Volatile weather is pummeling the US at the moment, from the dangerous Hermine hurricane just off Florida’s Gulf Coast, to the catastrophic floods being experienced in Calfornia right now. Deadly storms and tornadoes are hitting Texas and other southern states, and January saw powerful winds and heavy rain batter the eastern seaboard.

This adverse weather can impact lives in a multitude of ways, causing damage to homes and even causing individuals to sustain life-changing injuries. So what happens when the business equivalent of a natural disaster hits your company?

When a hurricane hits, individuals can lose everything they hold dear. When a business experiences a completely avoidable HR loss, they lose crucial information which could lead to them closing down entirely. Just as we need plans and security to protect against adverse weather in the real world, businesses need stringent data security procedures and equipment in order to prevent their critical human resource data from being lost forever.

Developing a disaster recovery plan

All businesses need a disaster recovery plan, to be used in emergencies to secure the most vital HR data the business has stored. 2 in 5 businesses are estimated to be without a disaster recovery plan, putting them in real danger of losing access to their critical files.

Before you come up with a plan, you need to understand what kind of disasters you’re protecting against. The main types of disaster which can cause massive data loss include:

  • Hardware failure – this could corrupt or wipe out your data entirely.
  • Human error – automation can only go so far. Human error is always a risk.
  • Fire – even the most robust fire safety plan can go awry.
  • Electrical surge – a thunderstorm could leave your datacenter rendered useless. It’s estimated that 75% of all downtime is due to power outages.
  • Physical theft – the physical theft of data could prove incredibly costly.
  • IT security breaches – malicious hackers could wipe out or steal your information by invading your system. 1 in 3 organizations have been hit by malware or virus attacks in the last twelve months.

It’s not enough for you to protect against just one or two of these risks – you must come up with a disaster protection and recovery plan which covers all of these possible problems. After all, research has shown that 50% of businesses who lose access to data for 10 days or more file for bankruptcy immediately. HR data loss can be incredibly tough to come back from.

Here’s what you should do to protect your business from these threats.

Have a backup plan

Having a backup plan is a key component in any disaster recovery plan. The backup must be created in a way that offers access to all vital business data and other assets in the event of a disaster. All data should be divided into different categories with various levels of security.

Gary Corcoran of Advanced systems said : “One important thing to remember when developing a backup plan is to plan for the outcome, not the cause. You can’t plan for a power surge or a catastrophic fire at the datacenter, but you can plan for loss of data, ensuring there’s a way for you to get it back and establishing how long it will take to do so.”

Your backup plan will involve knowing which files need to be backed up, how often they should be backed up, and where they will be backed up to. Which brings us to our next step…

Invest in HR management tools with cloud-based storage

Cloud-based backups are incredibly useful when it comes to disaster recovery plans. When stored in the cloud, your critical data is stored remotely and independently, which means it won’t be affected by any disasters which befall your business. Most of the main cloud backup providers encrypt your data so it cannot be accessed or corrupted by external forces. The cloud is also very flexible – if you need more or less data storage, you can scale your capacity up or down whenever your business demands it. Your data will be easily accessible, yet fully protected.

The good news is that many providers of HR management tools and software provide access to cloud-based solutions as part of the package. There are a multitude of benefits to this approach. First of all, it can reduce your operational costs. You won’t need to use an in-house data centre to manage your HR data, which could save you a huge chunk of your department’s annual budget. This approach also adds an extra layer to your security and means you won’t be left filing for bankruptcy if you can’t access your data for any reason.

To conclude…

Statistics show that 43% of companies that experience some kind of disaster never reopen. Just 6% of businesses that don’t have a disaster recovery plan will manage to survive in the long-term. It’s these kind of statistics that really hammer home the importance of storing data securely and having a number of backups for data.

HR management tools with cloud storage solutions are a great way for businesses to doubly protect their HR data. Many of these tools keep multiple copies of HR data backed up on various cloud-based servers to ensure that any business’ critical functions can be kept up and running in the event of a disaster. Since every business faces some form of risk, whether that’s the risk of natural disaster, the risk of being hacked or the risk of simple human error, it’s essential to have the latest cloud-based HR software to keep this precious data safe and accessible.