Hurricanes (along with typhoons) are gigantic tropical cyclones that essentially pick up a part of the ocean and dump it somewhere else. This is unfortunate for all people living within 30 degrees of the equator. That’s almost 36 million people in the U.S. alone.
Because of our insistence of living in hurricane zones, we’ve learned quite a bit about how to deal with hurricanes and have come up with two strategies for when they come knocking:
- Stay indoors.
- Run away.
That’s it. Those are our only options. No middle ground, no negotiations—hurricanes don’t care.
What does that mean for your business?
While you’re busy with option 2, your office went with option 1. However, option 1 only works if the hurricane stays outside, which it generally will not. (Remember, hurricanes don’t care.)
Protecting your business from hurricanes—or other major business disruptions—is about having a business continuity strategy that keeps your business functioning no matter what. It’s hard to plan for all contingencies, but you can start by:
- Considering an offsite, real-time mirrored failover location on a separate power grid, so that you can continue operations in the event of a power outage or natural disaster localized to your immediate area.
- Assigning back-up roles in case key players are unavailable or missing.
- Planning for all possible communication issues, including use of satellite phones, hotlines and web alerts.
- Establishing accessible spending accounts for employees, making standing lodging arrangements near your recovery site and accounting for other logistics, like mail delivery and payroll.
- Providing an alternative method of accessing your data and documents.
In particular, your business continuity plan should include:
- Emergency response procedures.
- A public relations plan.
- Damage assessment and insurance claims processing information.
- A plan to handle phone calls, website updates, email and physical mail delivery.
- Communication plans for executives, employees, clients and vendors.
- Banking information that includes payroll and emergency cash access.
If we’ve learned anything at all from events like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, it’s that hurricanes don’t care. They won’t tiptoe around your office or wait offshore until you finish a huge deal that will launch your business to new heights. They will make landfall, or they won’t. Whatever they do, you need to be prepared.
Wondering how to prepare for the worst this hurricane season? Download the free eBook on business continuity planning.