Is Your Business Prepared for Disaster?

by Dan

Disasters happen, whether they’re hurricanes, earthquakes, windstorms, fires, floods, burst pipes or server failures, and there’s not always something you can do to prevent them. However, there are plenty of things your business can do ahead of time to prepare for a disaster and make sure it doesn’t cripple your business during the recovery time. Only 53 percent of employers have a disaster recovery plan in place, and even those who do may not have all of the needed components to keep employees safe and get the business back on its feet after the disaster. Here are the essentials of disaster preparation for any type of business.

Carry Adequate Insurance

Many categories of natural disasters are covered by insurance policies, and your business needs to have adequate insurance. If you own a building, this policy obviously needs to be more extensive to protect your capital, but even if you just lease a space, you need insurance to cover company property within the building. All of your electronics, furniture and other essential business supplies could be very costly to replace. When you take out an insurance policy, check what disasters are covered, and, if needed, add separate flood insurance. In addition, save serial numbers of electronics and take photos of your office to aid in making a claim if needed.

Train Employees in Disaster Protocols

Keeping the people who work in your business safe should be your top priority, so employees need to know exactly what to do in a disaster. In particular, have an evacuation plan in place and ensure employees know where to go, including what direction to head once you’re out of the building. Educate employees about multiple evacuation routes and perform drills at least every 6 months to keep information fresh. In addition, ensure that employees know where fire extinguishers are located in your business so they can put out smaller fires before they escalate into major problems. Lastly, have at least one emergency preparedness kit with items like a battery-operated radio, flashlights and a first aid kit that you can have with you in a disaster.

Back Up Data

Perhaps the most long-reaching impact of a disaster is through loss of data. Just imagine what a chore it would be to recover if you lost all of your financial records, files, business contacts and other data. Making an on-site backup isn’t enough, either, because that can be destroyed in a disaster along with the original data. Prepare by regularly creating a backup that you store offsite. That way you can obtain that and use it to recover if you lose all of your data onsite. In addition to backing up computer data, consider scanning and backing up copies of important documents like insurance policies and tax returns. Update your offsite backups regularly so you know you’ll always have your latest data and can get right back to work after a disaster.

Disaster preparedness may seem like a waste of time, but if one ever strikes, you’ll agree that it was well worth it. Especially for small businesses, a disaster can completely destroy your company unless you have a plan in place to recover. Take the time now to get your ducks in a row and prepare your business.

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