The most important thing in running a business is, well, to keep it running. This may sound like a piece of cake, but it’s not. On top of ensuring a healthy cash flow and building a loyal customer base, you have to be prepared for anything that can threaten business continuity.
This means preparing for natural disasters like fires and floods that can disrupt operations and cause harm to your employees or customers. This also means gearing up for cyberattacks that can compromise sensitive information, paralyze systems, or cause data loss. And sometimes, you have to be ready for everything in between — like a pandemic.
Why is disaster preparedness important?
Disasters are costly, and they can even force small businesses to close. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, roughly 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster.
If you’re an owner of a small- and medium-sized business (SMB) in Charlotte, North Carolina, heed these disaster preparedness tips to ensure your enterprise survives any unfortunate events.
The best disaster preparedness strategies for SMBs
With the hurricane season in full swing, having a disaster preparedness plan is more crucial than ever. The following measures will help you better handle and recover from hurricanes and practically any disaster.
1. Create a disaster response team
Appoint people who will make up your disaster preparedness team. They will serve as your guide during a disruption or a catastrophe, and they will also be responsible for building a disaster preparedness plan that includes:
- Identifying potential risks and hazards
- Conducting a business impact analysis, or a discussion of the operational and financial impacts of an interruption to your business
- Resource mobilization and allocation
- Activating emergency notifications and disaster response systems, which entails creating a database of emergency contact lists for employees, vendors, suppliers, and other keys parties
- Planning a communication strategy with concerned people or organizations during and after a disaster
Having a disaster response team not only minimizes panic and confusion but also facilitates effective information exchange during a disaster.
2. Prioritize critical data
The first few hours after a disaster befalls your business are critical — they can spell the difference between your business's survival or demise. Anyone fleeing from a burning building will logically grab only the most important things before running for their life. Similarly, when disaster strikes, you must make sure that your most critical business data and assets are safe.
Prioritize securing files, applications, and data that are essential to keeping business operations going. These are your nonnegotiables, and you need to back them up regularly and store them in at least three different locations.
Partnering with an IT company specializing in business continuity planning is crucial in weathering a disaster. At SpectrumWise, we offer total business protection, from automated and real-time backups to rapid recovery of programs and processes after a catastrophe. We also reduce risk and liabilities by making sure you’re compliant with stringent industry regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
3. Continuously test and update your disaster management plan
Cybercriminals relentlessly develop and improve malware and other threats, so consider the evolving threat landscape when creating a disaster preparedness plan. New technologies like 5G can also become widely available, requiring you to rethink your emergency communication strategy. Developments like these present new challenges and opportunities, and your disaster management plan should reflect and address both.
Exercise, test, and update your plan regularly. Encourage viewing, critique, and discussion from stakeholders. Lastly, simulate disaster scenarios so that when a real one strikes, your employees will know what to do and whom to contact.
Disasters are unavoidable, but you can minimize their impact on your operations. With SpectrumWise’s wide range of technology solutions and unmatched management expertise, we can ensure that you will be prepared to take on any threats to business continuity. Partner with us today, or schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation.