44% of Americans do not have a first-aid kit.
48% of Americans do not have emergency supplies.
42% of Americans don’t know the phone numbers of immediate family members.
With disasters—manmade and natural—on the rise worldwide, and local businesses increasingly impacted by what happens around the globe as much as what happens down the street, business continuity planning is more important than ever.
Some Businesses Won’t Survive
Local businesses are the economic backbone of their communities. When they have no plan to guide recovery efforts after a disaster, the effects of lost wages and services ripple through the entire community, and the impacts keep piling up after the crisis.
Following a major disaster, local businesses that aren’t prepared continue to suffer. According to a study by the Institute for Business & Home Safety, 25% of local businesses never reopen. For those that do, reopening quickly is essential to survival. More than 80% of businesses that take more than 10 days to resume operations will close within one month.
Some Businesses Will Thrive
Nobody would hope for a disaster to boost the local economy, but experience shows that they often do. The effect is so significant that local economies are often overrun by outside businesses seeking to get their hands on valuable contracts. Often, these companies bring in their own outside workers that have no ties to the community. If your business can weather the storm, it will help your bottom line and benefit local workers and families.
Preparation is Key
Business continuity planning can help your business weather the storm—or anything else that comes along. The basic steps are relatively easy, but many businesses never get around to thinking about them until it’s too late.
- Establish orders of succession
- Develop crisis communication plans
- Design an IT disaster recovery plan
- Define organizational roles & responsibilities that will take effect during the disruption
Benefits Beyond Survival
As you develop a business continuity plan, you’ll take a closer look at your organization and its priorities. Often, stakeholders uncover ways to streamline or improve operations as a byproduct of disaster planning.
Disasters may be devastating, but planning is good for business. Get started today!
Build a Strong Foundation
Your IT systems support your business, making it is essential to design a solid infrastructure that aligns with your business goals, secures your data, and is resilient. Here are a few simple tips that many organizations neglect.
Secure Your Digital Borders
The 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon found 68% of attacks required very little skill on the part of attackers. This means that most networks are vulnerable to simple hacks by opportunistic individuals. With so many boxes to check and settings to configure, it’s easy to overlook minor flaws that create big security holes.
Experts can help you close the back doors that hurried employees or loose security guidelines leave open. In the end, the cost of an attack, measured in lost data or downtime, is much higher than the cost of a secure infrastructure.
Plan for Failure
Developing an IT Disaster Recovery Plan ensures your business can get back to work as quickly as possible after a service interruption, natural disaster, hardware failure, or anything cyberspace can throw at you. Make your IT DRP part of a larger, comprehensive Business Continuity Plan and you’ll be ready for anything. To start developing an IT DRP, follow these steps.
Enjoy the Benefits
You may not find your business in the path of a hurricane or tornado tomorrow, but your systems are vulnerable to attacks in ways that your physical structures and employees are not. IT DRP prepares you to deal with data failures, hacking, connectivity outages, theft, and a host of other IT-specific threats and crises.
Avoid the high cost of IT infrastructure failures by investing in a solid plan today.
As unlikely as it seems, it is possible to prepare for this situation and make your workplace safer.
The Current Statistics
The FBI defines a mass shooting as an event where four or more people are killed. USA Today used that definition to analyze 146 mass shootings during the last seven years and found that over 900 people had been killed in mass shootings. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence defines a mass shooting as three or more people killed or injured in a single incident. Following their standard, they estimate more than 20 mass shootings per year in the US.
The Need for Drills
Practice makes perfect. Most of the victims or witnesses involved in a mass shooting were taught how to calmly evacuate a building in case of a fire as children, but almost none of them know how to react if they are faced with gunfire. Conducting regular drills provides your organization with the muscle memory to respond effectively to an active shooter incident.
The Importance of Planning
In addition to drills and training, your business should plan for an active shooter as it would other disasters. We recommend the following best practices.
The Comfort of Preparedness
Active shooters are not something most people want to think about, but avoidance won’t keep you, your employees, or your business safe. Remember too that we learn to exit buildings safely during fire drills in school and at work, and we have some idea how to proceed in other buildings if a fire breaks out. If you take the time to train your employees, they’ll have that information no matter where they go. Some parameters will change, but knowing the basics of how to behave in an active shooter situation may save their lives even if they aren’t at the office.
It’s easy to avoid uncomfortable topics, and we all do it. But don’t let discomfort lead to a lack of preparation. If you need help with active shooter preparation, we’re here to guide you and your staff through the process.
Don’t Make It Up As You Go Along
This need to receive and disseminate information following a catastrophe is important to businesses, too. You need to determine where your employees are and if everyone is safe. You need to make sure people know what they should do or where they should go. You need to reach out to your customers. In some cases, you need to talk to the press and answer their questions.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to come up with a coherent, comprehensive communications plan in the shadow of a crisis. Often, saying the wrong thing can haunt you for weeks or months after the event.
Plan Ahead, Communicate the Plan
Your building already has an occupant emergency procedure that covers evacuation during a fire or taking cover in the center of the building during a storm, but that plan doesn’t cover communication within your organization or to your clients.
Compose two types of alerts—internal and external. Internal alerts should be broadcast through email, overhead paging systems, voice messages, or text messages to employees. Internal alerts should include information about evacuation, relocation, assembly points and status updates, including telling employees when it is safe to return to the office. Let your employees know, as part of your disaster preparedness training, how you will communicate with them after a crisis.
External communication involves notifying employees’ families, discussing the situation with the press, social media status updates, and email to customers and clients. Each external message should be crafted to suit the intended audience. In the immediate aftermath, people will accept broad statements, but they will want more concrete information as soon as you can deliver it. Being prepared will make it easier to get the right message to the right people.
Communication is Mitigation
Once everyone is safe, you need to safeguard your business and your reputation. Planning what you will communicate, when you will communicate, and to whom you will communicate in the event of an emergency, may be the difference between a full recovery and a downward spiral. Customers, clients, the media, and your employees, will be reassured by clear, concise, professional communication if you’re business is faced with an emergency situation.
After a disaster or a disruption, you’ll have enough to handle. Don’t leave crisis communications to chance.
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