How To Disaster-Proof Your Business

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

Most of us hope that the worst will never happen – but sometimes it does. Fire, theft and natural disaster are some of the worst disasters that can strike a business. Sometimes the damage can be enough to shut down a business for good.

Whilst some disasters are out of our control, there may still be ways to limit the damage and make recovery easier. Here are just some of the ways in which you can guard your business against the most serious disasters.  

Install alarms on your premises

Alarms can help to notify you of dangers to your business so that you can act quickly. There are various alarms that every business should install.

Burglar alarms are essential for notifying people of a break-in. These are deactivated with a code and will continue to ring unless this code is entered. Some alarms are able to link up with local authorities if they go off for a certain length of time. There are also burglar alarms that can link up with your phone to alert you every time they are activated (these may even be used in conjunction with smart surveillance cameras).

Smoke alarms meanwhile are important for detecting fires early. They are a legal requirement for most businesses and should be regularly tested to check that they’re working.

A carbon monoxide monitor is also important for detecting deadly gas leaks in your premises. This too is a legal requirement in most businesses and should also be tested regularly.

Invest in the right defence measures

Defence measures may be able to stop a disaster causing damage. It’s important that you use the right measures for your company’s individual risks.

When it comes to natural disasters, consider defence measures relevant to your local risks. Anti-flood measures aren’t worthwhile if you aren’t based near water, however if you’re in a high-risk flood zone it could important that you consider defence measures such as precast concrete retaining walls and flood guards for doors. Such measures could be expensive, but necessary.

As for fire safety, fire extinguishers could be important for fighting the spread of fire. Make sure that you invest in the right type of extinguisher for the specific types of fire you’re likely to encounter – electrical fires require different extinguishers to chemical fires. You’ll also need to consider the safety of your workers in the event of fires or gas leaks so that they can exit your premises safely or conduct safety protocols. Equipment such as a cbrn gas mask and butyl gloves could keep your people safe and make the difference between death or survival.

Meanwhile, when it comes to security, consider the most likely forms of intrusion. Entrances and windows may need to be reinforced, especially if they are old and flimsy. You should also make sure that any computers are protected with digital security software.

Back up important information

Certain information could get lost in the event of a disaster. Making sure that this information is backed up can ensure continuity in a disaster.

The cloud is the most popular form of backup. Data that is stored on the cloud can then be accessible from any other device from any location. This means that if your computer or local server is destroyed by a fire or natural disaster or stolen, you can still continue to access important files from another device and keep your business running as usual. There are lot of business cloud providers to choose from.

Another option could be to backup files on a portable hard drive. This should be kept away from your office in a safe place. Portable hard-drives could be a great option for those that don’t trust the cloud, however they can not hold as much information.

Train your staff in disaster protocol

It’s important that your staff know how to react in a disaster, otherwise all your defence could be for nothing. Teaching protocol is something you should so whenever hiring new staff. Alternatively, there may be specific staff member that are trained to deal with disasters.

Many businesses use code words for certain disasters – make sure that every employee knows of these code words so that if they hear them they know to act. Similarly, make sure that they know where to find panic buttons or that they know how to trigger disaster recovery software if necessary.

Organising drills could also be important. This could include fire drills and security drills. Delegating a designated person to organise this drill could be sensible – many companies for instance delegate someone to the role of fire warden. This person could benefit from going on a course so that they know the ins and outs of what to do when disaster strikes.

Organise a professional risk assessment

If you’re unsure of the anti-disaster measures that your business need to take, arranging a risk assessment could be worthwhile. There are professional companies that specialise in offering advice on how to defend your business against certain risks.

For instance, security consultants can often help you to find security flaws in your business. They can then recommend ways of guarding against these security flaws. You may even be able to organise a penetration test, in which a security company attempts to break into your company to find weaknesses.

Take out necessary insurance

Insurance won’t prevent a disaster from happening, but it could make recovery easier. By receiving compensation, you may be able to replace equipment or repair damage as a result of the disaster.

Commercial property insurance tends to cover essentials such as burglary and fire and is well worth taking out.  Some property insurers may also cover you for natural disasters, but others may not (especially if you’re based in a high risk area). A separate cyber-insurance scheme may be needed to compensate you for cyberattacks.

Having preventative measures in place will lower insurance rates. Be wary of raising your deductible – whilst this may lower your insurance rates further, it could mean that you have to pay a certain chunk of the reparations out of your own pocket.

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