First off, we’d just like to knock on wood and say that we really, really hope we aren’t jinxing ourselves right now. Snow can be pretty, and a day off from work or school can be nice in theory, but in the real world there are consequences to just shutting down for a day and saying “see you tomorrow.”
For one thing, schoolchildren will have to make up their time in June when the weather is nice and they’d rather be doing anything other than sitting inside. Working adults, however, don’t have the luxury of a make-up day. Everything that needs to get done on a snow day will need to just be crammed into the next working day… unless your business is well prepared before the next storm to keep things operating.
In order to keep your business up and running - to the best of your ability - through whatever Mother Nature throws at you, take a look at these four tips.
1. Take Advantage of Cloud Apps and Storage
One of the easiest ways to keep your business going through a storm is to get on board with cloud apps and storage. This way, your company’s applications are accessible anytime, anywhere. So if your office is shut down due to a weather emergency, you can guarantee that your employees can get their work done from home.
2. Brush Up On Your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies
As a follow-up to the “working anywhere, at any time” mindset, you’ll want to make sure that you have a strong Bring Your Own Device policy in place, and that your employees’ equipment is properly configured and set up.
If a storm pops up out of nowhere and catches everyone off guard, or if your employees don’t have company-issued laptops, you don’t want them using their personal devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, to complete company work from home. You’re taking on a risk.
However, with a good BYOD policy in place that includes minimum requirements such as strong passwords and anti-virus software, as well as proper permissions and configurations set up, you’ll be able to significantly mitigate that risk.
3. Configure a VPN
Again, we’re huge proponents of cloud-based storage and apps, but if you’re company isn’t into that kind of thing (or you just aren’t there yet), there’s another option. You can configure your company’s VPN and ensure that all of your employees know how to access their files. The downside of a VPN is that if your actual location is offline (due to a power outage, for example) and your organization doesn’t have another instance of its environment ready to spin up at a secondary location, having a VPN in place won’t matter since no one will be able to access it. Which brings us to our next point...
4. Make Sure Your Backups Are Ready and Running
Please, please, please make sure you’re backing up your organization’s data, with duplication and replication if possible! If a huge storm hits (or even a mildly inconvenient storm with an unfortunately placed tree branch) and power is knocked out at your company’s primary location without any backups running, you could lose everything.
Additionally, without another instance of the data to work off of, your company will be down and out until power can be restored, which could take just a couple of hours, a few days or more. As a business owner, you don’t want to find out the hard way just how long you can go without access to your data before the situation goes from “inconvenient” to “insurmountable.”
Also, as an additional precaution, check into whether or not your company has backup generators in place and what those are connected to. Even if your business is located in a rather large office park, you may be surprised to learn that generators are only powering things that landlords and safety officials deem essential, like emergency lights, and not things like server rooms and climate control. Having a generator kick in to keep things running when the main power source is down could make a huge difference in the event of a multi-day outage.
Want to Test Your Business Continuity Planning Skills?
See if you know what a solid business continuity plan should include. To learn more about whether your company is ready to weather the storm, take our business continuity quiz.