2021 Hurricane Season: What Can We Expect?
Hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30th. NOAA‘s Climate Prediction Center anticipates another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Although storms are not expected to reach the historic highs we witnessed in 2020, we’ll still see a higher number of storms than we do in a typical season. This year, we’re likely to see 13 to 20 named storms, with 3-5 of those likely to be major hurricanes (category 3, 4, or 5).
“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”
The economic impact of storms on businesses is significant. FEMA estimates that in the wake of a natural disaster, 40% of small businesses won’t reopen. As a family-owned business that serves many local businesses, that hits home for us. While we can’t control the waves and the tide, business owners can empower themselves, their employees, and their customers to be best prepared to weather the storm.
The impact of a major storm impacts a business for years. Even three years later, 75% of businesses without a disaster continuity plan fail. Having a solid plan will bring confidence to your team and appease the panic a storm creates.
Now is the Time to Prepare
Hurricane season is already underway. Now is the time to prepare your business. As residents of the Florida Panhandle, we know firsthand how devastating a major storm can be. In 2018, Hurricane Michael destroyed many of our employees’ homes and sent 6 feet of water into our office. Having a robust business continuity plan was key to our fast recovery from the storm. Our team was able to resume operations while fully remote, ensuring all of our clients’ marketing efforts were accounted for.
In the wake of a storm, our usual forms of communication are often severed: phone lines are down, power is out, and even the road to your business could be impassible. How will you communicate with your customers when they need you? Social media is great for relaying messages quickly to your entire customer base, but if you don’t have an online audience in place, they likely won’t know to reach you there. It’s important to have an established digital presence so customers know you’re accessible online.
Zero Website Downtime
Our Business Continuity Plan allowed us to continue to serve our clients while balancing repairs to our personal homes and office. Our team felt confident and prepared because of the careful steps we took well in advance of the storm. We were especially proud that our clients experienced zero website downtime because our virtual private servers (VPS) are located safely in the cloud with backup servers in secure locations.
The Importance of Private Servers & Hosting
You might think that your website lives in an invisible network, where it’s protected from physical damage, but this is not the case. Websites live inside a computer, but not the one on your office desk. Our clients’ sites are hosted at data centers all across the nation out of the path of Gulf storms. Our web team has a direct eye on our sites at all times; our in-office monitor alerts us to any issue in real-time. Bryan Baird, our Senior Web Developer, even receives alerts to his Apple watch 24/7, so your website is always being monitored.
Developing a Business Continuity Plan
Your business is interconnected with so many aspects of your local community. Think about how many people rely on your goods and services every day. When you are able to continue operations after a disaster, you also improve your community’s ability to recover. Having a Business Continuity Plan is key to increasing the safety of your employees and customers, but also helps you to remain in business after tropical storms and hurricanes.
Preparing for a storm is so much more than boarding up windows and moving office furniture. Many aspects of business that are vulnerable may not even cross your mind until it’s too late.
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