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Ignore Disaster Planning at Your Own Peril


Hurricane season has been quiet so far. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from recent history, it’s that it only takes one major storm to turn thousands of small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) upside down. Unfortunately, most SMBs won’t realize just how unprepared they are until that devastating storm takes down their network and brings business operations to a standstill.


A new survey from Office Depot found that 27 percent of SMBs closed their doors within the past year because of weather-related issues. Despite that fact, only about two-thirds of small business owners believe a disaster plan is necessary, and just 57 percent believe they’re prepared for a natural disaster. Respondents believe Internet and phone service would be most vulnerable during a natural disaster, and lost customer data would have the greatest impact on their company.


Although most people associate network downtime with storms, floods and fires, natural disasters are only responsible for a small percentage of outages. For example, a security breach is much more likely to take down your network, whether it’s caused by a careless employee, outdated security tools or sophisticated cybercriminals. A relatively minor car accident near your facility could cause a power outage that takes days to fix.


Organizations of all sizes, including SMBs, must have a strategy in place for restoring access to mission-critical data and applications with little or no disruption to business operations, regardless of the cause of disaster. Every minute of downtime will cost your company in terms of dollars and reputation.


The good news for SMBs is that new technology is bringing enterprise-grade disaster recovery capabilities to smaller organizations. Cloud-based backup, storage and disaster recovery services eliminate the need to purchase and maintain equipment onsite and manage a remote backup site. The emergence of mobile enables employees to remotely access data, applications and business systems in the cloud from virtually any Internet-connected device. With the cloud, you pay only for those resources and services you use.


Other disaster recovery options for SMBs include server virtualization, which makes it possible to create a remote copy of an entire data center to ensure fast recovery times. Many organizations are turning over disaster recovery responsibilities to an outside managed services provider. This enables an SMB to leverage the provider’s world-class expertise and technology and spend less time on day-to-day disaster recovery tasks.


SMBs should focus on backup and security to ensure the effectiveness of their disaster recovery strategy. The data on a server, computer or mobile device is typically much more valuable and important than the technology itself, so you need to make sure that data is protected and regularly backed up.


Are you completing backups? Are they working? How frequently are you backing up your data, applications and business systems? How will you access them when the network goes down? Is your security software up to date? Is the network being monitored to detect potential threats? What preventive measures are being taken to minimize the impact of a disaster? When was the last time you tested your disaster recovery plan?


ICG can help you answer these and other questions to ensure that your disaster recovery strategy works. Let’s sit down and go over your company’s business requirements, backup processes and security infrastructure so we can help you develop a plan that minimizes the downtime, cost and impact of a disaster.