The latest blog in our How to Survive a Disaster series highlights how business continuity planning can significantly mitigate the damage caused by workplace fires and floods.
2019 has been a challenging year for the UK environment agency, particularly with the large number of critical flooding events.
The damage sustained to the Whaley Bridge dam back in August threatened to wipe out the nearby village in Derbyshire. As winter approaches, adverse weather continues to cause significant flood damage to communities all around the country.
The cost of natural disasters, such as workplace fires and flooding can be significant. It isn’t simply the cost of repairing and rebuilding; you also need to account for disruption to business.
And much like with ransomware, downtime is often where expenses skyrocket – not the initial disaster.
A comprehensive disaster recovery plan cannot prevent adverse weather, but what it can do is mitigate damage to your business as a result of flooding or an office fire (amongst other things).
3 Main Risks of Natural Disasters
These types of disasters are unpredictable by their very nature, which is why some organisations are caught out.
In some cases, businesses have even been forced to close as a result of ill-preparedness for a natural disaster.
There are three central risks you need to consider when producing a business continuity & disaster recovery plan.
Damage to property is an obvious risk posed by a natural disaster.
The costs associated with replacing equipment, furniture, and electrics, amongst other things, are extensive. And this is before you consider any repairs required for your workplace building.
But before you’re even able to add up the costs of an on-site disaster and contact your insurance provider, the building is likely to be off-limits until it is structurally sound.
In a situation where your single place of work is unavailable, what are the contingency plans? Are your employees able to work remotely?
If your staff cannot work, your business cannot meet the demands of its customers and suppliers, which means you’re haemorrhaging money for every second of downtime. In fact, IT downtime alone is costing businesses over £250,000 per hour.
With this in mind, it’s certainly worth looking at enabling a remote working provision for your staff – even if it is only for disaster situations. This means that you’re not reliant on a single workplace for your entire business to function.
The same principle applies with your data, and it’s just as serious.
Data is the currency of your business – it’s the CRM system that drives sales, the accounting system you use for invoicing, the ordering system that helps your business with stock control.
If you maintain one version of your data, and it is stored on-site, what is your contingency plan if that location is damaged or demolished? Failure to account for this circumstance will cost you, both financially and reputationally.
Permanent data loss could mean bankruptcy, because without it, your business simply cannot operate.
So, What’s the Solution?
Of the 9 key threats to continuity, a natural disaster is the hardest to prevent. You can put flooding contingency plans in place, especially if you’re in a high-risk location, but nature is unpredictable, and you cannot always account for flash floods.
A fit-for-purpose business continuity plan will include contingencies for the main risks associated with natural disasters, and much more.
For example, a Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plan from Neuways works on the principle of the rule of three. This means that 3 versions of your data are maintained at all times, with 2 versions stored in separate on-site locations, and crucially, 1 version stored in the cloud.
With all of your critical business data maintained in the cloud, an on-site disaster poses zero risk to your data. You can simply restore this data by downloading it to a device in an alternative location.
This not only safeguards your data but allows your team to continue working as normal in the event of a disaster.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is fast becoming a popular option for SMEs.
This places a business’s business continuity & disaster recovery provision in the hands of a team of disaster recovery experts. This ensures the security and rapid recovery of data in the event of a disaster.
DRaaS is a great option for businesses concerned about the effects of natural disasters on their ability to operate. Following a flood, there are numerous priorities a business must address immediately. Disaster Recovery as a Service ensures that critical data recovery is not one of those.