Whether you are preparing your home or business for the latest Superstorm or Hurricane to make landfall, or you live in an area that is commonly affected by earthquakes, tornadoes, or other weather-related storms, it’s critical to ensure that you are taking necessary precautions before any disaster strikes.
It may surprise you to know that earthquakes--though, often severe and common as the winter cold--aren't the biggest ecological events business owners need to be concerned by.Weather-related storms like hurricanes, tornadoes and Nor'easters can wreak far more havoc, and according to the Insurance Service Office, were the top causes of insured disaster-related losses from 1993 to 2012, trumping terrorism and geological events by the hundreds of thousands:
- Hurricanes/Tropical Storms - $158 Billion
- Tornadoes - $141 Billion
- Winter Storms - $28 Billion
- Terrorism - $25 Billion
- Geological Events - $18 Billion
You can't change the weather, but you can change how you prepare and respond to it. While being prepared encompasses having the necessary items at hand: water bottles, flashlights, batteries, etc., you might be surprised to know that the most critical strategies you should be employing in your business are power-related.According to Agility Recovery, a company that is partnered with the Small Business Administration to offer disaster preparation and recovery advice for businesses, here are five tips that can help you be prepared with a business continuity strategy:
- Test your emergency backup systemsPower outages are the most common way that natural disasters affect businesses. Our increasing reliance on technology means that little work can be done without electricity. Does your building have an uninterruptable power supply (UPS)? A UPS can give your company instantaneous backup power during an electric utility outage. It's important to keep your main computer up and running, at least for as long as it takes to back up critical information. If you can’t cope with outages of long duration, ask one of our experts about load bank rentals.
- Get those cellphones chargedThe lights are out and the computers are dead. What can people rely on during these moments? Cellphones! Communication is essential, not only for your business but for everyone's safety (and peace of mind). Solar chargers, backup batteries, and hand-crank chargers provide several options for juicing up your devices when the power is out.
- Back up your dataTime is money, but so is data. So much so that you should be backing it up regularly, disasters notwithstanding. There are plenty of ways to do this in our cloud-based world, but for peace of mind you might want to be sure you have a physical copy close to hand. So don't skimp on the jump drives, and make sure your IT service providers brief you on their physical risks and contingency plans.
- Prioritize key business functionsIdentify your must-have business operations ahead of time and know who should be running them. For example, make sure specific IT staff is aware that they're responsible for protecting and recovering your computer systems.
- Talk to your insurance companyYou may already insure your physical equipment, but what about the potentially biggest loss: loss of revenue.A recent National Federation of Independent Businesses study found that the lack of adequate insurance coverage was associated with harm to continuing operations more than physical property destruction. Talk to your insurance company about available coverage--and make sure you have all vital insurance information, including contacts, ready to access at a moment's notice.