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Before Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans in 2005, business continuity was something akin to a cottage industry. Sure, many companies had started backing up their data, maybe even off-site, but few had developed worst-case strategies if everything was cut off -- customers, employees, buildings, communications. Everything.
After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans solution providers including Tony Romanos, senior vice president at Louisiana Technology Group, were among those who would find out what "worst case" actually meant.
Louisiana Technology Group was a $5 million company prior to Hurricane Katrina, but revenue dropped to just a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year after the storm, Romanos said.
"2006 and 2007 was a learning curve for us," he said. "We had good employees but, especially after Katrina, we could not guarantee jobs to anybody, not even ourselves."
Louisiana Technology Group was wholly unprepared for the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, as was almost every other business in New Orleans.
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, many businesses still aren't prepared. According to a Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey, only 31 percent of small-business owners believe their companies are "extremely prepared" or "very prepared" for a disaster. Just as troubling, up to 40 percent of businesses that experience a natural or manmade disaster will not reopen their doors, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Both numbers draw the same unsettling conclusion: Businesses are at risk if they aren't prepared to handle an emergency situation.
According to Agility Recovery Solutions, 90 percent of small companies spend less than one day per month preparing and maintaining their business continuity plans. Here are the third and fourth tips to make sure your business is prepared for any disaster.