Does your small business have a disaster recovery plan?

If you woke up tomorrow and couldn’t get to your business computers, data or IT, would you be in trouble?  If so, read on.

With the real and present threats of sabotage, storms, security breaches, and cyber-attacks from within and from without, disaster recovery is no longer to be considered a luxury.

Very few businesses can survive a lengthy period of downtime when employees can’t access critical work files, process sales or conduct normal business operations. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the kinds of natural and human-caused disasters that can send a business into a deep freeze.

You may be aware of this risk. Yet, very few people have any formal plan. According to the insurance company Nationwide, 75 percent of business owners reported having off-site storage for at least some vital business records. However, 68 percent have no written DR plan, even though 49 percent said it would take three months to recover from a natural disaster — too long, in many cases, to survive.

What should be included in YOUR Disaster Recovery Plan?

Data replication. It’s vital that all business data be backed up to a separate location and to the cloud.  Many vendors offer affordable cloud-based data backup solutions.  But it’s important that you periodically check and verify the integrity of the data being backed up.  An emergency is not when you want to find out your data wasn’t properly backed up.

Definition of priorities. Businesses should define which applications are most important to access, and when. It’s easy to say you need to get everything back immediately, but in the wake of a major disaster, that’s probably not feasible or cost-effective. So define which applications you can’t be without for any but the shortest length of time, which you need access to within a day or so and which can wait a few days before it becomes a serious problem.

Role assignments and communication plan. In the chaotic aftermath of a natural disaster or a major security breach, you’ll be glad you’ve spelled out in writing who is responsible for which aspects of recovery. The plan should include your own employees as well as the contact information for important vendors — and this should be updated regularly to account for departing employees and shifting roles.

Inventory of assets. You’ll need a thorough, current list of all hardware and major software applications, plus contact information for technical and customer service support for each item. It’s important to also have a plan for protecting physical assets against elements such as flooding.

Remote work strategy. How will you communicate with employees about what they should do in case of an emergency? Do you have a backup worksite identified — or, even better, have you invested in digital workspace technologies that allow employees to work at home or elsewhere should the office become flooded or major highways become impassable? These solutions include virtualization of desktops and business applications, softphones, collaboration technology such as videoconferencing and instant messaging, and mobile device solutions.

Review your insurance coverage.  Insurance coverage is a must for any company, but not every kind of business insurance will be helpful in the event of a disaster. Review your current policy and ensure there are no gaps in coverage that could prevent you from collecting. For example, you should have sufficient coverage to pay for the indirect costs of a disaster (such as the disruption to your business) as well as the direct costs such as physical damages.

You can typically purchase additional insurance that protects your business against specific disaster risks in your area, like earthquakes or floods. You can also purchase add-ons that cover damages away from your premises, such as to your key suppliers.

Do you have a Disaster Recovery Plan?  If so, great.  Take the time to update it.
If you don’t have one, contact Genesis Global Technologies asap.

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