How to Prepare Your Business for Natural Disasters – Pt. 1
Dan Levenson July 19, 2022
Natural disasters are an accepted part of doing business. If your venue is near a stormy coast, over a fault line, or subject to the great northeastern winds, then you have likely already experienced some of the effects natural disasters can have on any local business. Utilities might be knocked out, or your office may be flooded, damaged, or inaccessible. The computers in your building might be disabled. Your team might be trained or even in peril. What can a company do to prepare if you know that natural disasters are a risk in your region?
Fortunately, technology and forward-thinking offer all the tools you need to protect your business and your people. Here’s how to plan ahead and ensure business continuity in the face of local natural disasters.
Get Onto the Cloud
The cloud is the single most recoverable place to store your business data. Why? The cloud is immune to natural disasters. Every piece of data is stored not just on one remote server, but copies are stored on a network of servers around the world. This means that no one disaster, no single destroyed building or area, can jeopardize your stored data.
Programs like Salesforce, Flodesk, and Slack help you stay online even if your physical computers in the office are offline. Collaborative platforms, stored files, archives, and team projects; the more on the cloud the better when it comes to disaster recovery. Cloud storage is both disaster-proof and easier to reach for displaced employees working from home or from their evacuation site.
Backup Everything, Including Cloud Data
Your business data is precious, from your network configuration to your working files. This is why every savvy business has comprehensive backups ready to implement with a recovery plan. Backup recovery is the single most useful way to prepare for any kind of disaster – from tornadoes to ransomware – involving your business data or business computers. A backup can be a single file, a computer installation, or an entire network configuration. The right backups – changing files backed up frequently – can ensure that you can restore your company data (potentially, your entire digital infrastructure) even if your building flooded, burned, or shook to the ground.
Backup everything. Create a stable backup for your infrastructure and take regular backups of active files and projects. Take systematic and local backups of your cloud data as well, ensuring that a double-stacked disaster won’t put you at risk. Then store your backups both locally and on a separate cloud server.
Implement & Test Cloud Backup-Recovery Plans
Backup-recovery plans are the method by which you restore a backup to access your data. A backup that can’t be recovered is useless. The best recovery after a natural disaster (or a ransomware attack) is one where you know every step of the recovery. Use your infrastructure recovery plan to restore computers wiped clean in a storm or even install your system on brand new equipment.
Active data backups like platform version control can bring live projects and customer data back online. Take large-scale backups of the entire system and more selective backups of key data. Store it all remotely in the cloud so that no local server or even virtual network attacks can compromise your backups. Finally, test each backup with your recovery process to make sure the data is ready for nearly instant recovery from wiped or replaced hardware.
Prepare Your Team to Work Remotely
The recent pandemic has us much more prepared for natural disasters than ever before – specifically due to the remote work transition. When your team can work remotely, they can keep your company afloat even during and after a natural disaster. Employees who can work remotely can stay safely at home or evacuate to a safe location, then log in for work the very next day.
Provide a remote platform that both in-office and remote team members can use to collaborate, manage documents, and securely access company files from outside the building. A strong remote workflow allows your team to work effectively from anywhere, whether that’s their home office, traveling for business, or having safely evacuated from a natural disaster.
Get in Touch with Suppliers and Vendors
Natural disasters don’t just affect you and your team, they can also affect your suppliers, vendors, and other business partners in your production chain. Get in touch with your suppliers and vendors to coordinate emergency plans. Discover their plans for continuity should disaster strike – and cultivate alternate supplies in the event that your current suppliers are delayed or displaced by a natural disaster.
This article is for general information purposes only. It is not insurance, tax, legal, business, or other advice. For specific insurance questions related to you or your business, please contact our office.