Ben Hatton Could a Flood Sink Your Business?

October 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Flood of 1993

The Great Flood of 1993 impacted several cities in the Midwest, including Jefferson City, Missouri. (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Earlier this week we looked into the dangers that fires can pose to your business’ IT equipment (check out our Fire Prevention Week post if you missed it). Today we are going to look at a different but equally impactful type of natural disaster: flooding. It just so happens that today marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the Great Flood of 1993(*), one of the longest and most devastating floods in US history.

Beginning in April of 1993, the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers began overflowing their banks due to record rain and snowfall during the previous year. This led to extensive flooding all across the Midwest, destroying farmland, homes and businesses, and causing upwards of $15 billion in damages. The flood led to many businesses in the Midwest having to close their doors for good:

  1. Over 1,900 businesses were forced to close permanently.
  2. More than 5,000 businesses saw extensive damage.
  3. Approximately 31,500 workers were displaced during the flooding.

(Stats courtesy of the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Even though floods aren’t always as devastating to businesses as fires can be, taking measures to be prepared for a flood can nevertheless mean the difference between life and death to your business. If you are unsure of where your business stands in this, here are a few questions you can ask yourself , as well as a few measures you can take that will help keep your business afloat:

1) Consider your location

Is your business located in a floodplain, or in an area that could be easily flooded? If so, then having your essential IT equipment physically separated from your location, and colocated in a more secure facility may be a good option for you. This way, your equipment and data would be 100% protected from Mother Nature, and would still be available any time you need it. On a related note, the Data Cave facility is not located in any flood plain, and also has a constructed moat around the facility to divert water away (should flooding occur).

2) Consider your people

Do the majority of your employees work onsite at your business? If you answered “yes”, and your location was hit hard by a flood, how soon would they be able to get back to work? That will probably be a tough question to answer, but you could also consider business continuity as part of your overall disaster recovery plan. This would enable your employees to continue working in the event that your primary location is hit by a flood, with minimal loss in productivity. Even if your business is hit by a flood, the sooner your people can get back to work, the sooner you can recover from it. Open for business

If floods can teach us anything, it is that few businesses are immune to them, and a little preparation now can have a huge impact in the future. As it is with other types of natural disasters, taking the time to know the risks and make a plan for disaster recovery can literally mean the difference between your business sinking and staying afloat. If you would like to know more on how you can begin disaster recovery planning, please Contact Us today! We will be happy to help you.

For even more information on planning for disaster recovery for your business, check out our Top 10 Tips for DR whitepaper. It has a wealth of additional useful information that will help get you started!

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