From fires to floods, natural disasters can strike at any time. June 1st through November 30th is hurricane season, which brings an increased risk of potential flooding and water damage. Businesses that rely upon their technical and communications infrastructure for core business processes will be particularly vulnerable to these types of disasters. Cloud communications services can help.
Natural Disasters Can Cause Significant Business Disruption
40 percent of small businesses don't reopen their doors following a significant disaster. Modern organizations require technology for their basic operations. From fulfilling orders to connecting with potential contacts, small businesses may not be able to continue to operate until the disaster has been fully resolved.
Of course, it's not just small businesses that suffer from disruption—they're just the least equipped to weather the consequences. Businesses of every size will incur similar costs. While the business is unable to operate, revenue will be lost. Businesses will need to replace their equipment and may need to rebuild their data, depending on how much of their data has been damaged or lost.
Damage to a business can be compounding. If a business loses data related to its inventory, it may not be able to complete sales or transactions moving forward, which ultimately leads to loss of reputation among clientele. Businesses can lose data related to prior sales, which could interfere with potential collection actions—or they could lose data that they usually use to forecast future sales.
Avoiding Disaster through Cloud-Based Solutions
Cloud-based solutions store a company's technology and infrastructure entirely off-site. Though some technology—such as desktop computers and laptops—may be used on-site to connect to cloud-based services, the processing, resources, and data are all held somewhere else.
Consequently, a localized disaster will not impact an organization's overall technological infrastructure. With the correct cloud communications setup, an organization will be able to continue its operations even during a disaster.
Workers may work safely at home even while the physical infrastructure of the business could be damaged. Further, an organization won't need to replace expensive items of equipment, such as servers, and won't need to embark upon the process of expensive data recovery.
Businesses that are able to recover faster can begin acquiring new cash flow faster, which will help a business in building a stable foundation for its recovery.
Mitigating Damage During a Disaster
Every organization should carefully prepare for a disaster by creating a disaster preparedness plan. A disaster preparedness plan outlines exactly what an organization should do in the event that a disaster happens, including which employees and managers are responsible for reacting to the disaster.
Additionally, a disaster preparedness plan should include:
- Empowering a disaster preparedness team
It's difficult for employees to know what to do during an unexpected disaster. A disaster preparedness team should be selected and empowered with the ability to take action when a disaster occurs. Not only does this create responsibility, but also a sense of accountability. It makes for faster, more effective responses to a situation that is very likely to be time-sensitive.
- Reaching out to customers
Let customers know the status of your business and how they can connect with you. Make sure your customers are safe; this type of personal touch will be remembered, and there are undoubtedly long-term customers that you may be concerned about. Cloud communications let you remain connected with your valued customers, vendors, and associates even during a natural disaster.
- Organizing employees
Let employees know what they should be doing during the disaster. Make sure they know to stay at home if it is safer there and that they aren't expected to work when it's dangerous. Employees should also be aware of when work will resume and how work will resume, so that the business can begin its normal operations as soon as possible.
- Cataloging the damage
Though your organization may have most of its infrastructure on the cloud, there will still be physical infrastructure that has been damaged, such as furniture and local end points. Once the danger has passed, it's important to catalog damage as soon as possible. This damage can then be submitted to your insurance company as soon as possible for reimbursement.
No one welcomes a disaster. Natural disasters will undoubtedly cause disruption and damage for most organizations, but a cloud communications infrastructure can help an organization rebuild quickly and resume normal operations as soon as possible. With cloud communications, businesses remain constantly connected and are able to store their most important data. All of this will reduce potential risks and improve the likelihood that a business will be able to open its doors again quickly.