Businesses that aren’t adequately prepared for unexpected catastrophic events may face complete failure when disaster strikes. Many never fully recover from the impact of a business interruption and are forced to close their doors. Don’t let your business be caught off guard. Here are four strategies you can use to disaster proof your business.
1. Prepare for the Worst
No one likes to think about worst-case scenarios, but it’s a necessity to make sure your business survives a disaster—especially when your business is vulnerable to a variety of catastrophic scenarios, from natural weather events to simple power interruptions. Preparing your business for the worst involves assessing potential threats such as:
- Natural disasters specific to your area
- Civil disturbances
- Hazardous materials
And don’t forget to include potential problems with business systems and hardware in your risk assessment.
2. Put Your Disaster Recovery Plan in Writing
An effective disaster recovery plan is a written roadmap of what to do during a catastrophe to maintain business continuity. It also takes the panic out of decision making during a stressful catastrophic event. Things to incorporate in your disaster recovery plan may include, but are not limited to:
- Key personnel
- Emergency contact lists and phone trees
- Operating procedures
- Alternate workplace locations and/or hot sites
To facilitate secure remote working capabilities and access to mission-critical business applications, make sure your disaster recovery plan includes information for accessing your company’s virtual private network (VPN).
3. Protect Your Backups
A backup plan enables lost data to be recovered during a disaster, But only if backup media are stored in a secure location away from your primary business location. A professional media vault offers a dedicated off-site environment specifically built to protect and preserve backup tapes and hard drives. Temperature and humidity levels within the vault are kept at optimal levels for preserving magnetic and optical media. Security systems monitor for heat, smoke, and flood intrusion while waterless fire-suppression systems protect your media from fire damage.
4. Store Paper Records Off-Site
Paper documents are also vulnerable to disasters. Vital business records or historical documents that exist in paper form only should be stored off-site in a secure location. A commercial records centre protects paper records from physical damage. Choose a facility that features the following systems:
- Multi-zone fire sprinklers
- Automatic climate control
- Smoke, heat and fire alarms
And don’t forget to check if your records storage provider uses barcode tracking technology so your vital business documents can be retrieved and delivered to your hot site quickly if disaster strikes.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
Perfecting disaster recovery, like anything is all about practice; it’s easier to fix problems in your plan during simulations than when an actual disaster strikes. So, no matter how solid you think your disaster recovery plan is, the only way to truly test it is through practice and testing. Regularly simulate total in-house data loss scenarios to verify your recovery time objectives (RTO) and minimize downtime during a disaster. Confirm the location and availability of your critical data. Make sure your strategic business vendors, including telecommunications, internet, data protection and records management, offer emergency and expedited service.
No business is immune to the threats of disaster. But with a strategic approach, you can make sure your business recovers quickly from any operational interruption.
FileBank offers records and information management solutions to businesses throughout Canada. For more information, please contact us by phone or