Disaster Preparedness Plan: 3 Ideas for Your New England Business

No matter how hard the weathermen may try, New England weather is unpredictable. We all know that nor'easters pretty much do what they want. Although Winter Storm Niko is behind us and Orson will move on within hours, two more months of fickle forecasts lie in wait. New Englanders have an unmatched level of weather tolerance, but a snow emergency can also wreak havoc on commutes, building structures and power lines, threatening the operations of unprepared businesses in the storm's path without a disaster preparedness plan.

When employees can't get to work, or a power outage takes IT systems (and subsequently, your operations) down for hours, that's when the snow really starts to take its toll on a business. Because many small or mid-sized businesses have single office locations and rely on local employees, these businesses can be significantly affected by a regional disaster. In 2017, its easier than ever to equip your employees with the tools they need to do their jobs from just about anywhere. Businesses that succeed at weathering the storm have implemented the right hardware/software to mobilize their employees and an effective disaster preparedness strategy. Modern technology advancements have also made it feasible for businesses of any size to implement a successful business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan with minimal impact on their resources or budget. Technology such as the cloud make enterprise-class protection available and affordable, ensuring that your business is prepared to continue its operations.

Here are three simple ways you can enable your organization to handle a storm:

1. Productivity anywhere with the cloud -  Employees should be able to remotely access critical files and/or applications from the cloud and collaborate seamlessly with other employees, all while maintaining your business' high standards of customer service. The deployment of secure, cloud-based office solutions, such as Office 365, can enable employees to access business-class versions of software applications like Word and Excel, and collaborate from any location, nullifying many of the negative effects of severe travel disruption. Used in conjunction with SharePoint a cloud-based collaboration and document management platform — the Office 365 suite can allow many employees to continue their work unhindered from home or a temporary office.

2. Remote meetings with video conferencing - You may be snowed in, but your clients may not be. Meetings can easily continue with a video conferencing solution that allows you to share documents, presentations and collaborate just as you would in person. Skype for Business is an affordable option, and part of the Office 365 suite of tools, that allows you to connect with anyone with a phone or internet connection. Having a meeting solution helps you and your employees avoid the hassle of rescheduling meetings, making your clients or partners wait, traveling in hazardous conditions.

3. Data Backup - Heavy snow and ice are often accompanied by power outages. Power outages can cause devastating damage to a business’s IT systems, which can significantly increase downtime after power is restored. Avoiding data loss from a power outage is straightforward—you need a secure, second copy of your critical business data in a separate location that you can easily access in case your primary systems are damaged due to power loss or other data disasters. iCorps recommends on-site image based backups of your environment with cloud redundancy for tiered resilience. Managed data backup solutions, like iCorps Guardian, allow businesses to recover within hours of a disaster.

More blizzards are inevitable for New England. Now is the time to review your preparedness plan or enlist a provider of Boston IT services to do so.

If your business requires any IT assistance because of Winter Storm Orson, you can request emergency support here.

See more Disaster Preparedness tips by downloading our checklist:

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