Last week’s brutal winter weather should serve as a reminder for business owners: even the best-laid plans can be wrecked by natural and manmade disasters. Across the South and Mid-Atlantic, thousands of car accidents, at least a dozen fatalities, and untold numbers of stranded drivers and students were blindsided by the snow and ice that descended on the region.
Here Are the Lessons That CMIT Solutions Gleaned from Such Widespread Impacts:
1) In the event of travel restrictions, all companies should be prepared to have employees telecommute. Chambers of commerce across the country reported hundreds of millions of dollars in combined lost revenue, wages, and production due to last week’s major storm. And that makes sense: employee and customer safety should be of the utmost concern when snow and ice descend on an unprepared region. That’s why, for certain industries, having an emergency telecommuting plan in place before a storm hits can keep your business functioning while your employees stay busy in the safety of their own homes—even if they’re curled up in front of a fire while they work.
2) Critical business data needs to be accessible to all pertinent parties. Of course, employees can only telecommute if they have access to important business information. Utilizing the cloud to host that data and make it available to key personnel can represent the difference between getting zero productivity out of a fully paid snow day and enjoying a spike in efficiency because employees are empowered and prepared to work from home.
3) Even in the midst of a snow-pocalypse, business continuity can ensure you stand out. When whole metropolitan areas are paralyzed by snow and ice, we all expect many companies to shut down as well. If your business is closed, you should still maintain communication via email, either through smartphones, webmail applications like CMIT RADAR, or cloud-based applications like CMIT Anywhere. Add in regular social media updates—everyone craves weather updates and snow photos when they’re cooped up inside—and your customers will be reassured that nothing can inflict a total knockout on your business.
4) Make sure you or your IT provider are performing regular remote backups. In the event of long-term electrical grid outages or even damage to your physical office, trustworthy backups can be a lifesaver for your business. Off-site backups are often stored in multiple locations to account for the possibility of widespread power failures. And with a service like CMIT Guardian, remote virtualization can even have your business up and running in an alternate location if necessary.
5) Develop a disaster recovery plan that covers the “before,” “during,” and “after” phases of a major storm. Before a storm arrives, all employees should be signed up with an emergency texting service that can immediately transmit emergency announcements. During a storm, all employees should understand their work-from-home responsibilities (spelling these out beforehand is even better). And after the storm, everyone should understand their responsibilities for getting back to work—and getting regular business operations up and running again—in a safe and timely manner.
As fellow small business owners, we at CMIT Solutions understand how disruptive winter storms can be. But we also have extensive experience helping other small businesses weather the nastiest of storms—and extend increased productivity and cost savings far past the point when snow and ice finally melt.
Contact us today to find out how we can put our system monitoring, remote backup and disaster recovery, and business continuity solutions to work for you.