Avoiding Disaster on Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is synonymous with misfortune and bad omens. Dating as far back as the 14th century, there are reports of disasters occurring on this seemingly ill-fated day. Today, we associate this day with calamitous superstitions like breaking mirrors, walking under ladders, and crossing paths with a black cat. There are other superstitious rituals people perform to protect themselves from bad luck like knocking on wood or picking up lucky pennies from the ground - but would these tricks help protect your business from disaster? Probably not, which is why we’ve come up with a few non-superstitious ways to protect your company in the event of a mishap.

When Your Business Breaks

In 2017 alone, the United States’ southeastern coast has been hit by four hurricanes, and the businesses in those areas have suffered as greatly as the people. However, not all disasters capable of ending a company are due to natural causes. Many companies won’t be able to recover from a catastrophe, regardless of the cause. In fact, about 40 percent of companies affected by natural or man-made disasters will never recover. Let’s take a look at some of the most common disasters that can leave businesses belly up:

Wine Glass Shattering Gif

Natural Disasters

Mother Nature can be a harsh mistress, there’s no doubt. And more often than not, you don’t have much forewarning of when such an event is going to hit. Examples of natural disasters include, but are not limited to:

  • Earthquakes
  • Hurricanes
  • Wildfires
  • Floods
  • Tornadoes
  • Blizzards

Natural disasters don’t necessarily have to hit your business directly to be detrimental. Your headquarters could be in Washington, but what if your servers are in Florida when a hurricane hits? Your database is still vulnerable to the potential floodwaters, even if your physical location is thousands of miles away. So what can you do?

Did You Know?

Any month that begins on a Sunday will have Friday the 13th!
First, check for government regulations and procedures for natural disasters, and check to see what kind of recovery assistance will be provided after the event. The Department of Labor (DOL) has several resources on their website to help figure out which programs your company would qualify for, and can help you to better understand how  to prepare for a natural disaster.

Cyber Disasters

With today’s technology-driven business world, cyber disasters are another adversity companies should be wary of. Globally, businesses have lost $52.5 billion to cyber attacks alone. One of the major forces in the virtual disaster realm is cyber-terrorism. It may sound like something out of a sci-fi thriller, but cyber-terrorism is a very real, very scary reality in today’s tech world. A lone-wolf hacker can initiate these kinds of attacks, or an entire government could develop their own form of warfare strictly through the Internet. When a successful hack does occur, your employees’ private information is compromised, in addition to your customers’ information.

In order to avoid cyber disasters, be sure to keep your software up to date and to change your passwords regularly. Refrain from using simple passwords like Password123 (the most common password in use, by the way) or from sharing passwords throughout the company. Conduct frequent security audits to identify weaknesses in your data protection, so you can quickly patch the holes. Have your IT team receive notifications from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team in order to stay aware of new and developing security threats.

Did You Know?

Friggatriskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia are both terms for fear of Friday the 13th.

Local Disasters

This one may throw you for a loop, but hear us out. Let’s say that there is a leak in your office, something that is not totally out of the norm for most companies at some point or another. However, the leak is due to a pipe burst no one knows about just yet; water spreads, and eventually gets to your internal electrical wiring - effectively cutting off your power. How much data have you lost because of a power failure? How long will it take for the electrical company to come out and fix the problem, how much will you have to pay a plumber to now rework your pipelines, how many clients will this harmless little water leak cost you?

Why Is Friday the 13th Unlucky?

One of the origins comes from the Bible. Judas was the 13th apostle to sit at the table for the Last Supper, and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Friday is also the day in which Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

Let’s say that your building is in tip-top condition, but maybe some of your employees are hiding skeletons in the closets. Maybe someone is giving themselves an early bonus by stealing money from the company, or another person has questionable extracurriculars that could be considered illegal. Internal issues like fraud or company scandals can potentially ruin your company’s reputation. Dealing with these types of disasters can be even more catastrophic than natural or cyber disasters, and preparing for them is more complicated.
In order to avoid local or internal disasters, your HR team needs to include in employee training detailed outlines and expectations of what is expected of employees. Privacy policies need to be in place and clearly explained to the appropriate departments. Having company values published throughout the office can be another way to reinforce the ideals your business wants to promote. HR should also have a PR plan in place should something scandalous happen, to be as transparent with clients and the public as possible to maintain trust.

A Little Sprinkle of Salt

There is no possible way to predict every circumstance or complication that will affect your company. However, having a plan in place to address the issues disasters bring can help save time and money when these things do happen. The federal government suggests following this simple five-step process to develop your own disaster preparedness program:

Why Is Friday The 13th Unlucky?

Another origin story has to do with the Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. One of the tales in the book is about how King Philip IV of France ordered the Templar Knights to be arrested on Friday, October 13, 1307. They were all later tortured and executed on charges of heresy.

  1. Program Management – Management must develop a plan, and understand regulations in order to form the basics of what the plan will cover.
  2. Planning - Access and identify all potential hazards in order to reduce a company’s risk. Also, businesses are encouraged to run a business impact analysis (BIA) to test the effectiveness of the plan.
  3. Implementation - Inform employees of what the preparedness plan entails, and schedule regular trainings so everyone in the company will be prepared. Assign responsibilities to the appropriate employees in the event of an emergency.
  4. Testing and Exercises -  During trainings, clearly define employee roles in the preparedness plan. Find the weaknesses of the program, and run drills so employees will know what to do in the event of a disaster.
  5. Program Improvement - Using the tests, measure the effectiveness of the program that’s in place. Determine when the plan needs to be re-evaluated and updated, and which methods could be improved upon.

Having a proactive disaster preparedness plan in place will be much more effective than sprinkling salt in your doorways.

Warding Off Misfortune

You can’t always help if a figurative black cat crosses your path, but you can make sure you are dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s. Businesses who have a disaster plan in place will stand a much better chance of bouncing back from devastation than those who do not. So while Friday the 13th may seem like an incredibly unlucky day, any day in which you leave your company vulnerable to disaster is bad luck. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ve found a few tips in which to keep you and your business prepared in the event of a disastrous event.

Black Cat Gif

How APS Can Help

APS stays proactive in maintaining our software’s security. Our servers are hosted in SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type II compliant data centers with 24/7/365 on-site personnel, redundantly powered with backup generators on standby for minimal disruption in the event of a natural disaster. APS also utilizes two-factor authentication, and all user sessions and data changes are secured and tracked in the APS cloud.

For more information, please visit www.apspayroll.com or call 855-945-7921.

Jason Friday The 13th

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