Starting June 1st, hurricane season is officially upon us. For those that live far from the East or Gulf Coasts, remember that you’re not out of harm’s way, either — severe storms have plagued the Midwest, Great Plains, and Texas this spring, while wildfires in Canada have devastated whole towns.
What does this have to do with your business? This time of year, concerns about remote backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity become much more critical — even if business owners and employees don’t realize it. Numerous studies indicate that catastrophic data loss is one of the most detrimental events that can occur to a business. The Small Business Administration estimates that nearly three-quarters of business owners don’t have a disaster recovery plan, while more than 80% don’t have natural disaster insurance and 70% don’t have access to a back-up generator.
Just as striking, 25 – 45% of businesses don’t open at all after a disaster — and 70% that suffer data loss go out of business within two years. Business surveys indicate that 95% of PCs are not adequately backed up, too. So why the nonchalant approach to an issue that that can bring even the strongest business to its knees?
So many people believe that natural disasters simply won’t happen to them. But in CMIT’s experience, more than two-thirds of all data disasters occur because of hardware failure, software failure, or human error. Which means that you need to be prepared for more than just a hurricane, fire, flood, or earthquake.
What can you do to prepare for hurricane season (and other possible natural disasters)?
1) Start with remote, redundant, encrypted data backups.
The vast majority of business backups are done on-site — often on drives located directly next to the computers they’re backing up. If fire, flood, or theft affects your business, those backups will often be destroyed too. Remote, secure backup can protect your data in dedicated locations that are frequently audited to assure top-level security and compliance with national standards.
2) Prepare risk assessments that lay out a plan to survive in the aftereffects of any data loss or business interruption.
Instead of getting bogged down in the details of a particular disruption, comprehensive disaster recovery planning should address the steps necessary to get your business up and running, no matter the event. Properly measured “recovery points” (how frequently your data is backed up) and “recovery times” (how quickly information needs to be back up and running after a data loss) is a crucial step toward post-disaster success.
3) Draw up a business continuity plan.
Many business owners think that, even if a disaster strikes, they’ll only be affected for a few days. This is one of the most indirectly harmful assumptions one can make — take Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy for instance, which both put more than 50% of the small companies in their paths out of business for good. Those that were able to maintain operations via mobile phone, laptop, or good old-fashioned handshakes were the ones that saw their reputations strengthened in the wake of those devastating storms.
4) Implement (and test!) a virtualization strategy before disaster strikes.
This touches on the “recovery time” point made above: depending on how quickly you need your data to be recovered, you should have a virtualization plan in place that can rebuild files on existing or secondary equipment in case of disaster. But if you haven’t tested your solution to see how quickly it can retrieve information, you could suffer. Top-tier offerings like CMIT Guardian can perform a full restore in less than 48 hours — and those hours can mean the difference between weathering a storm and succumbing to it.
That’s where CMIT Solutions is here to do: protect your data and keep your business running, no matter what happens. We specialize in backup and disaster recovery solutions that can help businesses of all sizes prepare for and survive even the most unlikely disasters.
In the last few years, CMIT Guardian has protected scores of businesses from hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and ice storms, along with the day-to-day perils of human error and hardware failure. As fellow business owners ourselves, there’s no greater satisfaction than helping our overcome such obstacles. Contact us today to learn more.