Hurricane Irma has been marked a Category 5 storm, targeting the Caribbean Islands and Puerto Rico by midweek. By the weekend, Irma is expected to make landfall in Florida. With storm surges predicted up to 11 feet, the storm could cause catastrophic damage to those in its wake. While the storm’s path is still progressing, Puerto Rico and Florida have declared a state of emergency to prepare for the worst.  

Residents in the foreshadowed impacted areas are encouraged by officials to stock up on all necessary provisions and to move to safer grounds. After securing one’s personal safety and home, it’s also important to take into account the impact Irma could have on local businesses. If time allows, preparing one’s business to weather the storm will help those impacted get back to work following the storm.

Here are a few business continuity tips for local businesses as this storm approaches:

  • Create a phone tree for your organization and stay in touch.

  • Have a plan and contingencies.

    • What do you need to take from your office?

    • How will you support your customers, and from where?

  • Send out the storm plan to your employees, customers and partners. Include a communications schedule and stick to it.

    • Send an update to employees every few hours with what you know and don’t know.

    • Send updates to customers, partners and suppliers with updates that affect them regularly.

  • If your business cannot withstand a period of lengthy downtime, secure a facility further inland for you and your employees or ensure everyone is able to work remotely.

  • Hurricanes can put data centers out of commision. Make sure your business data, backups, applications, and server images are stored off-site.

    • Your IT professionals will be able to restore systems either virtually via the cloud or at the site where you’re resuming operations.

    • If time allows, test the backups of crucial servers before the storm hits.

While it’s still early in the week and Irma’s path may change, it’s important to be as prepared as possible. We’ll continue to post updates throughout the week as Irma progresses.

To learn more about various types of natural disasters and what they can mean for your business, download our eBook: The Natural Disaster Survival Guide for Businesses. Most importantly, be safe!