Floods, fire, earthquakes, tornados and windstorms—these natural disasters can come unexpectedly, and wreak havoc on your business. So, how can you prepare for, and mitigate damage associated with, them? It starts with proper planning.

An integrated physical, IT and business continunity strategy will ensure that your organization is ready in the face of disaster. Read on for some tips to get started.

Physical Security Safeguards

A robust physical security system can help you proactively identify if, and when, a disaster strikes so that you can react quickly to minimize damage. While specific features may vary based on your geographic location and associated risks, consider:

  • Fire alarms to notify you and authorities if your building catches on fire.
  • Water sensors to detect flooding due to heavy rainfall or burst pipes.
  • Temperature sensors to ensure that your building doesn’t get too hot or cold.
  • Motion sensors and video surveillance to alert you if physical damage occurs to the outside of your building—whether from a fallen tree or storm debris.

If you’re able to identify threats and symptoms early, you may be able to reduce the overall damage done to your business—or avoid it completely.

That said, it’s also important to invest in proper business insurance. This way, if disaster hits hard, your business is able to recover financially in the aftermath.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans

In addition to physical security, think too about safeguarding IT systems and business operations. Develop a disaster recovery plan, so that your business can continue running even if your physical building is under threat.

Map the technology, systems and data that are critical to sustained business, and where they reside. Plan for the worst, before the worst happens.

  • Back up data both on- and offsite so that critical information is not lost.
  • Establish timelines and processes for system recovery. Start with the most critical to get your business core up and running. If certain operations are extremely pivotal, consider completely redundant systems at offsite locations.
  • Develop systems to allow employees to work remotely or at a backup site.
  • Establish communication processes to alert employees, customers and other key stakeholders of the situation, next steps and pertinent information. Remember, that phone lines may not be available.

Businesses with a plan in place are more likely to recover in the wake of a disaster. Establish and practice yours today, so that you’re prepared for the unexpected.

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