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Your Small Business Needs A Disaster Recovery Plan

A small business can be full of promises, hopes and also surprises. Most people would prefer not to be on the receiving end of a surprise especially if it could spell doom for their business, but sadly, the world is full of mysteries and there could be a dozen different things that could take a business down. Perhaps your business is in an area that is known for its earthquake activity or maybe you just happen to be in an area where storms can hit on a regular basis. Perhaps you made a poor hire decision and you have a disgruntled employee in your staff that could sabotage your business, or maybe one day someone will do something ridiculous like spill coffee over your most crucial IT hardware.

Many of these situations sound completely far fetched and nigh on impossible, but surprises are surprises and unless you have a disaster recovery plan, you’re probably going to end up getting into situations that you couldn’t have ever imagined in the past. Unfortunately, this is no excuse for not planning ahead for the unexpected and this is where a disaster recovery plan can really come in handy.

What exactly is a disaster recovery plan?

A disaster recovery plan is a fairly simple concept to understand. It’s all about protecting your business in the event that something bad happens that could spell disaster for your company. It’s often a comprehensive plan that will be executed should the conditions of a “disaster” be met. There are no set-in-stone definitions for this and you’ll likely need to sit down and brainstorm what you consider to be a disaster and how you plan to fix and plan around it.

While disaster recovery plans do require you to modify them based on your personal needs and what you consider to be crucial in your business, there are a couple of things which should be protected regardless of the industry you’re in. For instance, everyone business should have a protection plan in place that safeguards their business data. Most companies will offload their data backups to an off-site storage solution or they might even use cloud services to store customer data so that there’s less of losing it to a hardware failure. Another disaster recovery plan could include a backup generator that will kick into action should the power in your area be cut out. The alternative to this is a work-at-home solution that allows your staff to continue being productive even if the computer systems in your workplace stop functioning.

As you can see, disaster recovery planning relies heavily on what you consider to be a disaster and the solutions available to you in order to fix it. Wealthy companies with a lot on the line will almost always hire a security expert, but if you’re a small business with limited funds then this article will go through a couple of tips on how you can formulate a disaster recovery plan on a low budget.

Do I need a disaster recovery plan?

Yes, absolutely! Every business needs a plan regardless of its size because it’s one of the only ways to protect your data and ensure that you’re able to get back on your feet after a disaster. However, many small businesses will forgo the disaster recovery plan because they think that a disaster couldn’t happen to them, but in reality, a disaster could happen to anyone at any given time and the only way to safeguard your company is to protect it with a disaster recovery plan.

Most people attribute large businesses with disaster recovery, but disaster recovery plans are even more important for smaller businesses because they offer more peace of mind and security than the alternatives. Large companies can afford to recuperate the losses caused by their failures, but small businesses will likely end up bankrupts if they make a mistake.

What goes into a disaster recovery plan?

First, let’s start with the most common components of a disaster recovery plan and why they’re important.

  • What is the purpose of your disaster recovery plan? Most people would respond “to recover from a disaster” and while they’re not wrong, it is still important to take a look at what your objectives would be during a disaster so that you can minimise damage and preserve your business’s operations. This is where you would typically prioritize certain aspects of your business, such as focusing on data recovery if you feel that customer data is one of your most important assets.
  • What is included in the disaster recovery plan? What exactly does your disaster plan consist of? Are you protecting the right things and giving priority to the right people and hardware, or are you just winging it and hoping nothing too bad happens?
  • Who will be in charge of the business should something happen? In the event that you’re not available, who will be next in charge to lead the business and make decisions? If a senior member of staff isn’t available, then who’s next in line to help you lead the company? These are the types of situations that you should be preparing for.
  • How will you get the message out to your customers? If your business is suffering from a debilitating disaster or error then it’s important to let your customers know the extent of the damage and what you plan to do to fix it. Communication is key and if you leave it too long, your customers will start questioning you.
  • What services do you have available to help you in the event of a disaster? During a disaster, it’s a good idea to have made friends with other local businesses that can help you during your time of need. For instance, if there’s a computer repair store nearby then they can likely take a look at your computer should you need help, even if it’s for a price.
  • Have you prepared a temporary solution that is not reliant on the workplace? The show must go on even if you’re unable to get into the workplace. Perhaps a flood has rendered your workplace impossible to work in or maybe there’s a temporary power outage that’s been on for several hours. If this is the case, then you need a backup such as the ability to work remotely in order to continue being a productive business.
  • Do you have insurance policies which you can use? A lot of businesses will forget that they even purchased insurance, but when something does poorly for a business and assets are lost, it’s the insurance that will help your company get back on its feet.
  • How often will you renew your disaster recovery plan? Disaster recovery plans will change on a regular basis depending on your personal circumstances and needs, so it’s important to renew your disaster plan on a regular basis so that it doesn’t end up failing you when the time comes.
  • This isn’t a comprehensive list but it does go through the majority of considerations and concerns to keep in mind. As mentioned before, a disaster recovery plan is going to be essential for helping your business get back on its feet, but you should be careful and consider what you personally want from a disaster recovery plan and how you can quickly get back to backing.

    Conclusion

    So to conclude, we hope that this article has shown you just how important having a disaster recovery plan is and why your business, even if it’s just a small one, can make use of disaster recovery planning to secure itself in the future.



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