How Prepared Is Your Business for a Natural Disaster?

Natural disaster preparedness plan.

It’s the difference between your company making it through a tornado or freak snowstorm and getting buried under the financial repercussions of the event.

If you haven’t yet experienced a natural disaster in your area, it’s easy to ignore the importance of having a natural disaster plan.

It’s also very easy to believe your business won’t ever be hit by one.

The aftermath of a natural disaster on your business’ operations, sustainability and revenue can be devastating. It’s important that your business prepare NOW for the possibility of a natural disaster in the future.

What you need

Your business needs to establish two types of natural disaster plans so you’re ready to respond to an event and ensure that you can operate your business after the natural disaster, and until things return to normal.

  • Disaster recovery. After the natural disaster is over, a disaster recovery plan will help your business restore its operations and IT infrastructure. This step is just one component of a business continuity plan.
  • Business continuity. This is a plan that takes the entire organization’s business operations and continuity after a natural disaster.

What you need protection from

A business continuity plan is essential for mitigating multiple types of disasters. From an act of terrorism to a power failure, if your system crashes, it could have the same effect on your business as a fire would for a retail store.

The causes of a data loss or power outage run the gamut, so you need to be prepared for a hurricane, flood or tornado (which account for 15% of natural disasters). Other causes include network/software failures (54%) and human error (41%).

In fact, human error caused the loss of “Toy Story 2”, after hundreds of hours of work and two months spent devoted to the project. An unintentional command was set off, causing the files to be deleted off the servers. Eventually, the deleted files were recovered, with a little bit of luck. But the film company was fortunate to have gotten away so easy  –  without a disaster recovery plan to recover files.

Check out which 5 IT security threats can harm your business at any moment – and what you can do to stop it.

Building your plan

Start with a business continuity plan, and then follow with the disaster recovery plan.

Business continuity

Here are the steps involved:

  • Determine the plan’s scope.
  • Identify your business’ key areas.
  • Make a list of critical functions.
  • Connect interdependent business functions and key areas.
  • Agree on an acceptable amount of downtime for business functions.
  • Come up with a plan to ensure operations are maintained.

Make sure your plan includes a list of all of your business’ equipment and supplies, where you store data backups and the location of backup sites, where the plan is located and who has access to the plan, and contact details for critical personnel, backup site providers and emergency responders.

Disaster recovery

Your IT department should come up with a disaster recovery plan as a component of your business continuity plan. It should include components like contact information for key IT personnel and the entire company as well. You’ll also need information for your web server hosting, phone system provider, internet, and so on. You’ll also need to prepare alternate forms of communication for internet and phone, as well as power sources (such as a generator and propane gas).

The best plans are tested, so be sure that your team spends time putting the plans through the paces to be sure that all the pieces are in place. If a natural disaster or power outage strikes, you’ll be prepared to endure it for the long haul.

Your business needs to be ready. Create a comprehensive business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan to make sure you’ve covered all the bases. No matter what disaster strikes, whether human error or natural event, your business will be able to survive and thrive.

Does your organization have a business continuity or disaster recovery plan? If so, how developed is it?

 

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