Small Business Disaster Preparedness

May 2012

Small Business Disaster Preparedness

Posted by Samantha Morris

Many small businesses will never recover from disasters, natural and otherwise, and the main reason for this is because business owners didn't have a plan to recover their business. Many small businesses don't have a business continuity plan in place to cope with these kinds of event and when they occur, the results can be devastating or catastrophic to life of the business.  According to  Gartner , 50% of businesses that experience a major disruption ultimately fail.

The most common business disaster is data loss, which can result from a number of causes including human error, hardware failure, natural disaster and theft.  Fortunately data loss is easy to recover from if you have a backup solution in place.

  • Familiarize yourself with your data – know what you have, where it is and what is most important.
  • Consider your backup options. Your backup must be offsite, secure and available for recovery 24/7. One popular option that meets the above criteria, with the added benefit of ease of use and automation, is online backup. Other options include tape or backup to external media.
  • If you choose to outsource your backup needs, make sure that you choose a provider that offers security, monitoring and support.
  • Decide who will be responsible for either managing you backups internally or working with your selected provider to get your backup solution carried out. 
  • Do a run-through of the recovery process. Backup is nothing without recovery, so be sure that you are familiar with the recovery process and confident that it works smoothly. Your provider should be happy to walk you through a test-recovery procedure.

Review your data regularly to be sure you're backing up everything you need. For example, if you add a new server in your office, your backup should reflect this addition. This should be done every other quarter if not every quarter.

In the busy day-to-day operations of most small businesses, there is little time for planning for, or even considering the unlikely event of catastrophic technical failure. This is particularly true of small-to-midsize companies that typically have less IT infrastructure in place.

 A little preparation could literally save your business!

Here are some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself when determining whether or not your business is ready to recover from a disaster:

  • Do you perform backups regularly on every server and employee hard drive in your organization?
  •  Do you regularly send your data to a safe, off-site archive?
  • Do you have a proven media, drive, software, and automation solution?
  • Does your current backup and recovery system meet your business uptime needs?
  • Do you use backup rotations to provide good versioning?
  • Do you know how fast your data is growing?
  • Is your backup scalable for this data growth?

To make the disaster recovery planning process easier, TechTarget has collected their top five resources on business continuity planning for SMBs, starting with a free, downloadable business continuity plan template. To explore TechTarget resources on small business disaster recovery planning, click here

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