How to Disaster-Proof Your Business
Are you ready for the worst?
Hurricane shutters, sandbags, and flashlights might be the first things that come to mind when you think about preparing for natural disasters. But for businesses, disaster prep is a lot more complicated--and often costly.
As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the northeastern United States, here's a look at 12 products and services that Inc. has reviewed in the past, and that are designed to keep your business running smoothly if catastrophe strikes.
Safeguard All Your Documents
SentrySafe's file cabinets are fireproof, waterproof, and crushproof--capable of withstanding a 30-foot drop. The cabinets come with high-security locks designed to withstand picking and drilling.
Cost: $2,436 for a two-drawer file cabinet
Be Prepared for a Power Outage
If the power goes out, PowerReady's Indoor Power System automatically switches on to keep important equipment running for up to five days. The system runs on rechargeable batteries and can be connected to solar panels.
Diversify Your Business' Risk
It's a good idea to set up backup servers in a different geographic region. If your on-site servers fail, switch to the alternates. Latisys, a colocation service with four data centers around the country, also offers disaster-recovery services.
Cost: Starts at $500 a month
Keep Communications Flowing
If your landlines go down, PBX Parachute automatically reroutes incoming calls to alternate numbers, including home phones and cell phones.
Cost: $400 a year to back up five extensions
Hatch an Escape Plan
A last-ditch (and, we know, sort of ridiculous) option, Seatchute's executive swivel chair has an emergency parachute stored in the seatback cavity. You can use the parachute, which has received a Technical Standard Orders authorization from the FAA, to jump from a height of at least 500 feet.
Monitor Your Supply Chain
BCMexperts will alert you by e-mail if your suppliers are being threatened by natural disaster. You can also log on to BCM’s website to view potential trouble spots on an interactive map. The service provides emergency contact information and provides alternate production sites.
Cost: Starts at $4,000 for six months
Train Your Employees on How to React
Not sure how to plan for disaster? Preparis offers online planning tools, training for managers and crisis teams, and response protocols for more than 250 threats. You can log on to your online account to send text, voice, or e-mail messages to your staff during emergencies. The service also has iPhone and BlackBerry apps.
Cost: Starts at $250 a month
Fireproof Crucial Equipment
Firetrace tubing senses heat and automatically sprays a noncorrosive, nonconductive chemical to squelch flames without harming equipment. You can install the tubing in hard-to-reach enclosures of machinery, cabinets, and IT hardware.
Cost: Starts at $1,000 for a basic system
Reserve a Mobile Office
If disaster renders your workspace unusable, Agility Recovery Solutions will dispatch a ReadySuite mobile office in a trailer complete with desks, computers, and Internet access.
Cost: $495 a month to put a 48-seat mobile office on standby; then, if you need one in an emergency, you pay for only incidentals, including generator fuel
Stay Online When Your Internet Goes Out
GATR Technologies's inflatable satellite antenna provides a T1 Internet connection that allows you to send e-mails, make Internet calls, and hold online videoconferences if your main Web service fails. The 20-pound antenna can run on solar power, AC power, or a generator.
Cost: $1,000 a day to rent one antenna
Set Up a Shelter
Perfect Storm Shelters are designed to withstand wind gusts of up to 250 mph. Each shelter has an 8-inch-thick steel roof and walls and a reinforced steel door with two dead bolts.
Cost: Starts at $3,350 for a small shelter with room for up to three people
Keep the Snail Mail Flowing
Worried about falling behind on crucial correspondence during an emergency? Mail-Gard will print and mail payroll checks, statements, customer invoices, and other critical documents for you during a crisis.
Cost: Subscriptions average $2,000 to $5,000 a month