For the past week, the nation has tracked the path of Hurricane Florence. Now I'll be honest, as a Floridian, hurricanes are a way of life, but the past couple of years have been some real ringers. Irma was frightening. And even states away, Florence was, and remains, a serious matter. As she makes her way inland, our thoughts are with the residents impacted by the storm.
Even still, many Floridians often scoff at anything under a CAT 5--aside from nationally notorious Florida Man's wild antics, our disregard for anything less than catastrophic levels of disaster is what defines us (like throwing hurricane parties and treating hurricane days like snow days - 'No school!') That's not a good thing.
I'll use myself as an example. I have a lot of trees in my yard. I hate trees. I hate yards. I hate dealing with anything remotely plant-like in nature (I blame my extensive history with allergies), and as such I've ignored the trees as best I could since buying the house a year and a half ago. When Irma hit last year, we were lucky. No power loss, and the branches from trees that fell were small, except one. One of our trees was so dead, it looked like the less-impressive version of the White Tree of Gondor. And in the storm, it split nearly in two, thankfully, with the fallen half facing away from the house. I made a mental note that week to look into tree trimming services.
Do you know when I finally started making calls to have someone trim down that pending CC&R violation of a dead monstrosity with the branches looming over our roof?
Monday. This past Monday, Sept. 10th, 2018--a full year and a day after Irma trashed my front yard. And I got very lucky. As we speak, someone is at my house, trimming the enchanted forest that has threatened to devour our home.
But even as I'm typing this, I know in my heart of hearts that I will almost certainly not bother buying batteries, or water, or non-perishables, until our own hurricane is staring us in the face. And I know that I am not alone, because every year when this inevitability becomes a reality, the lines at grocery stores, gas stations, convenience markets, and more all exceed two hour wait times, and necessities become scarce. This is how we "plan" for a disaster--we don't. At least, not on purpose. Because planning is exhausting, stressful, and makes the possibility of the worst very real.
What if you had a system in place that you didn't have to touch? You don't have to set reminders, backup your data, create checklists, or double and triple check that you've done everything because it's already been done, and will continue to be done, for you?
Migrating to a cloud-based platform like TOPS [ONE] is the most efficient business preparedness plan you can implement without ever having to actually plan a thing.
Web Based Access for the Win
Imagine this: you've been evacuated. You packed up your family, grabbed the cat, fought through hours of traffic and checked in to a hotel to wait out the storm. Now you've got several days to sit around and imagine all the money your business is losing and wonder if you'll still have a neighborhood when you get home. What to do?
With any other system, there's not much you can do, unless you've printed reams of documents, or happened to have a portable filing cabinet already in your car. With a locally installed software, your options are limited. Enter the cloud.
With a cloud-based software like TOPS [ONE], you have complete access to your entire system. Not just data but a method of communication to your homeowners, the ability to stay in touch with your team, and plan for how you will respond to the recovery efforts.
The destructive nature of a hurricane isn't just harsh winds. As we saw last year with Hurricane Harvey, if a storm sits over an area for any real length of time, flash flooding and surges are incredibly common and can wipe away years' worth of data if you're storing your files in a physical filing cabinet.
With Document Management's unlimited file storage capacity, all of your files are safe in the cloud. And not only are they safe, they're organized. So let's say you keep all of your records online and physically in-house, and you have a meticulous filing structure for your documents. This structure can be replicated in a way that makes the most sense to you because of Document Management.
Using ownership attribution (to sort your files by community, think of this as the drawer you're putting the file into), document visibility (these are the files that go into the drawer, and they dictate who can and cannot view the information), metadata tagging (to easily search for documents if you forget where you put it), and more, you can establish an online hierarchy of documentation.
Once you have this structure created, it's accessible from anywhere at any time, because it's built in to TOPS [ONE]. So if the worst happens and you lose all of your physical copies of your files, you already have the structure set to start reprinting them, no thinking (read as: stressing) required!
Real-time communication is one of the first things to go when a storm hits—phone lines go down left and right and calling your employees or homeowners to get important information to them is often impossible via phone call. With TOPS [ONE], as long as you have some form of internet access (or someone you’re with has access) you can use any device at any time to send messages out to those you want to reach most.
In Owner Access specifically, you can communicate directly with your homeowners from anywhere in the world TO anywhere in the world. As long as both parties can access their account in TOPS [ONE], you have a channel for communication that isn't contingent on phone calls and cell service.
Built-In Disaster Recovery
More than useful features that double as disaster security, TOPS [ONE] offers dedicated disaster recovery built directly into the product.
The TOPS disaster recovery plan is designed to provide a path to restore access to your instance of TOPS [ONE] in the unlikely event that your instance becomes inaccessible.
Disaster recovery backups are taken at the file-level. This means if a disaster recovery backup is restored, all communities contained within your TOPS [ONE] instance will be restored to the same point in time. Incremental data occurring after the date and time of the Data being restored will be lost.
Even if you aren't staring down the eye of a hurricane as you read this (and if you are, why are you reading this?) being prepared for when disaster strikes is the key to coming out on the other side with your business intact. Take a few minutes today to have a conversation about TOPS [ONE] to make it part of your disaster preparedness plan.