How quickly can you recover? Of companies that had a major loss of business data, 43% never reopen and 29% close within two years.* Whatever the size of your organization, you need to protect yourself against loss of the information you need to run your business today, and going forward. To prevent becoming one of the painful statistics, you need to have plans in place to protect you, your employees, and your families.
Of course business continuity planning needs to include alternatives for relocation, restoration of equipment, succession, and any other aspects your business requires to keep it functioning in the event of disasters large and small. Disaster recovery is the name given to a subset of business continuity planning that focuses on the information systems that support your business functions, which is our focus here.
Amazingly, we still sometimes hear, “I do things the old fashioned way – pen & paper – and I have no interest in changing.” Personally, having started out as a file clerk at age 15 when some people still used typewriters and carbon paper, I am so thankful that we no longer have to search through rooms of paper files (aka - kindling) for a misplaced or lost invoice copy. Even with the best filing system, it is typically time consuming to locate and copy invoices or orders on request, or to research what work or items a customer has received, or still needs. Add all the combustible materials of an automotive business environment into the mix, and fire is a very real danger. Other than microfilm stored offsite, disaster recovery is pretty much impossible in this antiquated scenario.
So let’s assume you are computerized. How much time can you afford to be down? How much time can you afford to spend re-entering data? Why would you want to? Yet many businesses fail to protect their data, which is truly a major asset of their business. Keep your virus protection current. Save your data regularly and securely to avoid lengthy down-time.
Because your digital data is still at risk from natural or human-induced disasters, whether you store your data locally or online, redundancy is a smart idea, even today when data corruption is a rarity. Your data should be stored offsite at a secure location by people who know what they are doing when it comes to data protection. Make sure that those you entrust with your data have detailed disaster recovery plans of their own in place. Additionally, you may want to copy your key data regularly onto a portable storage device that you periodically take to a secure location.
The fundamental step of disaster recovery planning is to ensure your data is protected. A secure business management software system with offsite data backup will help. You’ll have one less thing to stress about, and couldn’t we all use that?
Because “small business” is typically not as focused on data security as are larger corporations, the Better Business Bureau has developed a toolkit that is accessible online, which you may find helpful. **
The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) defines “small business” by either revenue or number of employees. For example, automotive repair shops with $7 million or less annually and tire dealers with $14 million or less annually qualify as small businesses by the U.S. Federal Government. If you’d like to search for your specific industry, you can copy the link below to the SBA’s 2012 size criteria table. ***