We at the Florida CFO Group hope that all our neighbors came through this storm unscathed. As Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall near Florida’s Big Bend as a CAT 3, makes its way out of Florida and into nearby states, we send our well wishes for safety to residents in Georgia and the Carolinas. Of course, tropical weather is just a part of living in paradise. As the storm passes and outcomes are being assessed, we hope for minimal to no damage. Planning for the potential disruptions caused by weather and other events should be part of the management of every business – anywhere. There are many guides to minimizing the impact of business interruptions, as we continue to power through this hurricane season, here are a few key points to consider as you remain prepared for future events.
- Develop a Business Continuity Plan: This should be a comprehensive plan that documents a risk assessment and detailed steps to prepare for, mitigate, and recover from business interruptions including hurricanes and other weather events. This plan should be developed with the input of all business departments. Planning well lets you worry less. But…if you don’t have a comprehensive plan, following steps 2 through 10 below will address most concerns.
- Protect vulnerabilities: What operations/teams are most at risk? What needs to be shut down or moved to prevent property damage or injury?
- Backup data: Take the time to do this before the storm makes landfall. Backing up critical data in advance avoids data loss and allows the company to recover quickly. If the company does not have a fully tested and ready backup data center, seek, and perform a safe backup alternative that is out of the path of the storm.
- Identify key employees: In advance of a hurricane, identify which team members are critical to getting back to business after the storm. Make sure you can maintain contact with each. Designate employees who can jump in and perform another team member’s duties should they be unable.
- Communicate: As a storm approaches, communicate early and often with your team. Let them know what to expect (closures, relocations) and how to “check-in” after the storm. Some companies use a designated emergency phone line or web portal to get important messages out while their networks are down.
- Implement: Consider activating data systems continuity plans before the storm hits to limit business downtime and data loss.
- Get out of the path of the hurricane: It’s most important to get out of the path of the storm.
- Check-in with your team members: The safety and well-being of your company’s people is a top priority once the storm has passed. Ensure employees are free from danger and be prepared for production delays.
- Secure connectivity: Once everyone is safe and accounted for – get back online and ensure employees are connected. Research the nearest mobile recovery units for areas where service isn’t yet restored. Some employees will be able to work from home while others will need to go to the mobile recovery units.
- Assess the damage: As a final step, evaluate any damage caused to the business whether it’s property damage or something else. Storm surges will have receded, and first responders will have communicated instructions to return to the affected areas. Use caution. Electricity may be active in buildings, and you’ll need to confirm when it’s safe to turn the power back on. Inspect structures and document necessary damage for insurance purposes.
Be prepared, be safe, and be well!
For more steps on what your financial leaders should be preparing during hurricane season, reach out to us here and an experienced Florida CFO Group partner will get in touch with you ASAP.