As several Gulf Coast states brace for Tropical Storm Barry to make landfall – and rain accumulations as high as 20 inches. Communities are preparing their homes and businesses for the damage on the horizon. Incidents like these are a common occurrence, unfortunately. In fact, floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and there are a few recommendations offered on the department’s Ready.com site to help residents prepare for the worst.
For businesses, preparing for a flood (or any natural disaster) is not something that should be left to the last minute. Fortunately, there are a few established business and data protection strategies that companies should take to protect their businesses and their businesses precious data from this flood and those that will follow:
Create an emergency plan
Natural disasters can happen at any time. While you should prepare for specific risks that are more likely in your area, having a simple plan of action will allow your company to respond in any event. Such a plan would include:
- A clear evacuation route and rallying point
- A communications plan that includes an organizational phone tree
- Shelter-in-place emergency supplies: clean water or water purification tablets, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, flashlights, and personal hygiene supplies
- Protection for business-critical documents and data (more on that in a moment)
Build up your defenses
If your business is located in an area that is susceptible to flooding – a low-lying area, along a river, on the coast, etc. – there are steps you can take to make the building less prone to water damage.
- Conduct regular maintenance of storm drains, drainpipes, and gutters
- Relocate your electrical equipment, computers, and electronics to higher ground if a flood is expected
- Consider backflow prevention valves for sewer lines if your building is regularly at risk
- Install circuit breakers that allow you to cut off electricity quickly
Explore insurance options
Even the best preparation can be no match for a major flood. For any company located in a likely flood plain or near a body of water, investing in flood insurance should be considered a cost of doing business. A standard flood insurance policy will cover $500,000 for damage to the building and $500,000 for the loss of business contents.
In addition to the cost of flood damage, understand that you’ll also need to calculate the impact of lost revenue caused by any downtime. That’s why having a disaster recovery plan that enables you to get back and running quickly is vitally important.
Protect your digital assets
Today’s businesses rely on data to compete – and losing that data in a flood can put a company at risk of going out of business. In fact, 93% of companies that lose access to their data for 10 days or more go out of business within a year. Having a recent backup that’s stored safely in the cloud where it cannot be washed away in the flood is an easy, effective and secure way to ensure your data – and your business’s future – is safe.
While many businesses have on-site backups for quick recovery from everyday data loss – like accidental deletions or hardware failure – keeping a copy of your backup off-site allows you to retrieve your files or system once destructive natural disaster like flooding passes, even if your computer or local backup is destroyed.
Putting that off-site copy in the cloud is ideal because you’ll also be able to access your files wherever you are – which is helpful if you can’t return to your normal location for a while.
What you should backup
As a business owner, you’ll likely want uninterrupted digital access to:
- Incorporation papers, contracts, and other legal documents
- Computer databases
- Access controls
- Payroll details
- Tax information
- Employee health insurance information
Acronis Backup is a proven business backup solution that makes it easy to protect the data, applications, and systems you need by storing it in the cloud – allowing you to re-establish operations faster, retain customer trust and protect the company’s reputation.
Tropical Storm Barry reminds us that natural disasters can happen at any time. While Gulf Coast residents have had some advance warning, that’s not always the case – so preparing for the worst before any problems arise can go a long way in minimizing the impact to your business.
While Acronis can’t help companies protect their physical business assets, we can ensure their data, applications, and systems are safe.