Officially, Oct. 13, 2012 is the International Day for Disaster Reduction. We at Polygon would like to commemorate this worldwide date of disaster awareness by outlining how business leaders can do their part to reduce disaster risk.
The UN designated the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) in 2009. This day is set aside as a time to promote a “global culture of disaster reduction,” according to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Mitigation, prevention and preparedness are included in this international effort to make our countries and communities more aware of and ready for disasters.
As providers of disaster recovery services across the United States, Polygon’s employees see the positive impact of disaster preparation firsthand. When business leaders set aside time for teams to consider and prepare for worst-case disaster scenarios, their companies are generally better prepared to get back to business once the storm or flood has passed.
On the other hand, lack of preparation is often catastrophic for a company. Disaster recovery services can vouch for the fact that about a quarter of all businesses will not reopen following a disaster. Preparation distinguishes those businesses that survive from those that fail. And when businesses are unprepared, the whole community suffers, as workers can’t earn a paycheck and consumers can’t buy goods.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction is a perfect time to kick-start your firm’s disaster preparedness plan. Here are a few basic steps you can take today to make your business more prepared for disasters:
1. Assemble an emergency kit for the office.
Collect items to support your team for 72 hours following a disaster. The kit should include water, food, first-aid supplies, flashlights, radios and backup batteries, at a minimum.
2. Train employees on what to do if a disaster strikes.
Just as you train your family on fire escape routes and meeting places, your employees should have a good idea of what to do in emergency situations. Create phone trees to contact all workers in the case of a disaster. The National Federation of Independent Businesses has good information on ways to prep your staff for disaster.
3. Create backup workarounds for your most crucial business systems.
What if your on-site data backup systems were down for the count? What if you couldn’t access your regular databases? Look at your business process as a team, and pinpoint the most important systems – those that you absolutely must have access to in order to operate. Then, create a workaround solution for each system. For instance, it is smart to figure out how to back up data to a remote location so you will still have access to it even if local data centers are inoperable.
4. Scan documents now with a firm specializing in disaster recovery.
Documents are probably the last thing on a leader’s mind when a natural disaster hits. However, lack of foresight in document preservation poses its own dangers. Client files, contracts, banking information, deeds – such crucial hardcopy documents cannot always be salvaged after a tornado, flood or earthquake has struck. And without these foundational documents, it may prove impossible to get your business back on its feet.
Fortunately, disaster recovery services like Polygon can help. We can assist your business in identifying its most important documents. Then we’ll work with your insurance agent to improve protection for key documents. Finally, we can offer backup scanning services so as to turn hardcopies into digital documents that can be backed up remotely.
According to Blindsided by Bruce T. Blyth, 75 percent of companies without business continuity plans fail within three years of a disaster. By taking steps to prepare your company now, you can help it survive even the direst disaster.
[ Photo by: james.thompson, via CC License ]