What would you do in the event of a building fire? Or flood? Would you be able to protect your business continuity – if a natural disaster strikes?
AccuWeather predicts Hurricane Harvey, which has wreaked havoc in Texas, may be the most costly natural disaster in United States history.
AccuWeather has raised Harvey’s estimate of the impact to the nation’s gross national product, or GDP, to $190 billion or a full one percent, which exceeds totals of economic impact of Katrina and Sandy combined. The devastation of Hurricane Harvey is still developing, as parts of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water, structural devastation and chemical concerns.
Sadly, Harvey is only the latest natural disaster to captivate and horrify the world.
According to Impact Forecasting’s 2016 Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report, there were 315 natural catastrophe events in 2016 that generated economic losses of $210 billion. For historical context, 2016 was the seventh highest year on record with the combined economic loss exceeding the $200 billion threshold for the first time since 2013. Notable events during the year included major earthquakes in Japan; Hurricane Matthew in the United States and Caribbean; catastrophic summer flooding in China, Europe, and the United States; several extensive severe weather outbreaks in the United States; major wildfires in Canada and the United States; and drought across parts of Southeast Asia and Africa. The top three perils—flooding, earthquake and severe weather—combined for 70 percent of all economic losses in 2016, according to the Impact Forecasting report.
While optimism can be a factor that distinguishes champions of business, it can also be a mechanism of denial. During 2016, historic flooding in the state of Louisiana led to catastrophic damage in the greater Baton Rouge metro region as total losses were estimated to range between $10 billion and $15 billion. More than 7,300 businesses in the Baton Rouge flood zone were devastated – closed – because of flood waters.
To be prepared for anything – including natural disasters – consider these cautionary tips!
- Technology Continuity: The severity and length of business disruptions caused by fires and flooding can vary considerably. To be prepared for extended or permanent facility damage, businesses should maintain continuous off-site backup of data, applications, and server images, as well as have arrangements in place for re-routing incoming calls to an alternative site and/or to employees’ mobile phones.
- Process Continuity: Because building fires and flooding are highly localized, they typically only disrupt processes that touch a single company location. Business continuity plans therefore need to provide for alternative locations and means to perform actions such as answering phones, processing orders, issuing invoices, signing checks and filing reports required by regulatory mandates.
- People Continuity: Prepare an emergency posting for the company website that can be activated immediately and progressively as the consequences of the event unfold. Consider establishing next-day workspace provisioning in another company facility, as well as internal communications for keeping employees updated on resource availability, recovery status and work-at-home expectations.
To learn more about how natural disasters can impact your business continuity, and how to prepare for the worst, contact CompuData’s Managed IT Services experts today! Start prepping now!