If you mention names like Katrina, Edward or Andrew; most people will think hurricane. These storms washed over the coasts and did horrific damage to businesses and communities. Have we learned our lessons from these tragic natural disasters? Here is a list I came up with of 5 things businesses should do to protect themselves.
1. Have a disaster recovery plan in place.
Please take the time to create a detailed disaster recovery plan. This plan should cover what to do in case of minor outages (loss of power for a few hours). It should also cover what to do in case of a major catastrophe (like the loss of your building). Make a list of vendors and rental places and keep the document as a hard copy in a safe (and dry) place. The plan should discuss how you will get back up and running quickly, so the income loss is minimal.
2. Make a thorough contact list.
Imagine you have no power and hence no computers. Do you remember your insurance company’s number(s)? How about your suppliers? Now is the time to make a list of those critical people you will need to contact in case of emergency. This list should include your key employees as well – make a’ phone tree’ list whereby your management team is contacted and they in turn each call their subordinates and so on until everyone knows the status. Keep a hard copy of this list so you can access it even if you have no power. The list should include:
- Insurance companies
- Key employees (phone tree)
- Rental companies
- IT vendors
3. Get offline data storage
Offsite storage has some advantages because the servers are usually located in geographically separate areas, hopefully away from your particular disaster. On a scheduled time, an automatic data backup can run that backs up all important files and folder. If and when disaster strikes, you can remotely access these files with a laptop or PC at your home or other area unaffected by the disaster. With a hurricane this may be 20 plus miles away. A good tip here is to have a backup power supply, or even a solar laptop charger in extreme cases
4. Back up your data locally
In most cases a hurricane means minor building damage but sometimes longer power outages. So it’s also a good idea to backup locally in addition to online backups. When power is restored it is quicker to restore damaged machines from a backup located in your physical location. Restoring 1TB of data from an online source can take up to 1 month! So keep this in mind.
5. How will you work in ‘primitive’ conditions?
When was the last time you went camping? Imagine running a business from that campsite. Without electricity nothing runs. Computers, servers, air conditioning, some phone systems, hot water heaters and refrigerators are some of the items you will have to live without.. Can you work under these conditions? If not check (ahead of time – before the disaster) for companies that rent office space and conference rooms by the day or hour. These may need to be 40 or more miles inland from where you are. Have most employees work from home if possible. And use these rental conference rooms as command centers – communicate with staff and customers to keep them posted and reassured that you are still going strong.
Any other ideas? Please comment below.
Thanks for reading.