As we enter the heart of hurricane season in the U.S., millions of Americans have begun preparing their homes and their families for the devastation a storm can bring, but how many businesses are prepared for the impact of a potential storm? Not as many as you may think. In fact, according to the Red Cross, about 40 percent of small businesses never reopen following a major disaster.
Businesses with disaster recovery plans already in place prior to being affected are in a much better position to rebound, resume operations and minimize disruption. Planning shouldn't take place when you are in the middle of a disaster. To ensure your business isn't susceptible to prolonged down time, take the following actions to protect your business.
Conduct a Risk Assessment Analysis
This analysis should address all functions of your business – from accounting to IT and from HR to supply chains should have their specific risks assessed. The safety of personnel, data and business critical documents should be analyzed to determine the impact of worse case scenarios as well as the potential financial losses. The more detail put into the analysis will yield a better plan.
Develop a Formal Plan
Once you've identified vulnerabilities, make disaster recovery a top priority and create a formal plan. Three quarters of companies without a comprehensive strategy go out of business within three years of disaster striking. Business continuity planning must take into consideration all functions of an enterprise. To be fully prepared it's crucial to be flexible, creative and redundant.
Identify a Disaster Recovery Team
Someone needs to be in charge. Gather a team of employees who can implement the plan. This team will be responsible for updating, auditing and revising the plan as needed. They should also be prepared to communicate and update employees and customers.
Have A Place to go
Your office may not be accessible following a disaster and working from home may not be an option for all employees. Companies can use flexible workspaces to ensure a professional work environment can be mobilized quickly in the wake of a disaster. A safe space with access to phones, Internet and administrative support can be accessed on demand, all in an effort to ensure business carries on as usual. Flexible workplace providers offer a scalable model that can be adjusted throughout the disaster to accommodate developments as they happen.
Go To the Cloud
Make sure your data is backed up. Cloud computing makes it easy to keep your documents secure and allows you access to them wherever you are. Cloud data storage is affordable, scalable and provides rapid access to data allowing businesses to be functional within minutes.