As headlines shout about Hurricane Florence approaching the East Coast later this week, with Helene and Isaac also stirring in the Atlantic Ocean, it seems as good a time as any to discuss preparing your business for hurricane season; and, really any adverse weather effects that could negatively influence your business. Preparing your business for events like these is key to its survival, making it crucial that you know what your responsibilities are when awaiting a potentially devastating event such as a hurricane.
Here, we’ll go through the steps that you should consider taking order to protect your business from potential disasters caused by the weather.
Have a Plan
First and foremost, you need to create a comprehensive plan that outlines the processes and procedures that will ensure the survival of your data. While you are at it, you should implement procedure to protect your business’ other crucial resource: your employees. This plan needs to cover a variety of scenarios and how each should be addressed, along with general emergency policies, like:
- The conditions under which the plan will be activated.
- The chain of command.
- The locations of emergency equipment around the office.
- Evacuation routes and meeting areas.
- Who is responsible for what procedures (including those that pertain to external visitors to the office).
This plan should also contain a detailed outline of other matters, including a strategy by which to communicate with your customers and clients to keep them informed about how you are handling the situation. It also doesn’t hurt to keep a copy of your company’s insurance policies with you as well.
You also want to make sure that your employees are familiar with your emergency procedures, so that they know what they need to do and where they need to go if some weather disaster strikes and causes the business to close for any length of time.
Preparing Your Business Itself
Once you’ve ensured that you are prepared to get any human personnel out of the building and to safety, you need to consider how you can ensure that your business is protected. Ideally, you may be able to continue operations despite the storm, but if situations arise that make that impossible, you have to have a plan for continuity in place.
We recommend a few different technologies to assist you with this, as they are well-suited to business continuity needs.
The cloud is one of the most effective ways to protect your data and enable your business’ continuity. The cloud makes it possible for you to store your organization’s crucial data off-site, away from the risks that a given disaster (in this case, a hurricane) presents to it. Traditionally, a business’ data is often stored in more than one place, but with a cloud-based backup system, it is redundantly backed up in data centers far from your business. This ensures that a disaster doesn’t destroy both your in-house data and the backup you have in the cloud. With your data backed up in the cloud, it is not only safely protected, you can continue to work with it from wherever you can establish a secure connection. In order to get a backup solution that you know will work for your business continuity needs, you will want to routinely test your cloud-based backups.
The opportunity to do so much computing with a device that can be easily moved around makes mobile devices an essential component to your business continuity plan. After all, even if your data is safe in the cloud, you need a device in order to access it. Having an established Bring Your Own Device policy in action, or distributing work devices to your employees could both help to meet this need; and, as a result, put your organization back in operation much more quickly. Your mobile device is also a useful way to keep your clients apprised of your situation, which they will be sure to appreciate. Your remote connectivity should also be confirmed through proactive testing.
Of course, there is far more that needs to be addressed in any preparedness strategy, and a hurricane can be a real test for any continuity strategy you’ve created. If you are looking for assistance in preparing your business for a potential disaster, reach out to the professionals at Directive by calling 607.433.2200.