Disaster-Proofing Your Small Business

Whether you live in a region where hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes are prevalent, if you own a small business, you cannot do without a solid disaster plan. Recent studies have reported that approximately 25% of small businesses in an affected area do not reopen after a natural disaster. Even if you do not have a comprehensive plan in place, any actions you take will contribute to making post-disaster recovery far easier than it would be without any planning at all.

Back up your data. First, make sure you understand the extent of the data associated with your business and how and where it is stored. Know which components are the most important and which you could recreate easily. When you select a back-up location to store your information, be certain that is remote, reliable, secure, and open to you at any time of the day or night.

Designate a contact person on staff either to secure your data or work with any external storage providers in the event of disaster.

Test the processes associated with re-accessing your data. Perform a practice run to make sure all access points work properly.

As part of a communication plan, create hard-copy lists of employee, vendor, and customer contact information. Upload such lists to secure cloud-based servers as necessary.

Plan for alternate means of sharing information. Alert staff and customers in advance to your preferred ways to make contact, whether those involve an online messaging service, Skype, or cell phones.

Outline a procedure for employees to report to work to perform critical functions, providing it is safe to do so. Find an alternate workspace should your offices be inaccessible. In the event disaster strikes while employees are at work, make sure to prepare and rehearse appropriate escape plans.