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The Importance of a Business Continuity Plan Before a Hurricane
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Hurricanes pretty much disrupt all life as we know it when they strike, and the larger the storm, the greater the disruption. Residents may be evacuated and remain displaced for days or even weeks, power outages may turn cities into ghost towns, and the damage left behind may take months or even years from which to recover.
Businesses also stand to lose a great deal, if not everything, in the wake of a severe hurricane or tropical storm. Damage and power outages may leave a company unable to carry on business as usual for an extended period, and every day closed results in thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Not many businesses can withstand being put on hold for very long, and at some point the threshold is crossed from which there is no return and the company is left with no choice but to shut its doors.
Therein lies the importance of having in place a business continuity plan; a contingency that allows business to keep operating, even if it is on a limited basis, in the wake of an unforeseen disaster.
Business continuity isn't just about recovering lost files from damaged computers, but rather making sure the totality of the business is represented and that things can be back up and running with limited interruption of service. Customers and clients should be able to continue receiving the services they are seeking.
In the wake of a disaster it is easy to stop and think that everybody else is at the same disadvantage as you, but that isn't the case. Many businesses have planned ahead for such a problem. You should also take the time now to develop a business continuity plan that provides for adequate resources to allow you to continue operation if the main site or location is offline. Staff and customers should be familiar with the plan.
Tips for Planning Ahead
Data Backup. Of course, all data - both online and hard copies - should have a backup provided for somewhere. Offsite data storage is available and will keep valuable files safe even if the main location is wiped off the map by a hurricane or storm.
Manage Resources. Even the best laid plans can be thwarted. Forge relationships with partners and other service providers who may be able to shoulder some of your burden in the event that you are out of action.
Employees Matter. Recognize that your employees will have other concerns in the event of a hurricane, such as their own property and family. Do not expect them to drop everything and remain solely with the company. Have plans in place to operate on a skeleton crew if needed for a limited time to allow your employees to get their lives back in order.
Train People on the Plan. Make sure your employees know the business continuity drill in the event of a major weather problem. They should be able to execute the plan with efficiency and timeliness.
Proper training beforehand can keep your business up, running, and profitable even in the face of the worst Mother Nature has to offer.