When you started your business, you put your heart and soul into creating it. You wanted it to be a success, and still likely do. However, nothing is ever truly safe and the unexpected could happen at any time – especially, it seems, when you’re the least prepared. This means that now is the time for you to dedicate resources and energy to protecting your business in the event of a disaster, before anything has the chance to blindside you.
Assess Your Risk
Before you can prepare your business for a disaster, you need to identify the kinds of disasters that are likely to affect your business. Figuring out what risks are most likely to affect you means figuring out the best way to prevent or mitigate them when they happen. Evaluate how prepared you are for each one of these and either prepare or at the very least make sure everyone who needs to knows what to do.
In addition to assessing tools, ask yourself questions like, do you have emergency equipment on site? Have you trained your personnel on how to respond in the event of a problem or emergency? Do you have data backups in place in case of ransomware or any other kind of catastrophic cyber malfunction? Are you insured properly?
Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage
After doing a risk assessment, you want to talk to an insurance agent or a business insurance broker to make sure your business is covered in case a something should happen. Many business owners mistakenly believe they have sufficient insurance coverage only to learn later that the policy they had been paying for does not cover their particular problem or situation. Ask about business interruption insurance. This will help your business continue paying bills even if operations get shut down.
Backup Your Data
Anyone who owns a business, but especially anyone who owns a small business, need to make sure their data is stored securely and that they have easily accessible backups. Backups should include key documents, like licenses, contracts, corporate records, etc. The paper copies of these documents should be stored somewhere that’s secure, such as a bank lockbox or a fireproof safe.
Many businesses choose to back up their data on the cloud. The benefit of cloud backups is that they can be accessed from anywhere and by anyone who has been provisioned to do so. This means that if there is any sort of disaster or emergency, such as a natural disaster or if you are the victim of ransomware, you can get access to the information needed to keep your business running from anywhere you might end up.
Review Your Disaster Plan
In the event of any sort of natural disaster, be it a flood, earthquake, or even a fire, there should always be a plan in place to make sure your business can return to normal operation. You may have had a disaster plan in place that was right for your business five years ago. However, as time goes on and your situations change, you’ll need to update your plans to meet your current needs. It’s a good idea to review what your plans are and decide if they should be changed or updated in any way. If you decide your plans are sufficient, you and your employees should rehearse what to do in preparation for the real thing. Get into the habit of doing this twice a year.
Disasters happen when you least expect them. Failing to plan for a disaster is planning for your business to fail if there is one. If you take simple steps now, you can keep your business running strong no matter what the world throws at you.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. She can be reached on twitter at @KaraMasterson.