Emergencies are inevitable. Is your business prepared?

Blog | April 20, 2017

Reading time: 3 min

Earlier this year the entire Northeast was hit with snow, rain and sleet. Airports and public transportation were shut down affecting travelers from Virginia through Maine. Several states and towns declared a state of emergency, preventing anyone from getting on the road.

Here at Billtrust we dealt with a few more unexpected emergencies. A fire at an electrical station caused thousands in Philadelphia to lose power for a day. Heavy winds downed a number of trees, taking out the power and physically blocking the access road to the Billtrust headquarters. There was no need to worry though, because we had a contingency plan in place, so work continued from home as usual with meetings conducted via phone.

image of a tornado and thunderstorm for the billtrust Natural Disaster Recovery Plan

You can’t beat Mother Nature, but you can create a backup plan, and that’s even better.

The reality is that extreme weather can’t be rescheduled for a more convenient time. You won’t get a warning when a power outage hits your office. But it is your job is to keep your team and keep your business up and running as much as possible while dealing with the situation. That’s where a strategy, technology, and best practices come into the picture.

So how do you protect your business from a worst case scenario situation?

  1. Establish an emergency plan for any natural disaster, blizzard, earthquake, power outage/blackout, hurricane, etc. The safety of your employees is the most important factor during any emergency situation.
  2. This may seem like common sense, but make sure you have a secure cloud-based backup for all important documents. Having access to your documents when you can’t make it into the office can be the difference between a minor nuisance and stopping your business dead in it’s tracks. Don’t forget to make sure all valuable physical copies are secured within your office space when you’re not there.
  3. When it comes to natural disasters, driving to or from the office can be treacherous. Having the infrastructure in place for employees to be able to work from home can keep your company moving forward, without putting the safety of employees at risk.
  4. Even if your company has only one location, make sure you have a data backup and an infrastructure in other parts of the country as part of a backup plan. If a disaster hits and destroys your entire office, you need to be able to shift the work someplace else while you rebuild. Billtrust has offices across the country, which helps us protect important data and shift work to other locations. We can keep working and keep our customers happy in an emergency and not skip a beat.
  5. Communication and awareness is how you navigate any disaster or extreme weather with minimal impact on your business. Have a clear emergency strategy plan and share it with your organization. Go beyond the occasional fire alarm drill, and practice alternative communication routines and work protocols several times a year to keep everyone well-versed in what to do.

Does your company have a plan for when natural disasters strike? When was the last time you thought about how to keep your organization safe and productive when they can’t get into the office?