An unexpected natural disaster can set back or even shut down your business if not anticipated in advance and precautionary measures instituted. If your business is in tornado alley (North Dakota to Texas, but even as far east as Ohio and Georgia!) it's susceptible to very high winds and flying debris which may result in serious damage to the buildings and other infrastructure during a tornado. It is important to get your business up and running as soon as possible after a tornado. The longer it takes for your business to resume operations, the more likely it is to ultimately fail. According to the Institute of Business and Home Safety, about 25 percent of businesses do not reopen after a natural disaster.
To ensure the recovery of your business after a tornado, there should be a previously established business continuity plan in place. A business continuity plan is a strategy that ensures that a business is able to resume normal business operations in a short period of time after a disaster. Discussed below are the key steps in setting up a business continuity plan for your business.
1) Perform a business continuity assessment
A business continuity assessment is the first step in the development of a business continuity plan. This assessment details the current level of readiness of your business in the event of a natural disaster. For a tornado, some items that must be checked include:
- The vulnerability of buildings to high winds and flying debris
- Availability of proper equipment
- Means of communication during and in the aftermath of a tornado
- Data recovery strategies
In obtaining a business continuity assessment for your business, it is advisable to engage the services of a disaster recovery specialist.
2) Have a disaster recovery plan
Having a disaster recovery strategy is a key component of a business continuity plan. A disaster recovery plan outlines the measures to be taken to restore data to a business after a natural disaster. To ensure that your business can continue functioning after a tornado, it is important to back up all your data to multiple locations separate from each other; this creates data redundancy that helps to guard against any data loss. Failure to maintain backups may result in the loss of critical data that could hinder the resumption of operations after a tornado.
When backing up your data, it is important to consider where your data backup will be stored. The optimal place to keep and maintain your data backup is in the Cloud. There are several benefits to storing your backup in the Cloud rather than in a separate physical location, including:
- Cost – Storing your data backup in the Cloud negates the need to operate more than one physical data center, thereby saving your business money. In addition, the Cloud service provider assumes the responsibility of maintaining and securing your data in the Cloud.
- Scalability – Storing your backup data in the Cloud means that you never have to worry about running out of storage space as cloud storage is practically limitless. Therefore, you can back up as much data as necessary in accordance with your disaster response strategy.
- Telecommuting – Your employees may not be able to return to work after a tornado as a result of damage to the buildings. With your backup in the Cloud, your employees can access the data remotely and perform their tasks with minimal interruption.
3) Establish a communications strategy
Providing your employees with the proper communication tools is essential to the recovery of your business in the aftermath of a natural disaster. After a tornado, your employees need to be able to communicate with each other to coordinate the initiation of recovery measures so that normal business operations may resume. With that in mind, it's important to invest in technology that can facilitate communication and collaboration among your employees. In addition, having the right communication tools helps in the event that your employees are unable to come to work and have to work remotely. The communication tools ensure that your workers can remain productive regardless of their physical location.
For further information about establishing a business continuity plan for your business, contact us today.