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Disaster Preparation and Recovery: Why Bother?

By Dave Moorman, DynaSis

With 2013 shaping up to be a non-event, both in terms of hurricanes and tornados, many small business owners (SMBs) may feel validated in their belief that disaster recovery plans and procedures are a waste of time. Not only has 2013 been unusually quiet in terms of “major” disasters, but the media recently reported that we are nearing the eight-year mark without a major hurricane (Category 3 or greater) striking the U.S. (The last one was Wilma, in 2005). That’s the longest unbroken stretch without a major hurricane since 1851.

If you are one of those SMBs, ask the folks in Missouri, who suffered catastrophic flooding this year, or the residents of New Jersey who were wiped out by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. For that matter, numerous businesses in “low-risk” Atlanta experienced lengthy power outages and even flooding this summer during one of the stormiest periods in recent history. And, don’t forget the 500-year flooding of 2009 that crippled the city for a week.

The reality is that a weather event doesn’t have to meet the definition of “major” to cause substantial disruption. In fact, using the term “disaster” in connection with business continuity and recovery may be a bit misleading, but it’s become an industry-standard term nevertheless.

To put things in perspective, let’s call it “disruption recovery” instead. That’s how we encourage business owners to think about business continuity. Ask yourself questions such as:

How long could your business operate without its business data?

  • How much do your employees rely on Internet access to conduct their business?
  • How long could you work without access email before productivity suffered?
  • How patient are your customers, and how quickly do they typically expect you to respond to requests for assistance, information or other services?

It’s become a fact for most companies that an “important” department like Accounting could lose access to its systems for a day―or even a week―and it wouldn’t affect operations or corporate reputations over the long haul. Yet, if those same companies lost access to email, customer service records or Internet access for more than a few hours, they could experience major productivity losses and potentially damage their standing with clients. If everything went down for a week or more, the damage might be irrevocable.

Technology has forever changed the way we do business, and the majority of SMBs are not adequately prepared to address the impacts of its disruption. According to the 2013 Small Business Disaster Survey carried out by Alibaba, Vendio and Auctiva, 74% of small business owners don’t have a disaster recovery plan for their business.

To encourage SMBs to rethink their strategies, DynaSis is launching a disaster―and disruption―preparedness and recovery program this fall designed to help SMBs reduce or eliminate their vulnerability to disruption. As part of this effort, I’ll be sharing valuable tips and suggestions here over the next few months.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your business operations are disrupted by a tropical storm or a bad driver crashing into a major power pole and wiping out a transformer. An outage is an outage, and it probably affects your business. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to minimize your risk. Stay tuned for further updates, or give me a call if you’d like to know more, now.

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