Hurricanes are not that easy to predict. Will Hurricane Harvey strike Houston or 50 miles East? Will it start as a Category 1 or 5? Thanks to evolving meteorological technology, including better satellites and faster computers, scientists are able to model and make predictions on natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes with much more confidence than ever before.

But with more sophisticated and accurate models, hurricanes predictions are NOT guaranteed 100% accurate.

The devastation that Hurricane Harvey amassed this week has been hard to watch. And what’s harder for me is that officials and residents around Houston could not predict and hadn’t adequate planning to prepare for such a massive storm. The headlines tell this all-too-often story:

“Historic Flooding and Disaster”

“Epic Flood in Houston”

“Devastating Texas Disaster”

The models that predicted Harvey forming over Houston didn’t converge until it was about to hit. That means even the best and brightest minds in our nation—the experts on hurricanes—could not come to precise conclusions almost to the point where it was too late to take substantial preventative action.

What point do I want to make here?

Disasters—even ones that have seasonal predictability like hurricanes—are quite unpredictable. We don’t realize the extent of damage, the impact on our businesses and communities, or the reach through our networks—until it is too late.

What does this mean for your business?

When it comes to prevention, your business needs to have a disaster recovery plan that is air-tight and ready to implement, ESPECIALLY when it comes to keep your information technology—all of the critical components to your business running.

The reason why I’m writing about disaster recovery now? It’s prime season for natural disasters in our region too! But we’re also surrounded by risks that may lead us to unexpected disasters all the time. I want to make sure you are prepared to the extent where you have ALL of your ducks in a row.

I want to ask you one simple question today: If Hurricane Harvey, a flood, a tornado, a power outage, a cyber attack hit your office today, could you easily recovery?

Do you have all of your critical data backed up?

Do you know where your team members would work if your office were destroyed?

If you rely on internet, do you have a plan for a secondary internet option in the event that your primary source went off line for a long time?

Do you have the processes, contacts and information in place and at your fingertips to make sure that in the event something seriously went wrong that critically impacted your business operations and sales that you’d be able to quickly recover?

While we are able to accurately predict and prevent some disasters from happening—applying and testing patches to your network to prevent open doors to cybercriminals or predicting hard drive or hardware failure [NOTE: these are two time bombs that Dynamic Edge completely eliminates before they become problems!]—there are too many disasters that we are not able to see clearly before we’re confronted with them.

And bigger than having a disaster—be it from Mother Nature or from some other means—is not being able to recover from the disaster after it’s past. In fact, 43% of businesses fail to re-open after disasters. And another 51% close within 2 years of a disaster, simply because they fail to have solid disaster recovery plans!

Here are a few considerations your business should be evaluating to ensure successful recovery from a disaster:

Create A Rock Solid Disaster Recovery Plan

This plan needs to take EVERYTHING into consideration. Who is going to do what? Who is in charge of initiating disaster response within your company? Who are your critical vendors? What are critical components to your business? How can you ensure those critical pieces stay running throughout and after a disaster? In the event you cannot use your physical office, Where will your staff work? Can you facilitate them remotely? Do you have infrastructure in place to keep operations humming?

These questions are only a few examples of the types of examples you should be thinking about (but if you want a more detailed list, see our recent discussion). But every single one is critical to keeping your business online.

Make ALL Critical Data Is Backed Up

Even though your IT guy may say that he’s backing up your data, more than 65% of the time, the backup either fails or he isn’t doing backups as often as he should because he’s fighting user issues and doesn’t have enough time to do what he says he’ll do. Backing up critical files is more important now than ever. With crypto crud and other cyberattacks and ransomware infecting business networks, many businesses have no solid backups to save their business from paying ransoms and hoping everything will be okay.

Note: Your IT Support team should be regularly testing the backups they take. It’s one thing to back up a computer. But without testing to ensure backups are working, you might as well not be paying your IT Support! The majority of businesses that I audit fail to have backups that work, even though they’re told everything is working fine by their IT Support.

Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Testing is a critical component to anything in IT. We test patches before applying them to ensure clients are not riddled with effects from buggy solutions to software security. We test processes before initiating them throughout our company.

And we certainly make sure disaster recovery plans are run through and rigorously tested annually.

Without testing your business disaster recovery plan, you might as well have your staff blindfolded. If you don’t know what you think might work, will actually work, how can you know the outcome to a disastrous event?

We recommend testing your full business disaster recovery plan annually (we actually perform this for clients!). This ensures that any changes or problems from last year can be ironed out—any contact changes, vendor changes, team changes or process changes—so that your business can better handle any future problems.

If not anything else, Hurricane Harvey is a reminder to us all to be thinking about preventing (and dealing with) business disasters.

Are you sure your business disaster recovery plan will keep your business running in the event something happens? Contact Us TODAY for a business disaster recovery roadmap meeting.

P.S. We’ve noticed an uptick in scams related to Hurricane Harvey. Before signing a check or handing over a credit card number, please review some tips on how to avoid digital scams!