As an organization grows past a handful of founders and starts to increase it’s annual revenues, it starts to become a valuable revenue stream worth protecting and a support system for all the people it employs. You can’t just ignore obvious risks anymore.
Potential business disruptions evolve with changes in the business landscape. For instance, the increased use of third-party digital tools can create security threats in your organization. Expanding your operations to a different region exposes your business to new environmental and socio-economic challenges.
Such issues necessitate a flexible business continuity plan (BCP) to mitigate the associated disaster recovery threats. A BCP identifies the threats facing your business, assesses the possible outcomes, and provides solutions to recover from disaster.
The first step in building an effective business continuity plan is to understand the types of threats that your business faces that could cause disruptions and threaten business continuity. Read on to find out the top 9 disaster recovery threats for Jacksonville businesses.
Top 9 Disaster Recovery Threats
Below are disaster recovery threats that you should plan for in Jacksonville, Florida.
Hurricanes begin as severe storms that develop over warm seawater. As they drift to the mainland, they gather more energy from the heat of evaporating ocean waters. Warm, humid air moves toward the storm’s epicenter in a violent upward spiral. It can create wind speeds of more than 74 miles per hour.
A hurricane storm grows stronger until it reaches the land, where it causes heavy rains and wild winds. Its strong winds can damage virtually anything, including buildings, cars, trees, and infrastructure. They sometimes cause the loss of human life.
Florida’s location makes it quite susceptible to hurricanes. The state is near the tropics and has a vast Atlantic waterfront. As a result, westerly winds blowing along the equator cause frequent hurricanes in Florida. These hurricanes aren’t often catastrophic but they frequently cause widespread evacuations, flooding, and displacement of employees for sometimes a week or more. You need to have a plan in place to continue operations. Make sure to have the appropriate IT policies in place for remote work, BYOD, and information security.
Since Jacksonville is on the Florida coast, it’s highly vulnerable to hurricanes. The city gets a hurricane strike every few years. Therefore, businesses in the area should consider creating a BCP in advance to help them recover if a hurricane affects them.
A tornado can develop without warning and produce devastating winds with speeds above 250 mph. While only a few touch down in Florida, the state leads nationally in frequency per 10,000 square miles.
The most intensive ones usually strike in spring, mainly along the coastal region. They can tear roofs off houses, destroy communication lines, overturn automobiles, level well-constructed buildings, and so on.
The typically have a small strike radius, but come with severe damage. If you have a data center located in Jacksonville it’s critical to plan for the possibility of a total loss via a tornado strike and have a backup to restore from in a different geographical area. Moving to the cloud can make a lot of sense here.
Due to the unpredictability of tornadoes, it’s advisable to have a disaster recovery plan for your Jacksonville business. It helps you resume business operations quickly after disruption by a tornado.
A nor’easter is a severe winter storm that affects vast coastal regions. They bring heavy precipitation in the form of rain and snow accompanied by gale-force winds, turbulent seas, flooding, and coastal erosion.
Nor’easters can occur during any season, but they are more frequent and most disastrous between September and April. They destroy homes and business premises, paralyze transportation, destroy communication lines, and disrupt economic activities.
Nor’easters are predominant along the East Coast of North America, including Florida. If you have a business in Jacksonville and the surrounding regions, a nor’easter can strike at any time. Similar to hurricanes the flooding, power loss, and other impacts can cause employee displacements, especially for those employees located near Jacksonville’s beaches.
4. Data Breaches
Cyberattacks have become so rampant that they are targeting even the smallest businesses and individuals. Every organization, particularly those with minimal or no data protection mechanisms, can expect a data breach.
Nowadays, criminals don’t only attempt to penetrate your IT environment stealthily. They are employing more sophisticated techniques like phishing and ransomware to access your data.
Data breaches are rising by the year. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 791,790 cyberattack complaints in 2020. That was a 69 percent increase from the 2019 numbers. The reported losses exceeded $4.1 billion.
FloridaTrend describes Florida as the third most fertile ground for internet crime in the United States. With cyberattacks increasing in numbers and becoming more complex, you should heighten your data security and devise better ways to recover from a breach.
These threats have the most potential to cause a crippling impact on your Jacksonville business’s financial situation and brand reputation.
Before a criminal penetrates your network, know all your valuable data and the possible consequences that would follow a breach. Apply robust data security measures on essential data and observe the regulations that can reinforce your protection.
5. Personnel Unavailability
Events like storms disrupt businesses and people. When they occur, individuals prioritize keeping their loved ones safe and comfortable before reporting to work. You might move your workers to a different location after a disaster but still record significant absenteeism due to inaccessibility. Personal issues and tragedy’s such as car accidents can also leave key personnel unavailable.
Employee unavailability is a business continuity threat when you have a lean workforce. It’s likely to affect your business in Jacksonville at some point due to the occasional disruptive weather conditions in Florida.
The problem is worse if you have certain employees who serve critical roles that nobody else can. If the individual can’t report to work over a prolonged period, you need to address the issue. Virtually all businesses require some professionals to handle contingencies. Make sure you have a plan and policy in place for how to provide access to unavailable employees documents, email, and more.
6. Single Point of Failure
Business tech is vulnerable to single point of failure (SPOF) incidents. That means a single component of a network taking down the entire system. For instance, an application that relies on one server goes down when the server does.
The solution to SPOF is ensuring that vital components of a system are redundant. For instance, you can have multiple complementary servers that take over the primary server’s functions when a problem arises.
While most high-end hardware equipment like servers have built-in redundancy, a standard desktop might not. Using it for server applications can lead to unexpected failure when the computer develops issues.
SPOF can also be a threat to business continuity if you have distributed workplaces that rely on the same network. Have a contingency plan to handle technical emergencies that can halt your business.
7. Human/Operator Errors
Many people think that IT problems affecting mission-critical services result from catastrophic tech failures. However, most of them are a consequence of preventable human errors.
Operator errors can lead to operational derailments and data security issues in modern IT environments. An example is the AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) outage that occurred in 2017. An employee who was debugging a billing system issue made a wrong command that put some of the unintended servers offline. The error disrupted services for thousands of customers, including renowned businesses like Spotify and Netflix.
Make sure your business is protected by carrying adequate errors and omissions insurance and has a plan in place for how to handle these incidents when they occur.
There are also human errors that can compromise data security in an organization. They include poor password practices, opening unnecessary high-privilege accounts, sending protected health information (PHI) to the wrong recipient, and more.
One way to minimize such mistakes is tracking what happened and the reasons. The purpose is to learn from the incidents and make improvements, not to punish the parties involved.
Through such an approach, you can understand your operational gaps and vulnerabilities and seal them. It encourages employees to report errors instead of hiding them. Since human errors are inevitable, having a backup and recovery plan is necessary.
8. Internal Business Risks
Some organizations like chemical manufacturing factories and hospitals operate in high-risk environments. Providers can make mistakes that amount to malpractice or endanger their own health, safety, or lives.
Assess your business functions to understand how they might impact your organization. If you perform high-risk operations, your management team should make informed decisions, including when hiring. Identify the potential causes of failure and develop a business resilience plan.
Every year, wildfire destroys thousands of acres of land, homes, businesses, and infrastructure. They occur for different reasons, including lightning, uncontrolled debris burning, and arson.
The menace doesn’t spare Florida. In 2020, a Southwest Florida fire engulfed more than 5,000 acres, forcing hundreds to evacuate.
People get desperate watching wildfires consuming their source of livelihood. It brings direct and indirect losses to organizations.
If your organization is along the wildfire’s path, you’ll most likely lose your business premises. Even if you don’t own property, you’ll suffer from the disruptions caused due to the evacuation process and workhour adjustments.
If you operate in a wildfire-prone zone or work with employees, suppliers, vendors, and customers, who do, every fire incident threatens your organization. The best precaution is to assess how a wildfire can impact your business continuity.
Set up an emergency communication facility to enhance employee safety and install fire protection systems for your critical assets. Insuring against fire can also help.
How to Manage Business Continuity Risks
You cannot eliminate all risks facing your organization. But you can do the following to manage them and reduce their impacts. Here are some tips for managing different disaster recovery threats.
- Identify internal and external risks associated with your operations
- Analyze these risks to estimate their likelihood to occur
- Introduce or eliminate processes to control the risks
- Monitor the risks and adjust your controls accordingly
- Put plans in place for how to handle what comes next after a disruptive event occurs
IT risks are some of the most difficult to manage since they are constantly evolving. Their impacts can be devastating. For instance, a data breach can damage jeopardize your customer data, result in lawsuits and fines, and damage your reputation.
Therefore, your Jacksonville business should have a reliable backup and recovery plan.
Data Backup and Recovery Services
NetTech offers superior data backup solutions for different disaster recovery threats. To hasten your recovery from and enhance business continuity after unprecedented data loss. We help organizations in Jacksonville resume business operations quickly by restoring their damaged data in record time. We also assess, secure, and maintain IT infrastructure and mission-critical information for organizations across Florida.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organization.