Disaster Preparedness – Are You Ready?
By: Nick Mattera on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The beginning of hurricane season on June 1 is an annual reminder to dust off that binder on the shelf behind you labeled ‘Disaster Plan.’ What’s that? You mean you don’t have a business continuity plan in place for your organization? Here’s a scary fact for your consideration:

  • Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen. [Source: Insurance Information Institute]

You don’t want to be part of that statistic. And with odds like that working against you, if you want your business to survive a disaster, you need to have a plan.

Getting Started: Free Resources

The federal government of the United States, under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides an extensive catalog of information resources and planning materials at no cost. You can view them at this website: http://www.ready.gov/business. They provide guidance on almost every component of disaster preparedness for businesses, from the assessment and justification stage, as well as step-by-step development, testing and implementation of your business continuity plan.

OK, I Reviewed the Materials, and I’m Ready!

So, you’ve downloaded and read the materials and you’re done with disaster planning. Not quite. Unfortunately, that’s where many business managers stop. We focus on the latest headlines and gut wrenching stories that result from hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and earthquakes in Japan that destroy whole cities at once. But once they’re out of the news, we move on. Now is the time to build your plan. 

It’s also important to note that a disaster that shuts down your business could be a very localized event. And unlike major weather disasters, there is often no warning for most disasters. Read about one example of this scenario in a business continuity case study on the not-for-profit organization Seeds of Peace. They successfully survived an underground steam pipe explosion—exactly the kind of local problem that is a potential disaster for your business. Seeds of Peace planned for survival, and their plan worked.

The Cloud as a Solution for Business Continuity

With so many components of business reliant on desktop computing and information technology (IT) today, it’s an important area of focus for a successful disaster plan. FEMA outlines the key considerations for your IT planning here: http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/IT.

The advent of cloud computing makes IT disaster planning easier to implement than ever before. When it comes to protecting your company’s data, you now have many options. Thanks to cloud computing and the Internet, it’s possible to access your files, use your email, login to your intranet, process payroll, communicate with your clients and run your business from almost anywhere in the world. These cloud computing functions should be key components of your IT business continuity plan. But they don’t magically work after a disaster. You need to have a plan to make it work for you.

Don’t wait for the next disaster. Why not start today?

Nick Mattera is Divisional Vice President, Network Operations, at mindSHIFT Technologies, and a board member of the Association of Contingency Planners, Long Island (NY) chapter.

For More Information on IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

If you don’t have an IT and data disaster plan in place, mindSHIFT Technologies can help. Learn more about the full range of mindSHIFT disaster recovery services for your information systems.

For more information on managed IT and cloudSHIFTSM cloud services, contact mindSHIFT or call 877-227-5054.

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