Superstorm Sandy hit the northeastern coast recently with a vengeance. Businesses in her direct path saw inventory destroyed, expensive electronic equipment rendered useless and hard copies of important data washed away. Many additional businesses (not in the immediate path of the storm) suffered from loss of power, and in some cases, loss of access to important data stored out-of-reach on powerless machines.
The Importance of Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP)
The storm taught them the importance of disaster recovery planning—the hard way. Without a doubt, the businesses that will bounce back the quickest from the storm’s destruction will be those who kept extra copies of all their important documents securely stored at an off-site location.
Such foresight will allow them to pick back up where they were before anyone had even heard of Sandy. Additionally, they will be able to furnish important financial data (things like copies of purchase order receipts and sales projections) to aid in insurance claims.
How to Prevent a Natural Disaster Destroying Your Business
There are several lessons here that all businesses should take note of:
1. Have insurance. Know what your policy covers. Make sure it covers everything from a burst water heater to a hurricane.
2. Be redundant. Redundancy is good. Having extra copies of important information ensures that sensitive data isn’t lost should disaster strike. You should also make sure your business has a protocol for document management and that it’s being followed.
3. Use off-site data storage. Extra copies won’t do anyone any good if they are destroyed along with the originals; keep backups of sensitive data secure in an off-site location.
4. Make sure all sensitive data is stored securely. Disasters bring out both the best and the worst in people—looters are common. Make sure even in a worst-case scenario your most sensitive data is safe.
5. Have a contingency plan in place. Make sure employees are aware of the basics and that they’ll know what to do and how to communicate in an emergency situation.