One drawback of a timid hurricane season like 2013’s is that the critical importance of remote backup, disaster recovery (DR), and business continuity (BC) plans tend to recede from the spotlight. With no immediate motivation to implement something many business owners perceive as cost-prohibitive or complex, these essential strategies can get lost in the shuffle of tax planning, end-of-year evaluation, and hardware and software upgrades.
Looking past the East and Gulf Coasts, however, to other parts of the country like the Rocky Mountain states, which have been affected by wildfires and floods this year, can wake you to the cold reality that disasters can be devastating to your business.
Consider these facts:
• Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut last October, led to an estimated $30 billion in lost economic activity.
• Recent flooding in Colorado destroyed hundreds of businesses and homes, causing more than $2 billion in economic damages.
• Only 6% of medium-sized companies that suffer catastrophic data loss ever recover, according to Best’s Underwriting & Loss Control Center.
• 43% of those businesses never reopen.
• And 51% close within two years of the disaster.
A recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research of 100 small business owners in the New York Tri-State area also found that:
• More than 66% have not created a disaster plan.
• Another 66% are not backing up all of their business data.
• 75% of small businesses are backing up their data electronically.
• But of those, 63% are using disaster-vulnerable local technology such as external hard drives and servers.
• And over 50% of all small business owners have not designated an alternative location to operate from in case their workplace is impacted by a disaster.
These statistics should make the idea of remote and offsite cloud-based backup, along with disaster recovery and business continuity plans, top of mind for any business owner. But navigating the cloud isn’t a cut and dry solution — and that’s especially true for small businesses, which require assurances that their data will be safely encrypted, stored in an identifiable way, and made available in the event of a catastrophe.
Another recent survey conducted by TwinStrata, which polled 288 IT personnel, found that 48% of those employing cloud storage as part of their remote backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity process could retrieve lost data and applications within only a few hours of an incident. In addition, the survey revealed that those who had invested in cloud backup were actually spending less money on disaster recovery — 47% of companies that did not have a budget for cloud anticipate spending more than $100,000 annually on disaster recovery, while only 27% of companies that strictly leverage the cloud plan to spend that much.
Three levels of service dominate this market:
• Free or extremely affordable consumer cloud storage options like Dropbox and Jungle Disk, which offer high levels of usability but low levels of security unless paired with encryption tools like Boxcryptor and TrueCrypt.
• Data backup options like Carbonite, CrashPlan+, and Backblaze, which allow for backup of some files but require individuals or business owners to ensure that their own backup works.
• Managed care remote backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity options like CMIT Guardian, which bring beefy 256-bit encryption, redundant processes, routine testing of backups, disaster management plan development, and complete system virtualization and backup to the table.
When choosing between commercially popular brands and managed care, ask yourself: do you want to oversee your data or grow your business? Managed remote backup and disaster recovery allows a business owner to focus on gaining clients and improving customer satisfaction, NOT worrying about whether his or her backup is working.
Before you make your cloud-based backup decision, consider how much economic havoc disasters like hurricanes, floods, fires, or even human actions can wreak in terms of downtime, lost revenue, and lost productivity. Don’t let anything dissuade you from taking all precautions necessary to protect your business’ most important asset: its data. Sign up for a free technology and security assessment and let CMIT Solutions help put remote backup, disaster recovery, and the cloud to work for your benefit.