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How To Reduce Business Risk By Anticipating Natural Disasters

The cost of natural disasters on a business can be high. In 2021, natural disasters were responsible for $280 billion in losses for businesses across America alone. To reduce the financial impact that comes with these inevitable catastrophes, you should start anticipating natural disasters and plan out how to mitigate their impact on your business operations.

Your biggest challenge now is to identify the potential impacts of natural disasters and prepare for them before they strike. Having the ability to predict their occurrence is key to lowering financial losses and saving you heartache in the long run. But how can you appropriately anticipate and mitigate the impact of natural disasters?

Business Continuity in the Face of Natural Disasters

You need to have a contingency plan in place. For most organizations, this means having a business continuity plan that is regularly being updated and tested out. It should cover how teams should respond when an unexpected event occurs and how the business will continue its operations amid the crisis at hand.

Here's how you can prepare a business continuity plan:

Identify Mission-Critical Applications

Mission-critical applications refer to software programs or application suites that must be running continuously for a specific function or team to be successful. When creating a business continuity plan, each team must be able to identify applications that are critical to their day-to-day operations.

Assess the Risks & Remote Accessibility

After identifying the mission-critical applications, assess the potential risks that may affect your business operations should these mission-critical applications stop running. Moreover, you need to understand how a natural disaster could affect the people in charge of running these mission-critical applications. Is there a need to go on-site or can they manage to access them and work remotely?

Analyze where your business is located and what harm it could face from the impact of a natural disaster. For example, businesses located in hurricane-prone regions must always be anticipating the worst-case scenario. Using geospatial technologies can help you understand how different types of natural disasters could affect your business geographically.

Document Your Business Continuity Plan

Document your business response to natural disasters based on the mission-critical applications and business risks that you have initially identified. This allows you to maintain one source of truth that everyone from your team can follow regardless of whether they're new or not. 

Your BCP should be continuously updated so that it reflects any improvements that transpired during the execution of your plan. Retrospectives should also be conducted right after every occurrence of natural disasters. This way, you will be able to assess what and what didn't work.

Implement Emergency Communication Plan

Implement solutions that are capable of communicating with all employees, clients, and stakeholders so that they can be notified accordingly during emergencies. You should also make sure that everyone on your team is well-versed in your response plan.

Disaster Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness

Choosing a comprehensive Risk Management Information System (RMIS) platform should help you not only manage and mitigate the impact of natural disasters after the fact but should also help you proactively anticipate and prepare for future events. The cascading effects of an emergency situation can be attenuated to a manageable level if an organization anticipates business risks early on.

The active use of an RMIS platform provides organizations with insights that can be used in decision making, planning courses of action, and reducing administrative burden when it comes to operating your business during emergencies. 

Understanding Safety Risks and Hazards in the Workplace

Managing business risks starts with understanding the safety risks and hazards in the workplace. When it comes to anticipating natural disasters, you should be able to identify risks related to location because an organization will be more or less prone to specific types of natural disasters depending on where the business is located.

Utilize Geospatial Technologies

The availability of geospatial data gives you information about location, weather patterns, and other information that has a geographic aspect to it. Geospatial technologies allow you to make use of geospatial data to determine trends and anticipate the occurrence of a natural disaster.

Design Infrastructure Improvements

Geospatial data are also especially valuable when designing infrastructure improvements and predicting the potential damages that could be incurred from natural disasters. For instance, you can decide on where to establish disaster recovery sites or perhaps explore options for new facilities.

Raise Emergency Awareness

Raising emergency awareness improves decision-making among employees, leaders, and stakeholders. If people are more aware of what is to come or what may impact their day-to-day operations, there will be less panic and burden when disaster strikes. While BCP and modernized technologies aids organizations in anticipating and mitigating natural disasters, the presence of mind during a crisis is just as important. 

The Takeaway

People, processes, and technologies should work altogether when reducing business risks before, during, and after a natural disaster strikes. The importance of having a business continuity plan establishes standardized response and protocols while raising awareness and utilizing a comprehensive RMIS platform substantiates the emergency preparedness of an organization.

The future is uncertain with many things happening around the globe. The best way forward is to prepare for the worst, leverage technology, and approach things with an open mind.



Apr 28, 2022

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