By Mielle Sullivan, Janus Networks

We all have seen the pictures of the devastating effects of the Jan. 12th earthquake in Haiti. Thousands are dead and much of the capital city of Port-au-Prince is in ruins. This incident was a grim reminder to us as Californians of the devestation of earthquakes.

If another strong earthquake were to strike the Bay Area next week, what would happen to your business? Every business, no matter its size, should have a disaster preparedness plan. Here are some steps to take:

• Analyze the day to day operations of your company. Identify the components that are crucial to your business’s survival and subsequent recovery. This may include payroll, accounting, and customer relation management systems.
• Schedule an appointment with your insurance agent to review your coverage and see if your coverage needs to be changed or supplemented. If you don’t already have it, think about adding business-interruption insurance, which will replace any lost income should your company get hit by a covered incident.
• Nominate someone to temporarily operate your business in case you become injured or were otherwise unable to work. Perhaps an employee, a member of your board or an advisor?
• Of course, yours will not be the only business affected if disaster strikes. What other vendors/suppliers are you dependent on? Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Find back-up suppliers you can use in case of emergency.
• Back-up and secure your data. Data loss is one of the most common problems businesses face after a disaster. It is crucial to back up your data in a safe and secure off-site location. Janus Networks has solutions for just this situation.

Disaster planning can be a bit daunting and maybe even seem a little morbid. It is easy to put off, because we don’t like thinking about undesireable situations. But, a little preparedness can go a long way towards recovery. Remember, more than half of all small businesses never reopen after a disaster. Will your be one that will?

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