Depending where your business is located, the risk attached natural disasters can vary. To help, here is a survival reference guide to ensure your business can weather any storm. Since it is hurricane season, let’s use hurricanes as a point of reference for this guide. Hurricanes and tropical storms wreak havoc through a combination of heavy wind and rain. They may also be accompanied by surging tides that flood that affected area.
Hurricanes and tropical storms impact businesses in the following 3 ways:
- Damage to the facility due to high winds, flooding, and objects that become high-speed projectiles capable of smashing through windows, roofs and other structures.
- Extended power outages, road closures, and other lasting damages can put a facility out of reach for at least a week.
- Regional impact can affect customers, supplies, and business partners – as well as the homes of employees.
On average, a dozen named storms occur along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts each year. Major disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, illustrate the potential damage that can result when these events strike heavy populated areas.
Approaching storms usually have an advance warning as they approach. However, because the paths of the storm are difficult to predict, these warnings can often be false alarms. THis si the reason why some businesses fail to respond to storm warning due to the “Cry Wolf” syndrome.
Hurricanes and tropical storms can put a data center out of commission for a day or longer. All businesses, especially those operating in hurricane-prone areas, should be prepared. Preparation should include the following:
- Continuous off-site backup of data and applications.
- The ability to restore IT operations in the cloud and/or site in an area less likely to be affected by the storm. This can be areas that are more inland from the coast.
- Website posting that alerts customers and partners about storm preparation-along with frequent post-storm updates to track the progress of recovery.
Major storms can affect regions for an extended period of time. Business continuity plans need to include the following:
- Availability of a sufficient facility, away from the affected area.
- Temporary housing necessary for key employees whose homes are also in the path of the storm.
- Internal communications for keeping employees updated on resource availability and recovery status.
- Any required third-party contracting for key services, such as shipping & receiving, mail processing, etc.
Aside from making sure their own operations continue uninterrupted in the event of a regional disaster, businesses should be prepared to help their nearby customers and partners to get through the crisis. Planning should include:
- Communications with local/regional customers and suppliers who may also be impacted by the storm in advance.
- Pre-determined policies regarding turnaround times, invoice processing, scheduled service visits, and other activities affected by the storm.
- Direct servicing of customers by supply chain partners, where feasible.
To learn more or obtain assistance for disaster recovery and business continuity, schedule a free technology assessment from QWERTY Concepts. We will help you determine the best strategy to weather any storm.