When a natural disaster strikes, it can impact every aspect of a community—homes, utility systems, communications  infrastructure, government services.

Damage from tornadoes or floods may require not only rebuilding homes, schools and institutions but rebuilding businesses and jobs as well. Certainly businesses can be severely damaged by weather-related catastrophes, but often the damage is just as bad or even worse when a company sustains a “virtual disaster” that wreaks havoc on its IT network, paralyzing operations and threatening the company’s survival.

The prospects for business survival after disaster are grim. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a disaster. Furthermore, with fewer resources than larger corporations, SMBs have a harder time recovering from virtual and physical disasters than their larger counterparts.

I bring all this up not to focus on the negative, but rather to reassure you that there are great resources available to help get your business prepared for the worst case scenario. Microsoft recently published a free disaster preparedness e-guide, available here, specifically tailored to small and midsized businesses. Other resources to consider when planning for a potential disaster  include the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Plan & Prepare site and the Small Business Association’s (SBA) Disaster Preparedness program highlighting services available to help build out your proactive plan. I encourage you to set aside some time to learn about some steps you should take to withstand the unexpected.


About the Author(s)

Cindy Bates

Cindy Bates is the vice president of the U.S. Small- and Mid-Sized Business (SMB) Organization at Microsoft. Cindy and her team serve millions of SMB's in the U.S., helping them start, grow and thrive by utilizing today’s powerful and affordable technologies.

Vice President, Microsoft SMB