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How you can prepare your business for disaster?

For many of us, when we hear the phrase, “disaster preparedness,” we think fire drills or evacuation routes. We make a mental note to review our building’s emergency exit locations with employees and leave it at that. 

Yet, disaster preparedness involves much more than understanding where to go in the event of an emergency, especially since disasters aren’t always physical. They can be virtual, too, and come in the form of cybercrime attacks or network failures.

Businesses that fail to fully ready themselves for potential disasters could face terrible consequences. Consider this harsh reality: the U.S. Department of Labor estimates more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a disaster and, of the remaining companies, at least 25 percent will close in two years.

To mitigate your business’s risks of falling into these categories, take steps now to develop a disaster preparedness plan that will help your organization withstand the unexpected. As you create your plan, consider the following:

Communication strategies – Your business has both internal audiences (employees) and external audiences (clients, customers, partners, etc.) that will likely need some degree of information related to how a disaster has impacted your company. Decide ahead of time who will be responsible for communicating with each audience and in what manner, whether via e-mail, phone, company website, blog, or other means.

Financial management – Assess all of your organization’s fiscal responsibilities, such as payroll and regular bills, because these obligations won’t vanish even if you’re elbow deep in flood waters. Having all account and billing information in a safe, accessible place will help you stay on top of your finances even if disaster occurs.

Data backup – Your business’s data is one of its most valuable assets, so begin the practice of backing it up today. You can do so through a number of online backup solutions or by replicating your hard drive on a weekly basis.

Cloud-based software – Moving some or all of your software to cloud-based versions of the same programs is another alternative to data backup, since these solutions automatically store data in secure, off-site locations and make it accessible to you from virtually anywhere

Technology updates – Maintaining updated technology will inevitably help your business avoid virtual disaster, since updates generally include security patches that guard your network from the latest digital threats.

For more guidance on readying your business for disaster, visit, where you can access a free eGuide from Microsoft that includes many more tips and resources.

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