Photo: Flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, TX in 2017
Understand your Local Environment
It’s August and hurricane season is upon us here in the United States. Torrential downpours, high winds, and downed power lines are the norm during this chaotic season. Preparing your business for hurricane season requires a risk assessment- one that considers your local environment. Assess nearby streams, rivers, lakes, and drainage systems. There could be a flood risk right outside your front door.
Flooding can occur in several areas, including in places where lakes and rivers are unable to contain excessive rain, waterways blocked with debris, and rising sea levels on coastlines. Understanding the natural environment where your business is situated could be the difference between successful preparation and consequential flooding.
Protect your Property
There are several considerations to protecting your property from flooding and a hurricane. To reduce the risk of damaged structures, elevate critical infrastructure, switches, appliances, etc. to higher levels in your building and away from windows. Depending on the strength of the storm, high wind gusts can shatter windows, leaving glass shards and heavy rain to penetrate through open gaps. If possible, board up windows before hand and clear gutters of debris. While sandbags have been a common method to protecting homes and businesses from flooding, some regions limit the number of sandbags you can pick up before a storm. Sandbagging doors, garages, and low-lying windows firs can help with initial flood threats.
Insuring your facility is another advisable step to protecting your business. While flood insurance may cover the cost of repairs due to flood damage, it will not cover lost documents, data, and business information. This makes protecting your data even more important, as its one of the many keys to maintaining business continuity during a flood or hurricane.
Protect your Data
Flooding can soil vital documents and damage hardware that stores important business data. Despite the strategies mentioned above, they can’t stop massive storm surge and feet of flooding from jeopardizing your business. Recent hurricanes, like Irma and Harvey, left miles and miles of destruction in their paths, submerging thousands of homes and businesses. For many, moving imperative infrastructure and files to higher levels just wasn’t enough. Instead, the businesses that backed up data to the cloud before these storms hit were able to quickly and efficiently restore operations and prevent prolonged downtime. Also, floods don’t just happen due to hurricanes. Faulty sprinkler systems and routine rain showers pose serious threats. Among the many benefits of backing up to the Cloud, your data will be safe and secure not just from flooding, but a number of other devastating disasters.