Operational Considerations: Maintaining Continuity In The Face Of Disasters

The United States is currently in the midst of hurricane season, but if you survey the calendar alongside headlines of late, you may notice that it’s always the right time of year for one type of natural disaster or another. 

From forest fires on the West Coast to tornados, hurricanes, floods, and deep sub-zero temperatures, one in three Americans was faced with a weather-related disaster this summer alone. Weather conditions might even be considered as substantial of a threat to businesses as cybercriminals. 

Of course, weather events have always been a problem to one degree or another, but climate change has accelerated the issue, forcing businesses to reckon with the issue sooner rather than later. To this end, those in especially vulnerable areas must turn their attention to business continuity efforts that will keep them online when they’re needed most

Dealing With Disasters

One of the most important aspects of business continuity that organizations need to consider when dealing with disaster prep is recovery planning. That includes drawing up emergency response plans, as well as working with experts to ensure your data is fully backed up and secured against both natural disasters and outside attacks. This can be difficult, especially if you want to be sure that your backup files are also up to date and feature the latest information, but experienced data management and recovery professionals can help you establish an approach you can rely on.

Practice And Prepare

In addition to taking steps to establish backup and recovery protocols for your organization’s data, one thing that vulnerable groups have learned from experience is that it’s important to practice for crises situations. 

Sometimes people will claim that this isn’t possible, but that’s not true. For example, oil and gas businesses that operate in the Gulf of Mexico and are frequently taken offline by hurricanes have been known to perform tabletop drills to assess the steps they need to take in the event of a drill site evacuation. Even if your business is, practically speaking, very different from these, you can still use similar tactics to evaluate issues like power outages, floods, generator usage, and data recovery processes.

Progressive Risk

Most conversations surrounding environmental risk focus on intermittent disasters, but as noted above, climate change means that many organizations are facing more than just occasional challenges. On the West Coast, rising sea levels threaten major tech campuses, like those of Facebook and Google, and it remains unclear who will take responsibility for protecting these properties. 

Will these companies, which have invested huge amounts of money into elaborate headquarters’ like Facebook’s Frank Gehry designed site, simply pick up and move, or will they expect taxpayers to fund the necessary protections? 

While such huge corporations undoubtedly have continuity plans, continuity plans serve businesses that have the ability to pick up where they left off. The long-term consequences of climate change will require more elaborate plans for data protection and recovery.

Natural disasters are poised to become more frequent, the constant influx of structural and technical damage, business disruptions, and big decisions. While we may not know exactly what this will look like, comprehensive planning can help prevent the worst outcomes and ensure your business knows what steps to take when a crisis strikes.

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