Hurricane season puts your business at risk of data loss, facility damages, downtime, and many other inconveniences associated with natural disaster.
It's important that every business that may be affected by a hurricane is fully prepared for the devastation that could arise on and around their premises. It's crucial for businesses to have a solid business continuity plan in place, a plan that gives staff through guidance on procedures to follow in the event of a natural disaster.
There are three steps to follow in order to prepare your business for optimum functionality in the face of a hurricane. By ensuring that your business implements these steps, your assets, staff, customers, and stakeholders can feel confident that their data and investments are protected when a natural disaster occurs.
- Build a solid business continuity plan
Business continuity refers to maintaining or restoring the functionality of a business quickly in the event or a major disruption. A business continuity plan will outline all the necessary procedures to follow in the face of disaster. If implemented properly, a business continuity plan should maintain or restore optimum levels of functionality quickly and efficiently.
When creating a business continuity plan, you must assess all risks that may occur towards your business in the face of a hurricane.
Once these risks are established, you must then implement procedures and allocate staff and provisions to mitigate these risks and keep your business running smoothly and with as little interruption as possible.
Once the risks are established and coping strategies and mechanisms are put into place, the business continuity plan must be rigorously tested. This will ensure that all staff are able to follow procedures when under the stress of a natural disaster. Business continuity plans are the emergency backbone that will maintain momentum across your business until regular working conditions are restored following a hurricane or natural disaster.
- Ensure all Data is Backed Up
Liaise with your IT response team to ensure that all of your data is fully backed up. Data backup is a crucial component of your company's ability to recover following a hurricane. All of your employees need to know where copies of business-critical data are stored and how to access this information in the event of an emergency. Educate your IT response team on where to store data, and allocate key members of staff with the ability to access and disseminate data as and when they need to. Make sure that all of your security hardware and software is up to date and that all important information is protected with a relevant level of security.
Unfortunately, hackers and criminals will take advantage of any types of disaster to try and benefit from potential dips in security and damages to infrastructure. All data must be secured, backed-up, and accessible to trusted employees in order to maintain business continuity at all times.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What data is paramount to your normal business functions?
- Where is this data stored? Is this data stored outside of any zone that may be impacted by a hurricane or natural disaster?
- Who can access this data? Are they educated in line with business continuity procedures?
- How will employees access the data needed to perform their jobs to the best of their ability during a hurricane or natural disaster?
Although you may have a business continuity plan in place, you may also want to create a disaster recovery plan.
An effective disaster recovery plan will help to ensure that there are multiple copies of the the companies business critical data stored off-site, outside of areas that will potentially be damaged or destroyed by a hurricane impact zone.
It will also ensure that sufficient planning, infrastructure, and processes are put in place to facilitate the restoration of business critical data. Before creating a disaster recovery plan, take the following steps.
- Create a formal document that outlines disaster response protocol, the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the disaster recovery plan, critical contacts, and additional information pertinent to this process.
- Assess potential threats that can affect the daily operations and success of the company in the event of a disaster.
- Outline measures to prevent, detect, and resolve any disaster related issues.
- Create a geo-redundant data backup solution that can be accessed and put into place immediately with minimum downtime for the business.
- Have a through understanding of what data your company has, who can access it, and whether or not it is critical to the companies operations in the event of a hurricane.
- Test this plan regularly and rigorously and inform all employees of their roles and responsibilities in the event of a disaster.
- Regularly review and alter this plan in line with any changes to the companies management or infrastructure.
If your business is unfortunate enough to be located in a geographical area that is prone to hurricanes, you need to be fully prepared to sustain continuity and recover quickly when a hurricane occurs.
By following the measures outlined in this post you will see the importance of planning and testing sufficient plans to deal with the impact of a natural disaster.
As you can see, data is important to all businesses. The way this data is stored, accessed, and secured could be the difference between failure or success in the event of a natural disaster. It's also crucial that there are documents in place that staff can follow in order to sail through a disaster and fully understand and perform allocated roles and responsibilities without confusion.
Natural disasters such as hurricanes can close businesses and can sometimes cause massive loss in earnings and data if a business is unprepared to deal with these unfortunate situations. Employing the use of emergency notification system can help staff, management, and stakeholders to communicate and delegate roles and responsibilities during a natural disaster.
Be prepared for the next natural disaster and your business has a high chance of successful maintaining composure and security in the face of a hurricane.