From wildfires raging in California to hurricanes directly off the southeastern U.S. coast, 2017 proved to be a busy year for natural disasters. Mix that in with the renewed threat of winter storms, and it’s absolutely clear that you should plan accordingly for business continuity — not only after such disasters strike, but also during the disasters.
There are many facets to disaster recovery, but in the modern world, no doubt one of the most important areas is technology. So how do you safeguard your technological assets, and what role can technology play in the process? Consider the following when it comes to natural disasters affecting technology.
Backing up Your Data
Company data storage is important, especially when it concerns finances and sensitive information. A good idea: Utilize a data center server located offsite that safeguards your critical business data. If you’re utilizing a server onsite, make sure it’s properly backed up. Servers can and will go down, so for any information that must be readily accessible to meet consumer/partner demand, consider keeping hard/printed copies on hand.
The most obvious impact of a natural disaster is a power outage. Most recently, Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands caused a widespread blackout that lasted over 40 days. Backup power generators can be utilized to ensure that basic business needs are met.
Hurricane Harvey inflicted significant damage on southeastern Texas, particularly Houston, and resulted in significant cellular network outages. In such situations, it’s important to keep in contact with employees, partners, and clients. Ensure that other methods of contact are made known, whether it’s through landlines or meeting up in person. Cellular hardware solutions are becoming available as another viable form of communication. goTenna, for example, allows you to send messages to others directly via Bluetooth, even when cellular services are down.
If you have brick and mortar locations or simply need to accept and process payments onsite, ensure that alternative methods of payment are available when credit card/bank systems are down. Utilize mobile solutions, virtual terminals, or online payment portals (i.e. PayPal). Credit card information can also be recorded manually and processed when online systems are back up.
Planning ahead for natural disasters is absolutely critical. Proper continuity planning ensures that your business keeps up and meets demand, even in trying times. For more tips on business continuity during natural disasters, see our previous blog post: Questions to Ask When Creating a Business Contingency Plan for Natural Disasters.