Businesses were just hit with one of the worst disasters possible, and many of them were not prepared. It’s not often that a global pandemic hits, but businesses that were prepared to react to it were much more successful than ones that were forced to make arrangements. So while many businesses were overrun with new costs brought forth by the pandemic, the businesses that considered a situation like the one we’ve been facing for well over a year, and had a strategy for what they needed to accomplish to keep continuity during an event such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are faring quite a bit better than those that didn’t have a plan. This month we thought we’d outline a few ways to prepare your business to avoid disaster.
Learning to Identify Risk
The first thing you will want to do for your disaster preparedness plan is to identify risk. As we were starting earlier, not many businesses had contingencies specifically for “worldwide pandemic” but you can bet they will now. It doesn’t matter if it is a worldwide pandemic that significantly alters your business plan seemingly overnight, a natural disaster that literally tears the roof off your business, or a data loss disaster that stems from one of your employees getting hacked, you need to have a contingency plan that helps you maintain continuity.
Identifying them and building a plan to overcome these problems is key to the continuity process. Otherwise, the downtime that comes with an event like this could conceivably ruin your business. Some disasters include:
- Worldwide pandemic
- Snow and ice
- High winds
- Chemical spill
- Malware attacks
- Hardware failure
There are more, but you get the idea. Anything that can knock your business off the proverbial rails can be considered a disaster, especially if it holds the potential to have long-term negative impacts on your ability to do business.
Let’s run through some considerations you need to have to keep your business running after a “disaster”.
Implement End-to-End Plans
Sure, your business continuity is at stake in every disaster scenario, but more importantly than that, your employees are likely at risk as well. This is why any disaster preparedness plan has to address employee safety first. You need to develop a workable evacuation plan that includes maps and routes for people to get to safety. This seems pretty self explanatory, and in most places it’s part of the health and safety inspection, but even if it weren’t, doing your part to keep your staff, customers, and other people safe has to be a major consideration.
Every organization needs to have a contact strategy. This includes:
- Whom employees should contact inside or outside of the company for additional information.
- Who is required to stay onsite in a particular situation.
- Who is required to manage rescue and medical issues.
- Who is required to contact employees to address situations
The organization will also want to have a plan for dealing with employees or customers that have special circumstances such as mobility issues.
Have Your Data Backed Up
Most businesses don’t have a failover system that includes a second computing infrastructure in place so that if something goes wrong with the first one, the second one is available just to keep on going. A backup and disaster recovery solution is about as close as most businesses are going to get to that.
Firstly, today’s backup platforms not only make it possible to back up data incrementally, as your staff works with the data, it also features backups stored in multiple places. If your hardware takes a hit from a power surge or you have to evacuate because of a hurricane or flood, your company’s data is stored online, and it even can be utilized as a server as you get your contingency hardware up and running.
Having your computing systems backed up is a major part of business continuity. Think about it this way, the better availability you have to the resources you (and your staff) use to be productive, the more productive you will be. Battling downtime is problematic for many businesses, but by having your IT backed up, you will be able to limit downtime and get back to work, regardless of the circumstances your business is dealing with.
There is a lot more that goes into a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy and even more that goes into a thorough business continuity plan. COMPANYNAME is here to help you construct business continuity plans that cover your technology as well as your staff. Give our IT professionals a call today at PHONENUMBER to have a free consultation where we go over how to prepare your business to avoid disaster.