The start of hurricane seasons tends to start a panic for a lot of business owners along the US coast line. And while Mother Nature often acts as a reminder for creating business continuity plans, it’s the downtime when businesses should be preparing the most.
With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration saying there’s a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms this hurricane season — with the possibility of seven to 11 becoming hurricanes – the time to prepare your business the most is when nothing is happening.
Of small businesses that close because of a disaster, at least one in four will not reopen. And many small business owners don’t feel they have the time or money to create a continuity plan. However, there are free tools available online and it’s nest to to prepare in stages.
First, a business owner should take two weeks to learn the company’s risks — natural perils and what’s located around it. Is the business near railroad tracks or a manufacturer that works with possibly explosive chemicals? Then the business owner should take another two weeks to meet with employees and learn about the company’s operations and what functions would need to be recovered immediately. In addition, the company should know how to contact its employees, vendors, suppliers and key customers. Data should be backed up, too.
Not being prepared can be catastrophic. For instance, a small business could close for days — or permanently — if its server crashes and isn’t backed up. It’s recommended to have all company information backed up onsite and in the cloud. The cloud allows users to access content traditionally stored on a desktop computer from anywhere.
At the bare minimum, have sensitive documents such as financial records backed up. But back up the entire server, including the operating system, so it can be up and running within a few hours.
People don’t like to think about hurricane protection until the season is upon them. Companies which provide hurricane protection products ranging from storm panels to impact doors and windows tend to be backed up about five to six weeks for customers wanting shutters and six to eight weeks for windows or sliding glass doors as soon as hurricane season hits.
In the face of a natural disaster, business owners should also consider their insurance. Business owners need to review their policies annually and make sure these policies still fit their needs. For instance, maybe a company invested in new equipment or renovated their property. These additions should be matched up to insurance policies.
And if a business relocated, the owner should check if it’s in a flood zone. Companies that rent can also buy flood insurance that protects content inside the building — the landlord will be responsible for the building itself.
In addition, look at business interruption coverage, which will help a business relocate and continue operating if its building is physically damaged, and contingent business interruption coverage, which can help a business if its major supplier or supply chain is damaged by the disaster. It’s the smart thing to do if you want to stay in business after a natural disaster.
For more information about preparing your business for a natural disaster and which maintenance practices are best for your business, call CFM today for a free consultation.
CFM is a veteran-owned business that supports our troops and the civilian employment of veterans. With CFM, you can rest assured that your cleaning service and facility maintenance team can be trusted.
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