Is Your Disaster Prep Plan in Place?

Hurricane Season Is Heating Up. Is Your Business Ready?

Although the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season began on June 1st, the last two months were some of the quietest in recent history. For the first time since 1997, no tropical cyclones formed in the month of August. In fact, 60 full days passed between the development of Tropical Storm Colin in early July and the formation of Hurricane Danielle on September 1st. The last season to see its first hurricane form this late was 2013.

As of press time, Hurricane Danielle posed no threat to land. But Tropical Storm Earl, which formed on September 2nd, delivered heavy rain to the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the Labor Day weekend. Weather experts also warn anyone living near the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts to not treat the slow start as a reason to get complacent in September and October—traditionally the busiest times of the year.

That’s because all it takes is one storm—and that can even be just a weak tropical depression—to deliver extreme weather and significant disruptions to businesses around North America. If you haven’t gotten your disaster preparedness, data backup, and business continuity plans in place, now’s the time—before a storm forms and trouble brews.

The advice below is similar to that shared at the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season—and it’s still just as important today.

What Should I Do to Get Ready?

That depends on a variety of factors:

  • Your geographic location and proximity to areas impacted by past weather-related disasters
  • The industry in which your business operates, along with any special compliance requirements relating to data storage or transmission
  • The length of time your company could function if day-to-day operations were interrupted
  • The type of preparedness plan your business might already have in place

Technology can help in many ways to address these concerns. CMIT Solutions recommends the following strategies:

1) Data backup is paramount. If you lose access to mission-critical data, your business can immediately start to suffer. That’s why remote, regular, and redundant data backup is incredibly important. The vast majority of business backups are performed on-site—often on drives located directly next to the computers they’re backing up. If fire, flood, or theft affects your business, you can’t expect those backups to be spared. A trusted IT provider can help you set up both comprehensive image backups on-site (on physical hard drives) AND off-site (safely stored in the cloud). In the face of severe weather that negatively impacts on-site infrastructure, automatic backups stored in a cloud-based location can save your business.

2) Pre-determined procedures for recovering data are just as important. Having a data backup in place is one thing. But you have to know how to retrieve and restore it, too. Solid disaster prep plans will spell out the precise steps required to reinstall business data, the employees responsible for performing those duties, and the chain of command in place for making key decisions. Instead of getting bogged down in the details of a particular disruption, data recovery planning formulates a plan to get your business back up and running, no matter what kind of disaster strikes.

3) Virtualization strategies should be tested before a disaster strikes. Advanced disaster preparedness plans should also include virtualization protocols. This step is critical in case of significant damage to infrastructure—if no office computers are left in working condition after a fire or flood, for instance, virtualization will take your data backed up in a remote location and rebuild it on secondary equipment (often a backup laptop or designated employee’s home computer). If you haven’t tested your virtualization strategy, however, to see how quickly it can run, you may be left hanging after a particularly bad catastrophe.

4) Business continuity helps you succeed beyond the initial days of disaster recovery. Think of it this way: recovery and virtualization define what steps a business should take in the immediate days following a disaster, while business continuity spells out long-term steps that should happen weeks and even months later. Many companies draw up different versions of continuity plans depending on past impacts they’ve experienced or scenarios they’ve practiced for. If you’ve had to shutter your business for three days in the face of a hurricane, say, but then struggled for three more weeks to get back to normal, for instance, your company can draw on lessons learned and draw up contingencies that plan for six to eight weeks of interruptions.

5) Clear lines of employee communication link every aspect of disaster recovery together. Each step outlined above must work in tandem with the one before and after it. But without defined lines of communication to discuss each step, even the best-laid plan can fall apart. Different types of employees will react differently to certain types of disasters. Some staff members may have experience with hurricanes, for instance, while others may have lived through floods or winter storms. Some may like to stay in touch via text, while others may prefer emails or phone calls. With defined roles and responsibilities that outline the way employees will communicate with each other, everyone will know where to turn when a disaster does strike.

No matter how slow the hurricane season is, it always pays to be prepared. At CMIT Solutions, we believe it’s not a matter of if but when most businesses will face a natural or manmade disaster. We’ve worked with thousands of businesses across North America to respond to every kind of disaster: hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, ice storms, pandemics, cyberattacks, and more.

No matter what threats your company faces, our independent franchisees and skilled technicians located across the United States and Canada are here to help. We take a proactive approach to data backup, incident response, and business continuity, going the extra mile for our clients so they can survive and thrive in the face of any disaster. Want to learn more about disaster preparedness? Contact CMIT Solutions today.

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