Rough winter weather exposes unprepared businesses

The Northeast part of the United States has been blanketed with snow recently, emphasizing comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. Unfortunately, a new FM Global-commissioned survey of U.S. workers discovered 32 percent gave their employers grades of Cs, Ds or Fs for their winter storm preparedness. More than 50 percent of respondents are unsatisfied with their companies' readiness for future events.

Brion Callori, senior vice president of engineering and research at FM Global, explained the survey results shed light on how businesses must better prepare themselves for winter storms.

"Insurance won't bring back lost customers, market share or fix a damaged corporate reputation for unprepared businesses. A business continuity plan which has been well-tested and communicated to employees can address such risk and help companies avoid costly physical and financial losses," Callori said.

Some tips for improvement
Companies that overlooked disaster preparedness this winter should use this opportunity to improve their future business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. Heavy snowfall can make offices inaccessible or cause leaks that may damage sensitive equipment.

"Winter weather is another event that tests disaster preparedness."

FM Global encouraged organizations to plan for future winter storms as if they will experience freeze-ups at some point. Firms should also determine if their office roofs are weak in any areas. Appointing staff members to constantly check building integrity for cold spots, pipe breaks or structural damage is also an effective preparation strategy.

Finally, FM Global indicated businesses should have procedures in place to maintain heating during operation shutdowns.

Bring in recovery experts
With spring right around the corner, firms may not give winter much thought until much later in the year. However, if these past few months have taught organizations anything it is that weather is unpredictable. Businesses that have had no issues so far in 2015 with blizzards should not rely on this good fortune continuing.

Disasters can strike at any moment. Companies that want to make significant improvements to their business continuity and disaster preparedness policies should contact recovery specialists to identify any vulnerabilities with their current strategies. These service providers also make recommendations for data backups, which are essential for protecting mission-critical resources from disruptions and enabling end-users to access information to perform their jobs.

Mother Nature is unforgiving many times, throwing powerful storms at organizations across the country. Snow may not receive the bulk of the attention when it comes to weather-related disasters, but companies cannot overlook any type of event that may negatively impact their ability to perform on a daily basis. Recovery specialists will make sure they can respond quickly following any type of disruption.