While winter hasn’t officially begun, there’s no denying that the weather has taken a turn for the worse, especially for businesses that operate in the Northern regions of the country. If snowstorms and icy winds haven’t yet affected the momentum of a company’s productivity and project coordination, there will undoubtedly be inclement conditions to contend with as the winter progresses. Organizations expecting to confront these challenges in the coming months will have to prepare their business continuity strategies to navigate the worst-case scenarios that await them.
‘Tis the season for continuity
Even if a company has plenty of backup and contingency planning components in place, the winter months bring risk management requirements to the next level. From the data center to the physical office footprint and the remote access networks provisioned by IT administrators, business continuity must be ensured throughout the businesses’ many departments and management levels. For business leaders who may need a bit of assistance assembling a resilient business continuity strategy for the hazardous winter months, here are four keys to set them on the right path:
1. Prepare facilities for a freeze-out: Anyone who has endured the full spectrum of winter’s wrath knows that storms can come out of nowhere – and last for days on end. When it comes to business continuity, this means that facilities need to be prepped for the worst, including the possibility of a snowed-in overnight stay for staff members. A Marsh Risk Consulting report suggested filling the office with plenty of provisions and supplies – including backup generators and batteries – to ensure comfort and safety of all employees in the face of a major weather event.
2. Promote employee awareness: Even the smallest seed of ambiguity can develop into a chaotic cyclone of confusion when a winter storm interrupts a business’s operations, meaning that employee awareness needs to be a top priority in the orchestration of a business continuity plan. The Marsh Risk Consulting report urged decision-makers to set up a foolproof emergency notification system that keeps all staff members in the loop when confronted with a crisis scenario, offering precise direction and instruction for employees at all levels of the organizations.
3. Ensure data and app resilience: Leaders should prioritize the safety of their personnel first and foremost, but must not forget that their digital assets are critical to the ongoing productivity of their teams. This means developing a disaster recovery plan for each element of its IT infrastructure, from server operating systems to databases and individualized business applications. Establishing which tech components deserve prioritization during a worst-case scenario is a difficult but essential step to take when developing an overall business continuity strategy for the winter.
4. Provide an alternative workspace: Work-from-home strategies can keep productivity up in a pinch, but eventually, team members will need to collaborate face-to-face despite the forces of nature working against them. Telecommuting programs tend to offer only a fraction of the features that employees need to succeed, and in the event of a major regional outage, they may be cut off completely from their electronic options. Businesses must supplement their business continuity plans with dedicated workstations at which employees can rendezvous and accomplish objectives in a close-knit environment.