Think about planning for a natural disaster emergency that might affect your home. You’d likely store some water, flashlights, food, blankets and other essentials. The key element of your planning would be proactivity. You’d do all of the work before an emergency occurred, not during the actual crisis. If your supplies were used up after the emergency passed, then you quickly would restock before the next flood, fire, landslide, hurricane or lightning strike.

Protecting data requires a similar approach: putting in place as many safeguards as you can before anything bad happens.

Natural or man-made disasters are a significant risk to data, especially when they strike companies that are ill-prepared. When a company is data-centric (most 21st Century businesses are), then complete data loss often destroys the entire business.

So, whether it’s a burst pipe that floods the server room or a fire that decimates an entire office building, companies have to protect their information. Thankfully, by taking some proactive steps and embracing the right technology tools, companies can lessen the risks posed by emergencies to a great extent.

Following are six tips for managing data proactively against disasters.

1. Develop a Formal Plan

2. Collect and Organize the Data

3. Prepare to Recreate Your Network

4. Test Your Plan for Weaknesses

5. Secure Your Hardware

6. Take Advantage of the Cloud