How Businesses Prepare for a Disaster

How Businesses Prepare for a Disaster

by The Exela Team


If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the day-to-day status quo can change much more quickly than we ever imagined. Business disruptions may be unexpected, but that doesn’t mean companies can’t prepare for them.

While disruptions can take many forms - from a flood or fire, to a global pandemic, to a big boat stuck in an important waterway hobbling international trade for days - there are a few common characteristics they share and a few different challenges they create, including: loss of assets, restricted cash flows, disruptions to supply chains, and loss of productivity.

In many ways, lost assets are just the surface level of disaster-related losses a business may endure. Physical assets and property can be covered by insurance, after all, and when a state of emergency is declared, most governments offer some form of additional aid for impacted businesses. 

Lost productivity and prolonged inability to maintain critical processes can have a much longer-lasting impact on a business’s health, and are, unfortunately, more complicated to prepare for than simply taking out an insurance policy. The best way to ensure business continuity in the face of a disaster is to build your business in a way that specifically protects against them. There are various ways to do that, but investing in business process automation technology, intelligent outsourcing and vendor management, and your company’s overall digital transformation are excellent places to start.

Going Digital

For many common transactions, the pandemic completely flipped the script. For years, in-person interactions were the standard, and taken as a given. But, as people began avoiding contact and governments started issuing stay at home orders to preserve public health and safety, “why not just do it in person?” quickly became “how can we do this digitally?”

The realities of the pandemic put the benefits of digital transformation into stark relief, as businesses that were better equipped to move critical processes and functions over to digital platforms and empower remote workers were able to make a smooth transition to the new normal. Other companies found themselves in a much more challenging position.

Digital transformation, wherever possible, is a key, foundational step toward positioning a business to being fully prepared for the worst. When disaster strikes, efficiency becomes even more important. Digital technology makes it easier to keep the gears moving no matter what. Digitization also allows for cloud-hosting of critical processes and information, which in turn enables businesses to protect themselves using a hub and spoke model. 

Hub & Spoke Model

Digital transformation makes it easier than ever for businesses to avoid putting all their eggs in one basket - or all their core processes and essential assets in one building. By ensuring that no one specific location is so important that the entire operation grinds to a halt if it experiences an outage, businesses can avoid costly shutdowns because of a local or regional issue.

For example, Exela’s hub and spoke model protects data and builds in process redundancies by creating a central platform (the hub) hosted and maintained by Exela, which operates alongside client sites, Exela’s offshore resources, and in some cases specialized disaster recovery “dark” sites (all of which are the spokes).

This hub and spokes model is an excellent way to disperse critical information and processes in order to protect them. When critical services or processes are unable to continue from their typical location, volumes can be easily transferred digitally to another location, avoiding missed deadlines or gaps in service.

Exela builds these protections into all of our solutions, ensuring that we’re able to continue supporting your business and help you maintain service to your clients and customers even in the event of unexpected disaster. Learn more about Exela’s default Business Continuity and Disaster Planning services.