As Hurricane Florence approaches, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia have each declared a state of emergency. Thankfully, current forecasts predict that the brunt of the storm will miss our area. However, it’s a good reminder for small and mid-sized businesses to make sure we’re prepared when natural disasters strike. In today’s data-driven world, it’s entirely feasible that you may need to have important applications up and running, even if your office is underwater and your employees are at home without power.
It goes without saying that the main concern should always be securing the personal safety of employees and their families. However, it’s also important to take into account the impact a natural disaster could have on your business. If time allows, preparing before an event will help those impacted get back to work following the storm and will minimize lasting repercussions by making sure you are able to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
Business Continuity Planning
To start with, consider your business continuity plan. If you don’t have one yet, here are a few things to consider when creating a plan:
1. Plan how you will communicate with employees, customers and vendors in the event of a disaster and stay in touch.
a. Agree on a predetermined meeting time and the place that is most convenient.
b. Create a home and cell phone and e-mail tree for your organization.
c. Determine how to use e-mail, social media and websites to alert customers and vendors.
2. Have a plan and contingencies. What is the financial cost of downtime to the business? How long can you realistically be down? 1 hour? 1 day? With that in mind:
a. What do you need to take from your office?
b. How will you support your customers, and from where?
3. Send out the storm plan to your employees, customers and partners. Include a communications schedule and stick to it.
a. Send an update to employees every few hours with what you know and don’t know.
b. Send updates to customers, partners and suppliers with updates that affect them regularly.
4. If your business cannot withstand a period of lengthy downtime, secure a facility outside the disaster zone for you and your employees, or ensure everyone is able to work remotely. Make sure that any site you/your end users go to has power generation, Internet, and cell phone connectivity.
5. Major storms can put data centers out of commission. Make sure your business data, backups, applications, and server images are stored off-site.
a. Contact your IT professionals should you need to restore systems either virtually via the cloud or at the site where you’re resuming operations.
b. If time allows, work with your IT team to test the backups of crucial servers before the storm hits.
How Invario Helps With Disaster Recovery
Invario is ready to help with critical disaster recovery efforts should they become necessary. Your Business Continuity Plan should include information on how to contact key vendors such as your Invario IT support team. As a reminder, you can reach us via email at email@example.com, or by calling 703-528-0101. Leaving a message in our General Delivery voicemail box (Option 7) will automatically create a support ticket.
Since our support technicians and network engineers often work outside the office, each member of the Invario team has the ability to work remotely. This means we can continue supporting customers, even if our Virginia headquarters is out of commission. If remote access for employees is part of your business continuity plan, work with Invario to make sure a secure solution is in place before disaster strikes.
We also back up our own data, monitor, and test regularly just as we do with our customers. Our in-house approach is the same one we offer to other small and mid-sized businesses. Talk with us about recovery options. Restoring from a traditional backup may take several days, but we have solutions that can get your business back up and running within minutes. For those customers using our business continuity and disaster recovery product through Datto, we also have access to Datto’s Disaster Response Team (DRT) which will provide boots on the ground to assist us with recovery efforts after major disasters such as a hurricane.
In conclusion, there’s nothing like a good offense when it comes to defending your business against a natural disaster. For more tips and information on how to protect from natural disasters, check out our eBooks: Natural Disaster Survival Guide for Businesses and 4 Business Continuity Planning Essentials.
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