Disasters are big newsmakers. Whether of natural, technical or human origin, they get the spotlight. And the odds are against recovery. According to FEMA, 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within a year. The Small Business Administration reports that over 90 percent of businesses go under within two years of a disaster.
With so much media attention, and such dire prognoses, you can’t help but wonder why more small businesses don’t prepare for potential catastrophes.
The top reason: lack of time. (NOTE: recovery takes a lot more time – and money – than preparation!). Maybe they think disaster will never strike. If so, they should think again. Every type of building and every geographic region is susceptible. And most disasters happen without prior warning.
Be Prepared. It’s Easier than You Think
Planning is not as time-consuming as it sounds because you don’t have to start at square one. The Internet is full of templates for disaster planning (see links below) that can be modified for specific business needs. Here is the “executive summary” of their contents:
- Establish a planning and preparedness team.
- Assess the local situation (what are the most likely threats?).
- Review insurance coverage and adapt as needed.
- Develop continuity and communications procedures.
- Explore alternative worksites.
- Test and re-test your back-up plan regularly.
- Protect your company’s most valuable assets.
What Matters Most? Protecting Your Data
What is your company’s most valuable non-human asset? Without doubt, your data. Even sole practitioners and freelancers depend on stored data to function fully. The larger the business, the more complicated the data, and the more critical good back-up becomes. Tech-blogger Jack Schofield’s time-honored Second Law of Computing states: “data doesn’t really exist unless you have two copies of it.” Ignore that rule at the risk of your business. Some security experts go even further, recommending the 3-2-1 rule: three copies, in two different media, in at least one off-site locale.
The 3-2-1 rule is a super-secure approach, but increasingly affordable and reliable cloud storage is streamlining that formula by reducing the need for storage on tape and/or disc.
Put the Cloud in Your Disaster Preparedness Plan
Storage Newsletter reported that as of December 2015, just over half the SMBs in the United States were on the cloud in some form. If you’re one of them, be sure to explore the full extent of back-up capabilities available to you. If you haven’t climbed aboard the cloud, it’s time to explore its many advantages, including disaster preparedness features. In either case, it may be advisable to consult a technical partner with expertise in cloud-based disaster preparedness and data recovery.
A technical partner with specialized experience can help you prioritize your storage requirements (you may not need to put everything in the cloud), insure that your data is properly secured, and check that all your apps will function with the cloud. A tech advisor can also help you establish protocols for working remotely using the cloud.
Cloud storage protects the core of your business whatever disruption comes your way. It’s a smart investment in your company’s future and in your peace of mind.