Hurricane Michael: How to Prepare Your Business

Today, Hurricane Michael is heading straight for the AdobeStock_199778274Florida Panhandle, and will be making appearances in parts of Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolina’s. Hurricane Michael is a Category 4 (out of 5) hurricane, and if it remains at this intensity, it will be the most powerful hurricane to make landfall on the Gulf Coast of Florida’s panhandle. "Michael could develop into a potentially catastrophic event for the northeastern Gulf Coast," the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee, Florida, wrote.

As a Florida organization, and one that specializes in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), we know how scary these natural disasters are, so we put together a list to help for now, and some guidance for the future.

Tips/reminders for now:

  1. Secure Data Offsite: Properly store your data in an offsite location that is not in the path of the hurricane, ideally in a hurricane rated structure (equipped with fire suppression systems, environmental controls, raised flooring, biometric scanning, backup power supplies, and 24/7 surveillance).
  2. Adequate Backups: Ensure that all data is being properly backed up. If your primary location receives massive damage, you’ll need to retrieve your data from the backups.
  3. Updated Emergency Contact List: Acquire an updated emergency contact for each employee.
  4. Communication Plan: Should the primary source of communication be down, have an alternate communication plan such as Zello, a free walkie talkie app.
  5. Secure Facility: Secure your building with storm shutters and mitigate flood risk with sand bags.
  6. Check Generators: Ensure generators are functioning properly and have enough fuel to last several days. ALWAYS keep them outside.
  7. Employees Preparedness: Have a plan in place and review it with employees. Make sure they know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it; before, during and after the hurricane.
  8. Manage Expectations on Critical Personnel: Make sure that critical personnel know they are designated critical, and what that means to the business. (For example: if they need to weather the storm in the office to keep systems live, or if they must come is as soon as the storm passes for damage assessment.) Whatever critical means to your business.
  9. Write Down Important Names and Numbers: Don’t rely solely on your cell phone or memory. When a disaster strikes, anything can happen, and memories aren’t perfect.
  10. No Cell Phone Data or Wi-fi is Needed to Call 911. You can make an emergency call from any cellphone, whether it is an active phone or not.

After the storm passes:

If you were/are lacking in any of the above areas, ensure you have a solid plan in place for the next situation; weather or otherwise. In the world of technology, it is not a matter of if something will happen, but when. Natural disasters, hackers, and employee mistakes are data destroyers, and unavoidable; but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. With a reputable DRaaS provider you can take a load off and know that when a disaster does happen, they have you covered. To learn more about selecting a provider (and why you need one), download our eBook: DRaaS: Everything You Need To Know.

Most importantly, stay safe and be smart! We explained how to prepare your business for this hurricane, but more importantly, prepare your family, friends and neighbors. Click here for a Family Emergency Plan from FEMA.

DSM has you in our thoughts. Should you need assistance after Hurricane Michael passes, please reach out. We’ll have staff waiting to get you back on your feet.

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