In many ways, hurricanes can represent a worst-case scenario for small businesses. The storms often strike with little warning, and the immediate impact of winds, storm surge and large waves can leave a business and the community it serves with serious damage.
But unlike other natural disasters, the damage doesn’t stop once the initial storm has passed. Flooding can last for days or more, essentially causing a second, slow-moving disaster. The combination of high winds and lingering water can disrupt ground-based infrastructure over a massive area. This means that even if a business is lucky enough to avoid direct damage, it may still find itself cut off from the two things it needs to survive: communications and customers.
According to FEMA’s Ready Business guide, having a preparedness and mitigation plan in place is critical, and not only for the hurricane-stricken business and its employees. “When you are able to continue operations after a disaster,” FEMA writes, “you also improve your community’s ability to recover.”
Here are a few ways to position your business and community to make the best of a hurricane and its aftermath:
Make an honest assessment: As you would with any business challenge, identify your risk. The FEMA quiz on page 9 of this guide can help. How likely is your business to be hit by a hurricane? Does it rely on a constant connection to the outside world, or will you be OK without phone service and internet for a few days?
While no internet service is fully disaster-proof, satellite internet tends to stand up to disasters better than most other services. One reason is that satellite has less equipment on the ground at risk of being damaged.
Make a plan: When building an action plan for business continuity, experts recommend you consider six key factors: staff, surroundings, space, systems, structure and service. The U.S. Small Business Administration has some tips.
While Viasat can’t help you buy flood insurance or reinforce your roof, we can install a fast, reliable backup connection at your business in as little as three to five business days. So even if you’re expecting nasty weather in a week or two, it may not be too late to shore up your communications.
Get back to business: Once everyone is safe, reopening for business is the best thing an organization can do to help heal itself and the community following a disaster. With satellite, you won’t have to wait for repair crews to get ground-based internet infrastructure back online. And with robust features such as Managed Wi-Fi Hotspots that let customers connect from your business, you might even be able to help others get back online to let their families know they’re safe.