeks ago, Network Depot hosted a live seminar where our VP-COO, Paul Barnett, spoke about the importance of planning ahead for unforeseen disasters and making sure your organization has a business continuity plan in place for every situation. During this seminar, one of the things he spoke about was being aware of your surroundings, and how your location can have a real impact on the continuity of your business. There were two examples he gave. First, he showed a real-life situation from a number of years back where a train got derailed that was carrying chemicals. The businesses that were near those train tracks had to be closed for a few days while the spill was cleaned up and it was deemed safe to return to the building. The next example he gave was broader, he spoke about how, since we are located in an area that is close to the capital, we need to be aware of the state of things. Being so close to important buildings, there is the very real possibility of terrorist threats impacting our businesses, even if we are not part of the Federal Government. He talked about how, after the bombing at the Boston Marathon earlier this year, all buildings within a two-block radius were closed for a week while the investigation took place.
So let’s take a look at the current situation, which is a perfect example of something that does need to be included in your disaster recovery plan, even if you are not a part of the Federal Government.
Ask yourself some basic questions to start:
- Do you have clients that are part of the Federal Government? What does this mean for them? Is there any way you can help them?
- If you have clients that are part of the Federal Government, how does this shutdown impact your relationship with them?
- Do you have clients who have clients that are part of the Federal Government? How does this impact them? How does that impact you?
There are organizations out there, such as non-profits connected to national parks and monuments, or lobbying firms, or government consulting firms, which are not technically part of the Federal Government, so they will technically not be directly impacted by this shutdown. However, they will feel it immediately. After all, if your company deals with government organizations, and the government isn’t running…who will your clients be?
- Are you in a building that is owned by the Federal Government? If so, will your building stay open?
- If your building is not going to stay open, are you still able to run your business? Do you have a contingency plan for phone lines, email, remote desktop connections for employees, etc.?
Even though it’s not something we need to think about often, it’s a situation that can cause a big impact for many businesses, even those not part of the Federal Government, especially if it lasts. Keep in mind that the last government shutdown happened in 1995 and lasted for over 20 days. How long do you think the shutdown will take before your business feels the impact?
If you would like to discuss how the government shutdown will impact your business and how to put together a plan to keep your business running, give us a call!