While there is no way to stop disaster from happening, there are measures that can be taken to ensure that your company and its data are safe and able to recover.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2021 is expected to be another year with an above-average number of hurricanes. Of the six to ten predicted hurricanes, three to five could be major, packing wind speeds of 111 mph or higher. These types of natural disasters can be detrimental to businesses that are not prepared for the aftermath.
Disaster recovery is extremely important, especially when maintaining the integrity of your company’s data. Whether it’s from an attack such as a security breach, or a natural disaster like fire or flood, you need to make sure that your data is protected. While hardware and software can be easily replaced, lost data is a different story. There are several easy steps to take that can protect your business and help recover after any disaster.
Consistently Back Up Your Data
One of the most basic safeguards for data is backing it up daily. However, many people still use in-house backup systems that can be unreliable and can be easily destroyed in natural disasters or stolen. By backing up all data to an off-site location, your data will be more secure and less vulnerable.
Secure Your Data
Dealing with hackers is a never-ending battle for companies that deal with a lot of private information. All data needs to be secured with multiple barriers to help prevent the possibility of hacking and theft. Hacked information can include sensitive client and employee data that can lead to severe lawsuits, penalties, damaged credibility, and massive financial losses. An important aspect of this step is making sure that any personal employee devices such as laptops, phones, or other equipment that contain sensitive information are secure as well.
Consider Cloud Computing
While backing up your data is beneficial, it is even better to make sure it is stored off-site in a highly secure data canter. Cloud computing can give you peace of mind because it ensures that no data you have saved to it will be lost. By uploading all data to the cloud, you won’t have to worry about anything getting lost in a disaster or possible hardware failure. The cloud stores data created by your company and is a reliable way to ensure business continuation after a disaster.
Prepare Your Company’s Physical Technology
Once your data is secured and appropriately backed up, you need to prepare your physical devices, computers, and other appliances as well. The first step is to record your company’s technology inventory and plan how you want to protect everything before a disaster. Here are a few steps you can take when expecting a disaster:
- Schedule a company-wide shutdown of all hardware in case of power outages.
- Consider wrapping technology in plastic and moving first-floor devices and equipment to higher ground or place them on an elevated surface to prevent water damage.
- Secure any loose items from walls or desks that could potentially cause damage.
- Board your windows and doors with plywood for extra protection against strong winds.
Have a Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan
Every business needs to have a simple plan in place to help during and after any disaster. However, if it is too simple, you may not be prepared enough. If it is too complicated, it might be too difficult to follow through. At a minimum, think of what disasters are most likely to occur to your business and plan for the severity of the impact they would have on your company’s survival. It should include guidance for continued operation. Make sure your people know the answers to questions such as where to go, who to call, how to access data remotely, etc. Having this plan in place will make it easier for you and your employees to recover and continue business after any disaster.
Review Your Business Insurance
Most companies have a form of general liability insurance in place. However, their coverage is usually not enough to cover massive losses that can come with disasters such as flooding or fires. If your company needs to replace all computer equipment, supplies, furniture, and other things that have been accumulated over years of business, you need to ensure that any loss will be covered. Review your policy every year and update it with any new assets or additions acquired during the past year.
By having a strong plan in place, you can guarantee that your business will not be in jeopardy after any disaster. We recommend taking all these steps to secure your data and ensure your company’s continuation. Prepare yourself and your business for this year’s expected hurricanes, as well as any other disasters that may occur. Some of our Warren Averett offices experienced Hurricane Michael in 2018. Read the lessons they learned from recovery here.