June 1st is here. The official start of Hurricane Season. We have already had a taste of what is to come with tropical storm Alberto. Alberto has left a trail of flood damage across the Eastern United States. The disaster recovery efforts are just starting.
Are you prepared for the storms surely to come?
Once you have an emergency plan put together for you and your family’s physical security, your thoughts should turn to your business. There are two items to consider, business recovery and business continuity,
Business recovery is what happens after the storm. But it is not just about repairing damage and cleaning up from damage caused by the storm, it is also about preparing for it. Have you inventoried all of your business equipment and checked your insurance to make sure it is covered? Insurance plans vary but it is a good start to record Make, Model and Serial number of each piece of equipment. Digital Photos before and after are a quick way to prove any loss. Do you have the original purchase receipts?
When was the last time you backed up your data? Where do you store the backups? Off site, I hope. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to think about online backups so you won’t have to think about backups anymore. When choosing an on-line backup provider, understand that there is a difference between backup for disaster recovery and making previous versions of your data available. The first type is for getting the most recent information that your business was using. The second is for compliance and historical reference.
Assuming everyone is safe and sound after the storm, physical cleanup and repair of your place of business is next. Depending on how widespread the damage is, you may have to wait in line for cleanup help. Do not take any unnecessary risks going into damaged buildings until it has been cleared as structurally safe.
With your offices cleaned up and ready for occupation, recovering your computers and data comes next.
While the physical clean-up is going on is a good time to get in touch with your insurance agent, your service providers and your hardware vendors. They will help you put together a plan to get your data and telecom services back up and running.
The other side of the coin is how do you keep your business going while you are recovering from the affects of the storm? That’s called Business Continuity. This starts with an effort to understand your business and the business processes that keep it going. The challenge is to come up with alternatives to getting the job done or at least just keep it going that don’t include access to your place of business. How will your customers communicate with you? How will you provide services or fulfill orders.
With all the cloud services available today, it can be easy for you and your employees to work remotely. As long as you have an internet connection and a computer, you should be able to keep your business going. Full featured phone services that can be turned up anywhere there is a working internet connection can be supplied by a Cloud Based VoIP service. Cloud based data storage can provide seamless remote access for the operational software your business uses. Beyond the basic Microsoft Office type applications, review the other software that your business uses. Are they available as an internet service?
And finally, have a communication plan. It is a good idea to post to social media when you are back up and running or at least when you plan to be. Depending on the relationship you have with your customers, consider an email letting them know of the situation and how you plan to continue supporting them. Contact your vendors and service providers too. They will probably be eager to help get you up and running again.
Hurricanes are on our mind right now, but being prepared for any business interruption regardless of whether it is natural or man-made can reduce stress when it happens and might just save your business.
Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.
Don Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Charlotte, NC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business experience.