Disaster-Proofing Your Brand: Preparing for the Unplanned

Disaster-proofing or futureproofing and business continuity are two sides of the same coin, both meant to avoid the threats of downtime. As such, downtimes are sudden, unplanned, and in all probabilities, unwanted. Yet, according to a DevOps survey, “The average hourly cost of an infrastructure failure is $100,000 per hour.” Now, added to that is the cost of wages payable to employees—(number of employees) x (average wage) x (hours of downtime)—and soon, the amount of loss sustained is so great that the business cannot be salvaged.

Understandably, the statistics supporting the data behind the effects of a disaster are dark. As Forbes and FEMA have individually reported, at least 40% of businesses collapse in the face of a disaster. Moreover, of those that manage to reopen, around 29% eventually fade away within two years, succumbing to the spiraling effects of the disaster.

While we cannot control disasters, whether man-made or natural, business enterprises can adequately prepare themselves for crisis with a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and effective crisis and disaster preparation planning. However, this demands expertise, making it imperative for businesses to opt for a reliable and experienced team of business-recovery consultants. With the right minds, it’s possible to proactively plan out the aftermath and the recovery efforts while ensuring optimum agility. 

Disaster-Proofing before a Disaster

Before hiring a crisis preparation consultant, it is important to have an idea about the forms of disruptive occurrences that your business could come across: hardware/application failures, fraud, humane errors, natural disasters, and so on. Obviously, the ways to surpass these disruptions aren’t known to every business owner. The following points are a walkthrough that shed some light on the issue.

Preventing Frauds and Safeguarding Brand Equity

Frauds in business include embezzlements, data breaches, and corruption. Fraud affects businesses negatively not only in terms of money, but also reputation. This can be one of the most devastating to your brand and the perception of your company.

Communication, looking after the well-being of employees, and valuing employee experience sets the tone for a culture that fosters loyalty. This, in turn, translates to trust with consumers. Further, regular audits and the separation of tasks also serve as crucial steps in avoiding fraud.

Hiring a crisis communication professional is also a great idea, as they can guide you through messaging control schemes that fit your business—in advance of a calamity.

The Importance of an Accessible Insurance and Policy

A disaster is an emergency situation for any business. It requires immediate help as, with every passing moment, there might be irreparable losses that might prove fatal to a business venture. Yet, very few companies take their insurance so seriously as to go over their policies with their insurance providers from time to time.

Being under-insured is a typical blunder. An independent, reliable disaster recovery consultant brings these issues to the table. Also, they regularly evaluate the company’s finances and hold meetings with the policy provider, adequately updating the policy as the business grows. Furthermore, consultants are also up-to-date regarding state/federal financial assistance grants and loans that would be applicable to your business and can be crucial to your company’s policy.

Logistical Approach to Business Continuity Plan

Of all disasters that can disrupt your business, natural disasters like the current COVID-19 crisis are the most unprecedented. With them, it’s almost always impossible to determine the extent of damage and scope of recovery.

The first step to assessing the extent of sustainable damage is to create computerized as well as physical records of the business’ functions and resources. In turn, this allows the company to ensure that its tactical services and resources remain functional. It’s absolutely crucial to enable customer service and clear messaging post-disaster.

Business continuity is a cyclic process that is only successful through regular assessment, updates, and improvement. A go-to consultant is one that supervises over all of these aspects on a regular basis while being affordable at the same time.

Christine Wetzler has owned the boutique firm Pietryla PR & Marketing since 2002. It has offices in Chicago and London, and has been recognized as “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur magazine, and as one of the top 20 firms in Chicago by Expertise. She is also a member of Forbes’ Agency Council.