Businesses Are Unprepared for Many Disasters

Dec 20 2013

Disaster recovery is a common topic for homeowners, but is too often unexamined by businesses. A recent survey by the Zurich Insurance Group polled businesses in 71 countries and found that many business were not prepared for disruptions. These disruptions could be anything from a widespread power outage, IT and service failures, and adverse weather. To drive this point further, 75% of the respondents reported experiencing at least one incident that caused a disruption last year. While many of these disruptions are not likely severe disasters, it is worth thinking about disaster preparedness for businesses because problems are all too common.


Disruptions to businesses can mean lost revenue, damage to inventory or physical structures, and a prolonged halt to operations–affecting jobs and revenue. Because of the chain reaction of consequences, evaluating the preparedness of your business is critical to mitigating the effects of a disruption–no matter how minor. Identifying risks the business may face, having a contingency plan for contacting suppliers and vendors, protecting inventory and data, and training employees in how to respond are all parts of this larger preparation. Having a well planned and executed response to a disaster or other disruption can be the difference in a quick turnaround to normal functioning and an prolonged halt to productivity.

Good leadership and detailed planning are the backbone of any successful recovery. Ongoing planning and education on how to respond to a variety of disruptions, including natural disasters, is the most effective way to condition a fast reaction and recovery. When everyone knows what to do, the response is generally much smoother. Of course, having a trained response may not prevent damage and severe disruptions–some things simply can’t be planned for. This is where things like insurance coverage and emergency planning come in. During a disaster, safety of personnel is the top priority, but protecting important data is also very important. Be sure backup all important information in multiple places and discuss protocol for protecting inventory. Communicate with vendors and suppliers about these matters as well. Like all good emergency preparedness, good communication is the foundation to everything subsequent action.

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