They say April showers bring May flowers, but this week’s severe weather delivered far bigger problems to the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. A low-pressure system tracking up the Eastern Seaboard dumped much-needed rain on the drought-stricken region. But water rescues in Charleston, sewer overflows in Columbia, flash flooding in the Western North Carolina mountains, and mudslides in Virginia—not to mention the loss of power for more than 65,000 residents—proved disastrous.
Later this week, another disturbance promises to bring severe storms from the central Great Plains into the Midwest. By the weekend, forecasters expect a heightened risk of tornadoes in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas.
How does this recent severe weather impact your business’s use of technology? In quite a few ways, actually. Here are five takeaways that CMIT Solutions has gleaned from such widespread impacts:
1) Make sure you have regular, remote data backup processes in place. In the event of electrical outages or even the possibility of damage to your physical office, trustworthy backups can be a lifesaver for your business. Redundancy is key with a service like CMIT Guardian, which stores critical business data in multiple locations to account for the possibility of widespread power failures.
2) Develop a disaster recovery plan that covers the “before,” “during,” and “after” phases of a severe weather event. Before a storm arrives, all employees should be signed up with an emergency communication service that can immediately transmit announcements. During a storm, policies pertaining to the security of documents and equipment located at your physical office should be properly spelled out. And after the storm, everyone should understand their responsibilities for returning to work—and returning to normal operations—in a safe and timely manner. Virtualization is a key part of disaster recovery that can allow your business to stay up and running no matter what.
3) In the event of severe damage or travel restrictions, employees should be prepared to telecommute. Economic losses from this week’s storms promise to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Depending on your industry, having an emergency telecommuting plan in place before a major weather event hits can keep your business functioning, even if your employees have to work from the safety of their own homes.
4) 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 (while also ensuring its security) can represent the difference between getting zero productivity out of a fully paid bad-weather day and enjoying a spike in efficiency because employees are empowered and prepared to work from home.
5) Business continuity can maintain and even enhance your company’s reputation. When whole metropolitan areas are affected by severe weather, we expect companies to shut down for a short time. But if your business is closed, you should still maintain communication via email, phone, or social media when possible. Checking in on your clients to see whether they were affected by bad weather is precisely the type of above-and-beyond customer service that makes small businesses stand out.
As a fellow small business owner, CMIT Solutions understands how disruptive severe weather can be. But we have extensive experience helping our clients weather the nastiest of storms by increasing productivity and maximizing efficiency, no matter what natural obstacles you might face. Contact us today to find out how we can put our backup and disaster recovery, business continuity, and other proactive solutions to work for you.