One of the frequently overlooked yet more important aspects of business operation is preparedness for a natural disaster. Natural disasters can cause a wide array of damage ranging from destroyed buildings to localized power outages. Although a natural disaster can affect any part of a business to any extent, preparation can help core operations recover quickly. In particular, both clients and internal teams are frequently dependent on IT to restore normal functionality to any damaged systems. When IT is impacted by a natural disaster it can be difficult to reestablish the remainder of the team. By planning and preparing, businesses can ensure they are not significantly impacted by the results of a natural disaster.
Ways to Prepare
Unfortunately, natural disasters are almost always unpredictable. Because of this, it’s important to remain consistently prepared for the worst case scenario. When considering how to prepare for a disaster, first analyze what in the business would be impacted by a natural disaster and what the results of that impact would be.
Specific details will vary between businesses, but there are some general steps that can be taken by most businesses to help prepare.
- Consider where important data is stored. If data is stored locally or on a local server, consider backing up any crucial data to a larger cloud based service. If the data is particularly sensitive, consider using encryption options.
- Provide remote support options for IT and related departments. Depending on how severe the natural disaster is, the building may be inaccessible. By providing ways to work remotely like a VPN or company laptop, business operations may minimize lost productivity.
- Ensure there is more than one individual who is familiar with all core processes. During a natural disaster, IT may be unavailable. If possible, create documentation of any processes and administrative information in a SharePoint or similar location that is accessible to anyone who may need it.
- Create a plan. Before a natural disaster strikes, allow all employees who are considered essential personnel to familiarize themselves with the natural disaster plan. This will help prevent any user error if the plan is ever needed.
Preparing ahead is the key to continued success when a business is faced with the many problems that natural disasters can cause. Although business operation will inevitably be impacted in some way, creating a plan to minimize damage can save both employees and company’s additional stress during an already difficult time.
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