North America has recently experienced a string of extreme weather. Two major hurricanes made landfall in the United States, and images of families stranded on rooftops are dominating the news. Meanwhile, the West is experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons ever with over 2 million acres being decimated by fire. It is still too soon to know the economic impact of these events, but the effects could be felt for years to come. Local businesses, who are vital to the recovery of communities, are understandably concerned. Planning to recover from an extreme event means anticipating any challenges your business may face and preparing accordingly. Below we discuss some of the ways businesses can prepare to protect themselves and their vital infrastructure from an extreme weather event.

Protect Your Data

Your business cannot run without its essential applications and data. According to Foxnews, a business without critical data for 48 to 72 hours may never fully recover1. Copying your data to the cloud is an important first step for protecting yourself from data loss. Did you know even data centers can go down in the event of a storm? Data is most secure when it is not tied to any one location. Consider backing up your data to multiple locations, possibly in a mainland city. A hybrid system of physical and cloud backup systems is the safest approach.

Identify Key Business Functions

Determine what functions are essential to your business operations and the risks weather pose to them. For example, does your business rely on a call center to remain operational? Consider outsourcing an emergency call center to mitigate the loss of revenue from phone lines being down. Prioritizing functions allows for a more structured recovery plan. Some tasks, like a marketing campaign, may be able to wait while others are more critical to keeping your business afloat.

Test Your Back Up Plan

The time to test your recovery procedure is prior to the storm, not after. A lack of adequate testing is one of the most common mistakes a business makes in storm preparation. Identify key IT personnel and run through a trial of the recovery procedure and identify any gaps or issues in systems or training.

Final Thoughts

A natural disaster can be devastating to businesses both big and small. While there is no way to avoid mother nature, you can certainly mitigate your risk of lost property and revenue by taking action to protect your business.

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