As Houstonians, sometimes it feels like we can never catch a break. Am I right?
One day you’re sweating through record high temperatures as the city asks you to raise your thermostat. And no one will soon forget shivering through freezing lows with no power in 2021. Every season seems to come with its own brand of Houston weather complications.
For Houston business owners, this elevates frustrations to a new level and warrants a strategic business continuity plan. Because if the flood waters rise, the power goes out – or worse – you’ve still got a job to do or one to get back to once the emergencies subside.
A natural disaster’s or other unexpected event’s impact on your business directly correlate to your response. Furthermore, proactive planning with the proper systems can dictate your business’s success after such an event. This is why both business continuity and disaster recovery plans are so important. This is especially true if you live in a place like Houston – prone to tropical storms, hurricanes, and flooding.
What To Include In Your Business Continuity Plan To Be Effective When Recovering From Disaster
If you need to keep your business running during an emergency, you need a business continuity plan. However, a disaster recovery plan is also important should you have no choice but to stop operations. The goal is to first continue business throughout any emergency. And second, to get applications and systems back to normal quickly should operations come to a halt.
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1. Accessible Cloud Data Storage
If your business isn’t running on the cloud and it’s not out of compliance for you to do so, then please get with the program!
Cloud computing has opened doors to secure and mobile data storage. In the event of a disaster (like a hurricane), this means:
- No worries over in-house servers flooding and losing everything
- Ability to log in remotely from wherever you’ve found refuge from the storm
- Security features give you control over who accesses what data
Cloud computing, however, is only helpful if you migrate your data before an emergency. The team at Brooks IT Services can handle this migration for you with little to no downtime. There are so many benefits, including cost savings, increased productivity, and optimized processes. Reach out to us to learn more.
2. Tech Necessary To Run Your Business
While you probably could work from your phone, do you really want to?
Honestly, that sounds like a whole lot of trouble that would likely result in extremely low productivity. Your business continuity plan should include the tech you’ll need to keep your business running.
If you and your employees already work from laptops, then you should be set in that department. However, does anyone require additional monitors? And don’t forget about keyboards, mouses, notepads, pens, and sticky notes.
Make sure everyone knows exactly what to grab when heading to higher ground. Or consider investing in emergency tech. This could include additional laptops, portable external monitors, extension cords, fully charged portable chargers, batteries, and more.
3. Emergency Equipment For Business Continuity
Whether you’re a born and raised Houstonian or a recent transplant, I hope you know enough about hurricanes to properly prepare!
While flooding is a very real and serious concern, not all areas will flood. In fact, you may be sitting high and dry while other areas of the city collect most of the water.
If this is the case, you may not need to evacuate. However, sourcing your power may still be an issue. Here are some pieces of equipment you’ll want to consider having on hand to keep your business operations running:
Some folks get generators for their entire houses or office buildings. Others may get a stand alone generator to plug in as needed. But one thing is constant – generators are like gold in a flooded city with no power.
Unfortunately, your generator isn’t going to run on high winds and flood waters. You’ll need gas to keep that baby humming. As hurricane season approaches, it’s a good time to stock up on gasoline. However, make sure your emergency gas is stored in a safe and accessible location.
You don’t want to get stuck in a boat without a paddle. Or, in more relative terms, stuck without transportation to evacuate, get more gas, or other supplies.
While big trucks are king come hurricane season, they’re not the most economical daily driver for Houston. So if purchasing a large SUV is out of your budget, have another plan on hand. Think ahead and make plans now for how you’ll get around if the need arises.
If you live or work in a low-lying area, then you’ll probably want to invest in some sandbags. These are used to keep rising flood waters out of homes and other buildings.
4. First Aid Kit Because Safety Is Always #1
One thing many people don’t realize is that the flood waters aren’t necessarily from the rain. In fact, Houston’s bayous provide natural drainage paths for high waters to escape to the Houston Ship Channel. But the system is more complicated than that.
West siders aren’t likely to forget the fear of water being released from Addicks and Barker Reservoirs during 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. That shines a light on the intricate water flow systems throughout the region.
Imagine getting a cut on your body during the chaos of a storm. Now, consider what would happen if that cut is exposed to stagnant flood waters with no first aid kit in sight! Wishful thinking won’t prevent a very serious infection when there’s limited access to emergency services.
5. Evacuation Plan In Case You Can’t Take The Wake
Houstonians have seen unexpected levels of flooding from 2015’s Memorial Day floods, 2016’s Tax Day flood, and 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. Needless to say, you can’t 100% anticipate the aftermath of a major storm or flood in Houston.
Even with the best business continuity plan, you’ll also need to consider an evacuation plan. At the end of the day, your people are your top priority. If their health and safety become a risk, it’s your cue to move them out.
6. Trial Runs Because Disasters Aren’t The Time To Figure Out If Your Plan Works
Do you know how you can trust a business continuity and/or disaster recovery plan? Put it to the test!
But you don’t have to wait for an emergency to ensure your plan is floodproof. Instead, you can run through simulated scenarios. Have your employees pretend there is an emergency and follow protocol. From there, you can see what parts of your plan work and what parts need to change.
Get The Business Continuity Plan You Need With Brooks IT Services
The BITS team helps clients run through a number of worst-case scenarios to ensure the implemented plans can take on the challenge. The great thing about business continuity and disaster plans is they’re not just for hurricanes and floods. In fact, they can be useful if your system is hacked, an employee accidentally deletes all your files, a surprise virus sends everyone home, and more.
Stop worrying about the unknown. Let Brooks IT Services help you prepare for likely and unlikely scenarios before it’s too late. Contact us today to get started.