With 2013 in the rearview mirror, analysts and industry experts are making their predictions for the New Year. Recently, in a webinar titled “2014 Top 10 Predictions for BC/DR,” Dr. Steven Goldman, an internationally recognized expert and consultant in business continuity and disaster recovery, divulged his top 10 predictions for the coming year.

For those who missed the webinar, here’s a brief recap of those predictions:

  1. Number of Natural Disasters Will Increase: There has been a steady increase in the number of natural disasters in recent years. In fact, there were three times as many natural disasters between 2000 to 2009 compared to 1980 to 1989, according to a report from the New England Journal of Medicine. So what does this mean for businesses? Simply put, businesses must expect and prepare for whatever Mother Nature has in store.
  2. Rise in Malicious Cyber Attacks Will Continue: Judging by the recent slew of high-profile cyber attacks (Target, anyone? CryptoLocker?) malicious cyber attacks will continue to increase. In fact, mobile malware rose by 33 percent, according to the McAfee Labs Threats Report. Because of this, businesses must have a cyber attack prevention program and response and recovery strategy in place.
  3. Disruptions are Becoming More Predictable: While some natural disasters seem to appear out of thin air (pun intended), others are more predictable. With advanced technology and data available, meteorologists are getting better at predicting weather patterns and natural disasters. For businesses, it’s important to have a strategy that it is more preventative than reactive.
  4. Disruptions Becoming the Norm: Whether it’s an unexpected storm, cyber attack or server failure, disruptions are becoming another part of doing business. Businesses would be wise to embrace interruption and expect it as a day-to-day process and plan accordingly.
  5. The Role of the BC/DR Professional is Shifting: As disaster recovery becomes more important, the role of the BC/DR professional is becoming increasingly recognized at the executive level. In fact, businesses are adding more full-time, permanent personnel dedicated to BC/DR efforts.
  6. Communications Expectations are Increasing: Technology advancements make it easier to businesses to communicate more quickly and freely; but it has also raised the level of expectations that businesses will contact consumers faster during an emergency. Because of this, you must factor communication into your disaster recovery plans.
  7. Social Media Will Play an Important Part in BC/DR: Social media has become an effective communication channel to notify and communicate with consumers and employees before, during and after a disaster occurs. During Hurricane Sandy, for example, numerous businesses and government entities used social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with the public.
  8. Twitiots Will Unfortunately Continue: Twitiots — or people who become famous for tweeting something “stupid” — will continue to exist. If you plan on using social media to communicate with consumers during a disaster, it’s important to make sure you have a solid social media strategy in place to ensure that you don’t get caught in a PR nightmare.
  9. Be Prepared for the “Matrix”: While this may sound foolish, don’t store everything on machines, as something can very well happen that results in everything being wiped out. Keep any business continuity or disaster recovery plans on paper and/or local devices.
  10. Companies are Guaranteed to be Impacted by a Disaster in 2014: Whether directly or indirectly, your company will be impacted by a disaster in 2014, which means you need a comprehensive strategy and solution in place.