The collapse of infrastructure, including electrical-energy and communications systems, is one of the most common types of damage caused by natural disasters.
Is your business prepared to face the ravages of a natural disaster? Here we share some recommendations with you, so you can be prepared when a natural event occurs and minimize the economic impact to your business.
- Collect contact information for your employees and critical suppliers, including:
- Name and contact information for each employee, with the person’s roles and responsibilities and some way to contact them should conventional communications methods not be available.
- Name and contact information for your raw materials suppliers and third-party vendors.
- Determine the minimum number of key employees, including a strategy for contacting them if there is no cellphone service.
- Identify an alternative location for a command center in order to continue your business’s operations should your current facilities be damaged and need to be rebuilt. Decide before the disaster whether you need to move a group of employees outside Puerto Rico so that they can handle your business’s operations remotely. This will depend on your business model.
- Create a chain of communication or contact between employees so that after the storm has passed they can find out how their coworkers are.
- Do an internet search and download a disaster plan and recovery model that fits your business.
- Digitalize all important administrative/managerial archives, such as the documents for submitting an insurance claim, etc. The storage method you choose should allow access even if telephone service is interrupted.
- If your business depends on a webpage or database:
- Create a manual or automatic maintenance protocol to do a backup every day, and always keep a recent copy of your data.
- Check that the backup works, in case you have to restore your data or your system.
- Move your data and webpage to a cloud service.
- Make a backup of your corporate telephone. Synchronize it to the cloud. If you have Google Contacts, download and save it.
- Be sure that your downtown page is in a different location than your online page.
- If you prefer to have control over your data, create redundancy and have duplicates in different locations. It’s important that all the servers are always updated.
- Verify the response time specified in your contracts with your systems suppliers. Consider the possibility of upgrading your contract if your business needs a 99%-guaranteed service, since not all providers offer the same response time.
- Define alternate processes for working offline.
Review your insurance policies to be sure that they are up to date and cover your needs.
Raw materials suppliers
- Invest in the following equipment and/or services, as needed, to reestablish your business’ operations as quickly as possible:
- Alternate energy
- Satellite telephone
- Fireproof lockboxes
- Batteries (uninterruptible power supplies, or UPSs) to protect your electronic equipment, appliances, etc.
- Satellite internet
- Solar powered radio
- Landline telephone and telephone equipment that works even without electricity
- Depending on the product or service offered by your business, you may have higher customer traffic than normal for a time. With your employees, develop a strategy to ensure that your attention to customers is not affected. Ask yourself:
- If you depend on raw material to operate, how will you work with your suppliers to continue to receive it?
- What will you do if the merchandise doesn’t arrive?
- How will you manage cash?
- Where will you keep the vehicle you use for your business?
Remember, don’t put your personal information or the sensitive information handled by your business at risk. Often during these natural events there are unscrupulous people who take advantage of the resulting chaos to “phish”—send out false emails, obtain your information, and commit fraud. Be sure you’re a medium of trust.
¹Popular Risk Services is a subsidiary of Popular, Inc., an affiliate of Banco Popular and is an Insurance Producer duly authorized by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to sell life, disability, miscellaneous, title, health, and variable insurance in Puerto Rico. Insurance products are not insured by the FDIC or any other government agency; are not deposits or other obligations of, nor are they guaranteed by, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates. Some insurance products may lose value.”
This article is for informational purposes only and does not represent any endorsement or guarantee of accuracy or applicability. Neither Popular nor any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or related companies is or will be responsible for any special, direct, or indirect harm stemming from the information contained in this article. Should you require further information or guidance on the subject of this article, you should always seek the advice of the competent professional of your choice.