Are you prepared for a disaster? An introduction to disaster recovery for small businesses
14th July 2015
Many small businesses admit to having no formal plans in place for disaster situations. Surveys show this is for a number of reasons, including concerns about the cost or complexity of implementing a disaster recovery plan. Some business owners simply think it won’t happen to them and therefore having a plan in place is overkill.
But with IT playing such as central role in the operation of many businesses, disaster recovery and business continuity planning is vital, no matter how small your business.
What is disaster recovery?
A disaster recovery plan (often called DR plan or DRP) ensures that in the event of a disaster, crucial data and IT systems can be recovered as soon as possible, protecting your business from the effects of negative events. It ensures that whatever caused the problem – from a fire to human error – your business can get back up and running with minimum disruption.
Having backups is a key part of disaster recovery, but it is more than that. A backup is a copy of your data, while a disaster recovery plan is the process of how you will recover that data and get your business back into operation.
How would your business cope in a disaster?
You might think it will never happen to you, but over a quarter of businesses (26%) say they have had an incident that caused them to put their disaster recovery plan into action. When that happens, the statistics say that nearly half of businesses (40%) are unable to recover from the disruption, and are out of business within two years.
Disasters in this sense – causing a loss of data or system operations – can be caused by a huge range of events, from someone accidentally deleting the customer database or a mouse chewing through the server cable to more ‘traditional’ disasters such as fire, theft, floods and power cuts. Or even terrorist attacks. How would your business cope in these situations?
Although smaller businesses don’t often see the need for a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, they are normally the hardest hit if the worst happens. Extended downtime can lead to loss of business and cash flow problems, quickly causing serious problems in businesses without the reserves to cope.
What do small businesses need to do?
Thanks to cloud services, it has become easier for small businesses to have a cost-effective disaster recovery system. Moving your email and files to a cloud-based system such as Office 365 can also help speed up recovery processes.
However, simply moving to the cloud does not constitute a disaster recovery plan – in order to be ready for a disaster situation, you need to put a plan for recovery in place and review it periodically. It is also vital to run a test, checking your procedures work and identifying any issues, before a disaster takes place.
Not got a plan? Contact us for help and advice
Get in touch for a free, no-obligation review of your disaster recovery processes.