While towns and cities in Texas and Louisiana are still facing the shock and despair of major loss, another hurricane brews in the Atlantic ocean. Natural disasters are just one of the many threats to businesses. Security breaches, damage to the supply chain and other disasters can bring your business to a quick and sudden screeching halt.

Are you prepared?

Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared five tips outlined by Scott Teel with Agility Recovery, to help businesses prepare disaster plans and business continuity programs. Today, we'll share five more.

1. Back up your data, and practice restoring your technology. In today's highly technical economy, information is more valuable than ever. Having data and critical applications backed up is a crucial and fairly common practice. However, make sure to store your data in an offsite, safe and secure location, preferably 50 miles or more from your site(s). Also, regularly verify that you are able to retrieve your data, and test restoring it back to onsite hardware. Outline a plan to replace PCs, software, servers, printers and fax machines in case your office is destroyed.

2. Create an employee, vendor and key client communication plan. Create a 24-hour phone tree for all employees and their spouses or closest relatives. Make sure your employees, vendors, suppliers, partners and even clients know ahead of time how to exchange or obtain information should your standard lines of communication fail. Also, compile a list of your critical clients and vendors, and store it in an offsite location. Determine a process for contacting them should your systems go down.

3. Assemble an emergency kit. A personal emergency or disaster recovery kit should contain items such as fresh water, nonperishable food, flashlights, extra batteries, battery-powered AM/FM radio, first-aid kit and copies of important documents and records. Additionally, your business disaster kit should contain petty cash, important contracts and documents, corporate letterhead, software licensing keys, passwords and other sensitive documents.

4. Regularly review your business insurance coverage. Is your insurance coverage adequate? Sit down with your agent to assure that you are insured for potential risks. Consider business interruption insurance, which may compensate you for lost income should you experience a disaster. Make sure you keep photos of your building, equipment lists and policy information stored in a safe and secure offsite location.

5. Test your plan. Make sure your plan is actionable and able to be executed during times of crisis—test your plan yearly and update it as necessary. Make sure to re-educate employees when any changes to the plan are made, and include training on the plan for all new hires.

PCT returns again on Monday with more tips for success. Have a great weekend!

Source: Scott Teel is marketing director of Agility Recovery. These tips first appeared on CharlotteBusinessResources.com. Born out of a business unit within General Electric, Agility Recovery was established as a ReadySuite offering in 2004 to help all kinds of businesses with all types of disasters.