Small and medium-sized companies sometimes think that disaster planning is only for larger corporations, but recent changes in technology make such planning affordable for almost all business sizes. In fact, small businesses today can’t afford to be without such planning.
As a small business owner, you should have three goals when it comes to disaster planning: ensuring that you never lose critical data, minimizing downtime, and recovering as quickly as possible in the event of a disaster.
Those actions fall into three different categories: backups, disaster recovery, and business continuity.
What’s the difference?
- Backing up is the process of safeguarding your data by copying it to a safe medium for recovery in the event of loss.
- Disaster recovery is the process of restoring operations that are critical to your business after a disaster occurs.
- Business continuity is the creation of a plan that details how your organization will recover and restore interrupted functions after a disaster.
Business continuity is the most comprehensive of these three functions, because it involves much more than just a discussion of IT issues – it’s a detailed action plan. Certainly, you need to consider how you protect your IT infrastructure and data, but you also need to consider what you and your employees should do if a disaster occurs. Do your employees know where to meet in the event of a building evacuation? Do you have a plan for reaching out to all employees and their emergency contacts to communicate critical information? Do you have a way to communicate to customers when and how you’ll resume providing products or services? What will you do if one of your major suppliers experiences a disaster?
It’s hard to underestimate the importance of these three plans, but many small and medium businesses do. That’s because when most people think of disaster, they think of floods, earthquakes, and fires. They may even consider equipment failures. But there are human-induced disasters as well—for example, disgruntled or incompetent employees who delete critical information, or hackers. It could easily happen to you.
Perhaps you have a backup system in place. Maybe you even have backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans. But because business goals and environments change, any plan needs to be re-evaluated from time to time to make sure it’s still meeting all of your needs. We can help you evaluate your current plans, or sort through the options if you don’t yet have plans. Contact us for today for details.