An unfortunate reality in the business world — if not life itself — is the threat of a disaster. There are numerous kinds of disasters a business can face, from the natural ones (like hurricane threats in Florida, earthquake threats in California or tornadoes in the Midwest) to man-made ones (like accidental fires, computer system failures, etc.). As grim as it is to think about a disaster compromising your business, smart businesses know the importance of planning ahead.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead For Multiple Scenarios — It is never enough to prepare just one plan for a disaster; disasters come in all shapes and sizes, variety and severity. Because of this, you need to have multiple contingencies in place. The most obvious type of disaster is a natural disaster. In addition to natural disasters, there are also man-made disasters, like an electrical spark that causes a fire; a virus of unprecedented strength that sweeps through your system obliterating your computers; and the list goes on and on, so take the time to plan for the variety of disasters you might encounter — even if you think you never will.
Tip #2: Back Up Your Valuable Records — There are two ways to back up valuable records, information, data, etc.; these are electronic backups and physical hardcopies. We recommend both. As mentioned in Tip #1, a disaster can range from a hurricane that physically wipes your business off the map to some kind of severe infrastructure collapse that leaves you electronically crippled. Putting all your eggs in one basket, as they say, is unwise. Two off-site backup companies you might consider are iBackup and Carbonite (relatively inexpensive offsite resource for your computer/s).
Tip #3: Train Employees To Handle Disasters — The last thing you need in the event of an emergency is a company full of employees clueless as to what to do. This not only hinders surviving the disaster, but depending on the type of disaster, may even put your employees at risk. After you have developed a handful of disaster scenario plans (natural, infrastructural, etc.), train your employees on how they should react in such an event. You may even want to assign specific roles to employees in order to create a team structure that facilitates the process more smoothly.
Maybe your business will be lucky enough to never experience a major disaster. Maybe it will not. The reality is that there are no certainties in life, so the smart thing to do is prepare in advance. Regularly back up your valuable records and business information in both physical and electronic mediums. Additionally, train your employees on how to react in case of emergency. Remember, it is not just your business that is affected by the scenarios mentioned above, but your clients too.