How many days will you be out of business if your office is caught in the path of a hurricane? Here are 7 tips you can follow to ensure your business is prepared to weather the storm this upcoming hurricane season.
How To Prepare Your Business for a Hurricane
When a hurricane damages your business’s property, you’re going to have to deal with an insurance claims adjuster who will determine what damages your insurance will pay for. Unless your business is on wheels, chances are you’re not going to be able to move your business’s entire IT infrastructure out of the path of the hurricane.
We advise you to take inventory of every valuable asset on your business’s property to ensure that all damaged items are accounted for. Make sure to include the make, model, serial numbers of these assets as well as any licenses that you own.
Remember to list every detail about these items. Claims adjusters are instructed to give you the lowest value they can for your item based on the description you provided. By being descriptive you ensure that you get the true price for your assets.
Your inventory checklist should be stored offsite or in the cloud. Then, if your business gets hit by a hurricane, you will still have access to the checklist.
Get your Hurricane Preparation Checklist here.
Walk through your office and record a video before you leave to ride out the storm. However, this is in no way a substitute for creating a detailed inventory list. Thus, it should serve only as additional evidence.
Backup Your Offsite Data
What would happen if your organization lost all accounting and tax data?
How about payroll data?
What about all the project estimates the sales team was just about to present to clients?
What if you are in the middle of your busiest season ever and your company loses all recent sales orders?
Natural disasters put your business’s important data at a much higher risk of being lost. You may have insurance to cover your buildings and physical equipment, and your employees may be willing to work. However, without an offsite backup, all the information your company relies on can be lost.
This can deal a serious blow to your business and can put you out of business entirely. Additionally, according to FEMA, 40-60% of small businesses never recover from a natural disaster.
If a hurricane threatens to hit your business, make sure your critical data and software are backed up offsite.
Protect Your Electronic Devices
Even if your electronic devices are completely covered by your business’s insurance, you should still take some additional steps to protect them.
The hassle of dealing with claims adjusters, ordering, and installing replacement technology can delay your business from opening its doors after a hurricane, thus losing you money.
Before you leave the office, ensure your electronic devices are protected with these tips:
- Move your electronic devices to a safe room and place them away from any windows
- Ensure your electronic devices are off the ground to protect them from flooding
- Shut down and unplug all computers
- Place electronic devices within dry bags for additional short-term protection from rain in the event your roof or windows are breached
For a deeper discussion on this topic, read How to Protect Your Electronics Against Disaster.
Be Prepared for Power Surges
Power surges are common during natural disasters and they can be dangerous to almost anything that uses electricity to operate.
However, with computer equipment, there is the added component of your business’s vital data passing through to other components by electrical signals.
If a power surge should occur, not only is your computer hardware subject to complete failure along with any data it stores, the complete transfer of data from one device to another can fail as well.
There are many things a business can do to protect their computer hardware and software from damage caused by power surges.
Some of the basic steps to protect your technology include:
- Installing surge protection at the point where external power comes into buildings that contain computer equipment
- Adding surge protectors to individual components such as desktop PCs, coaxial cables, phone lines, internet cables, etc
Because power surges can occur even without a hurricane on your doorstep, make sure your business’s data and electronics are always protected against power surges.
Create A Disaster Recovery Plan
When it comes to getting your business up and running after a hurricane, if you don’t plan to succeed, you plan to fail. This is why we encourage you to have a disaster recovery plan in place if you don’t already.
Determine who is responsible for disaster recovery. If you’re working with an IT service provider and they don’t already have a disaster recovery plan, have them create one or find an IT service provider that will.
If you would like to know more about how to create an effective disaster recovery plan for your business, check out how we handle disaster recovery.
Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan
A disaster shouldn’t be the first time your disaster recovery plan is tested. At any given moment, something can happen that will disrupt your IT infrastructure and put your business in downtime.
Have a system in place where you can perform regular annual tests of your disaster recovery plan. Then it’s ready when you need it.
Make sure your plan is comprehensive and flexible for any disaster you might face. Check out How to Perform Regular Checks on Your Disaster Recovery Plan for a deeper discussion on this important topic.
Communicate with Suppliers & Vendors
Outside suppliers and vendors play a significant role in your business’s daily operations. Therefore, any disruption to their business is a disruption to yours.
Collaborate with your supply chain as to their business continuity plans. Additionally, have plans in place for storm preparation, continued operations, and disaster recovery.
Consistent and proper communication between businesses and suppliers is essential to ensuring that downtime is minimized when a hurricane passes.
Following these 7 tips will give your business its best chance at minimizing downtime, data loss, and financial loss this hurricane season.
If you have any questions about the tips in this article, feel free to contact us.