Watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey is heart breaking. Sadly, 75 percent of SMBs affected by this hurricane don’t have a recovery plan in place. Watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey is heart breaking. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected, and thousands of businesses will suffer. Sadly, according to Nationwide, 75 percent of those SMBs affected by this hurricane or any disaster don’t have a recovery or continuity plan in place. The same survey points out that SMBs are also the least likely to have disaster recovery insurance, and yet they are the most affected when a disaster happens.

Fuse3 Communications reports that some SMBs require at least three months to recover from an unexpected disaster and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety estimated that 25 percent of SMBs affected by a natural disaster never recovery at all. What this all means is that SMBs not prepared for a disaster will suffer great losses in business revenues, and may ultimately have to shutter the business completely.

The Why of a Disaster Recovery Plan

One of the common myths about SMB disaster recovery plans is that you don’t need one if you’re not in a disaster-prone area. The problem with that line of thought is that every area can have its own disasters.  If you’re on the coast line, it’s hurricanes. In the West, it’s earthquakes and wild fires. In the East, it’s snow and floods. Here in Tennessee, there’s the threat of tornados. No matter where your business might be located, there is always the risk that something catastrophic could happen.

Disaster recovery plans aren’t just for major catastrophes, however. Anything that causes you to lose access to your data and computing power is a disaster. If it keeps you from the normal activities of daily business, it’s a disaster. So, for example, if a server dies or if there’s a power outage, that falls under the category of a disaster and you should have a plan for coming back from that instance as quickly as possible.

Options for Disaster Recovery Planning

If you’re one of those SMBs that don’t have a disaster recovery plan, you have options. One is to look at disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). It’s a quick and efficient way to ensure that you have a system in place if the unthinkable happens.

If DRaaS isn’t in your strategic plan, even a basic in-house program is better than nothing at all. Here are suggestions for putting that in place.

  1. Plan for the worst: It may never happen, but you need a plan that assumes that everything in your business will be destroyed. If that happened, how would you handle all the data associated with your business? Would you be able to recover it? How long would it take? How would you keep your business in operations until you could recover everything?
  2. Invest in redundancy: Redundant data backups are easier now than they ever have been. Cloud backups are a popular, and cost-effective backup method. But don’t settle for just one copy of your data in a single data center. Be sure you have redundant backups because you never know when Murphey’s Law might kick in.
  3. Designate a Disaster Recovery Czar: One person in your organization should manage all your backup and disaster recovery (BDR) activities. It is this person’s responsibility to plan, test, and execute the BDR plan.
  4. Test, test, test: Disaster recovery actions are not useful if they don’t work. Create and execute a testing plan to ensure that all data is being backed-up correctly and that data can be restored from the backups.

There’s no way to know when disaster might strike, but you can plan for the unthinkable. If you have the resources to put a disaster recovery plan in place, do it today, even if you don’t think you need it.  If you don’t have time to dedicate to ensuring that you have the proper backups and procedures in place, reach out to a trusted partner who can help you create a backup and disaster plan that ensures you’re not one of the 25 percent of SMBs who never recover after a disaster strikes.