Being caught off guard is one of the biggest worries we have as individuals, and that concern translates over to business. Many of history's biggest incidents—natural disasters especially—had the lasting impact they did because they were unexpected. At the very least, they were not expected to reach the magnitude they did, so people affected by them were unprepared. Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of an incident where people and businesses were not prepared for a storm of that magnitude, so they suffered even greater consequences. Last year, the Northeast suffered the same fate when Hurricane Sandy hit because many were not expecting a storm of that size to hit their area.
So how does an citizen or an organization prepare itself for a large natural disaster? By expecting the unexpected.
That's the sentiment shared in a CRN article published last month on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The article said that for companies to truly prepare themselves for the unlikeliest of events, they must expect them to happen and plan accordingly.
The article offers several tips on how to do this, and chief among them is the practice of defining a disaster. Businesses should do this not by determining what could initially happen—a hurricane, a fire, etc.—but rather identifying every possible outcome from that event. For example, if a hurricane hits, will that cause your office to get flooded? If your office floods, will your machines become damaged? If your machines are damaged, will you lose pertinent data? The list goes on and on.
The article quotes David Van Allen, a disaster recovery professional, who believes planning for what could transpire if a disaster were to happen will leave organizations more prepared when that disaster happens to strike.
"A disaster is anything that causes business to cease functioning in a manner or fashion that results in significant loss," Van Allen said. "If you break it down into individual components, you can plan for it."
No one knows when the next Katrina, Sandy or massive blizzard is going to hit, at least not until right before the incident occurs, but companies that properly research and plan probably have a good general idea of what could happen when they do. Even businesses in California that don't have to worry about snow storms or hurricanes in the traditional sense are at risk for disasters local to them, so it's important to always be prepared for one and its potential impact. Working with a California business insurance provider can help organizations develop effective disaster recovery plans.