5 Quick Tips for Preparing your Business for Hurricane Season
It only takes one hurricane to devastate an area, but last year there were three Category 4 Hurricane landfalls in a period of less than a month. A lot of businesses were not adequately prepared for one natural disaster, let alone three back to back. This hurricane season is projected to be just as active, and if we have learned anything from last year it is that hurricanes can occur at any time, with no forgiveness towards unprepared businesses.
It’s not difficult to prepare your business for any event, let alone a hurricane. But effort must go into making sure it is comprehensive, unique to your business, and updated annually. Read our five quick tips below on how to get started.
1) Develop a plan – Any plan is a good plan, if it is comprehensive and executable. Business Continuity plans outline what happens in the event of a natural disaster, power outage, data breach etc. BC plans account for actions that need to happen before, during and after a disaster, outlining details such as evacuation, communication, and remediation during an event.
2) Risk Assessment – Identify the parts of your business that are most critical. Are they hardware, software, or personnel? How will business continuity be affected should one of these things become unavailable for use? Is my business in an area or position to be more affected by an event? Think location and distribution of resources. These are the questions you should be asking when thinking ahead of the ways your business will be affected by an event.
3) Check your backups – Backing up data critical to business operation can mean the difference in a business recovering after an event or not. Develop a plan for storing a copy of your backups offsite, this could be a USB drive or a cloud back-up service depending on your business needs. Keep in mind that about 93% of businesses that suffer a significant data loss are out of business within five years (US Department of Labor).
4) Communications – Keep updated records of contact information for all employees, customers, vendors, suppliers and emergency services critical to business continuity. When you are developing your before, during, and after event plans, tell your employees! It is critical that everyone is on the same page and is aware of their roles in case communications are lost. After an event, reach out to your customers to let them you know you are open for business and plan to get involved with the community recovery effort.
5) Review and update your plan annually – An outdated plan is the same as having no plan. If your plan is not applicable to your business operations it could fail all together. Employee disaster training should be done annually and anytime contact information or operation changes occur, it should be implemented to the plan immediately.
According to the US Chamber Foundation, 43% of small-to-medium businesses fail after a disaster, and another 25% of business that do re-open, will fail within two years because they did not have a disaster plan. Having a disaster plan can mean the difference between your business recovering after a disaster or closing forever. The five quick tips outlined above will begin the process to developing a strong Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan. If you are still unsure of where to start, drop us a line today! We work alongside each one of our customers every year to make sure they are prepared when a disaster does occur.