Disasters can come in many different forms, from natural disasters like floods and earthquakes to security breaches and catastrophic technological failures. Regardless of the type of disaster, they all have one thing in common: they can cause serious damage to an organization’s data, information infrastructure, and reputation. The difficulty is made even worse if the data you lose or the infrastructure that’s compromised would have been critical to your recovery and damage control efforts.

That’s why it is so important for organizations to be prepared for a disaster before it happens. Disaster preparedness involves taking steps such as strengthening security measures, creating backups of important data, and developing a plan for recovering operational capacity quickly after a disaster occurs. In this article, we will discuss some of the ways that organizations can prepare for a few broad types of disasters.

Technological Disasters

Technology can be a great help to businesses and organizations, but it can also bring its own set of potential risks and disasters. When technological systems fail, the results can be catastrophic for a business. Outages, data loss, system crashes, or power surges can cause serious disruption to operations and lead to long-term damage.

In the past, the only organizations that needed to prepare for technology failures were those whose operation was centred around information or computing. More than 30 years into the digital age, however, nearly every organization larger than a family business utilizes some form of digital technology in their core business processes.

More than just being common, integrating digital tech and the internet into your operation is functionally required if you want to be competitive. Without some kind of internet presence or the ability to send and receive information digitally, you’ll have trouble doing business or partnering with most other organizations.

What this ubiquitous dependence on technology means for today’s organizations is that every one of them needs to be prepared for a tech failure. What would happen if a power surge hit your head office? How much would an extended blackout disrupt your operation, and how badly? What other options do you have?

The specific steps your organization will need to take to prepare for a tech disaster are going to depend on your unique circumstances, but here are some good first steps:

  • Ensure all of your computers are on surge-protected power lines. With modern electrical infrastructure serious power surges are relatively rare, but they do still happen from time to time. When they do, they’re impossible to see coming, so it’s best to be prepared, just in case.
  • Ensure that all of your critically important technology, that is, the machines and systems you can’t live without, are somehow replaceable. Odds are that the most important tools in your operation aren’t particularly cheap, but you should have a backup plan if you were to somehow suddenly lose them.

Catastrophic Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes now and then. Usually, those mistakes are relatively minor, like spilling your coffee on your clothes before a meeting. Sometimes, however, a mistake can be a lot more serious, like losing millions in a phishing scam.

While mistakes of this severity are rare, it would be unwise to pretend that they’re impossible. It’s bad enough when a catastrophic human error costs your organization a large amount of money or time, so it’s best not to compound that crisis by not having procedures to respond to them.

As much as possible, and at every level of management, try to consider Murphy’s law in each critically important business operation, and encourage your managers to do the same in their own domains. The point is not to become paranoid about every possible problem, but by deliberately considering each possible mistake you will probably come across possibilities you hadn’t considered before.

Security Disasters

Security disasters can be especially costly for organizations. Security threats range from cyber-attacks, data breaches, and malicious software to insider threats, identity theft and even physical security threats. In the worst scenarios, these disasters can cause severe damage to a business’s reputation and finances and may lead to long-term operational disruptions.

To protect against security disasters, organizations need to have robust security policies and procedures in place. Security protocols should cover every aspect of the business’s digital infrastructure, including devices that access the internet, local networks, mobile phones and other devices.

Organizations can also benefit from investing in strong anti-virus software, firewalls, two-factor authentication and encryption technology to protect against malicious activity. Security policies should also include training for staff members on how to identify suspicious activity, as well as regular security audits and assessments.

By investing in these disaster preparedness measures, organizations can better protect their data and operations from potential disasters. By being proactive in protecting their information, organizations can minimize the risks of suffering a disaster and help ensure their long-term success.

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can have a profound impact on an organization and their ability to protect and recover its information. Extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and wildfires, can cause catastrophic damage to businesses – not only in terms of the physical property but also in terms of the data they possess. Data loss due to natural disasters is often caused by a lack of power, damaged or destroyed hardware, or even the inability to access the premises.

Organizations should have a plan in place that outlines how they will protect their data and operations during natural disasters. This could include investing in reliable backup systems, hosting cloud-based backups and replicating key datasets offsite so that they can be accessed in the event of a disaster.

Natural disasters are the hardest to predict and prepare for, so the most reliable way to protect your information is to distribute backups in more than one physical or digital location. If your organization still primarily relies on physical formats for its information storage, it’s taking an unnecessary risk. Digital information storage comes with a host of benefits, but the most important is the ease with which you can duplicate and distribute digital files. Compared to almost instantly uploading or copying a digital file, duplicating physical files is expensive, time-consuming, and bad for the environment.

Contact us today to find out how digitization can elevate your organization and keep your information safe, even in the worst-case scenario.