As companies of all sizes depend more and more on technology to get their daily tasks done, that dependency can increase the risk of, and severity of, an outage in the event of a natural disaster.
Looking at the headlines, it doesn't take long to see how floods, fires, hurricanes or other types of disasters can disrupt the normal operation of a small company. And while technology can play a key role in helping a company restore normal operations quickly, that restoration often depends on being able to access and take advantage of your company's tech tools.
For most small businesses, mobility and cloud computing are playing a larger role not only in normal operations, but also in disaster recovery plans.
Preparing for technical disaster involves two critical steps:
- Working to prevent tech-related problems, and
- Forecasting how the company will respond if operations are disrupted.
For many companies, being able to respond quickly is a major factor in determining how well, or even if, they survive an extended disruption. Depending on your location, for example, your primary business continuity risk may come from hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods or other disasters. Regardless of the risk or your location, however, it's vitally important to plan in advance for how your company would respond if the worst occurs.
In a workplace emergency, the safety of employees and customers is always the number one consideration. Smoke detectors, evacuation plans, regular safety drills and a posted list of emergency phone numbers are essential in preventing or reacting to a crisis.
Protecting your data is another important priority. Because natural disasters can affect a large geographic region, one of the most important aspects in business recovery planning is making sure critical data is not stored in one location. Probably the most effective approach for small business owners is using a cloud-based service that encrypts information and transfers it automatically to secure data centers.
It's also important to make sure the smartphones and tablets your company uses routinely are also backed up, since they often play as common a role in accessing and creating data as your company's laptops. Mobile devices have automated backup features as part of their operating systems, and it's important to take advantage of those capabilities.
You should also discuss your company’s disaster planning needs with your insurance professional to develop industry-specific risk management strategies.