A quick scan of the news over the past year demonstrates that disasters such as fire, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, and power outages are real-world challenges for communities across the country. In this environment, business owners need to prepare for the possibility of how such disasters can affect the safety and security of customer data. Unfortunately, a 2017 Nationwide Property & Casualty survey indicates that 2 out of 3 small business do not have a recovery plan.
Small businesses with an emphasis on networked online data must prepare for disasters that might affect their physical offices as well as their access to vital digital resources. Most business analysts recognize that creating plans for such disasters are an essential business step. The plan should outline the steps requires recovering the business from a catastrophic loss (such as a loss of an office space) as well as the steps needed to keep the business running in case of the temporary loss of data access, electricity, and/or key personnel.
Comprehensive disaster recovery plans should cover a wide-range of issues and responsibilities. This includes communication protocols for contacting fellow workers, safety procedures in case of evacuation, contingency options for data access, and an equipment inventory outlining existing hardware/software as well as specific vendor contacts.
Particular attention to computer and networking issues is essential for businesses working in the online environment. Planning for circumstances that prevent or delay access to customer data, financial information, or networked resources requires documentation of existing technical equipment and business processes. This includes an awareness of technical issues such as malware, viruses, and failing equipment as well as how natural or human disasters can affect access to data and basic business functions.
For companies with essential digital data, it is critical to have a robust approach to data backup. For financial and accounting data, proper encryption technology and data handling processes ensure client confidentiality and data security. Data can be encrypted prior to any transmission and can remain encrypted with an online professional archival management company. While local backup of data remains important, online backup offers proven protection and relieves you from having to focus on the specific details of digital security issues.
Any business endeavor encompasses some element of risk. As recent regional events, such as hurricanes in Texas or fires in California, have highlighted, disasters affect thousands of businesses. The threat to your own business is real and a disaster recovery plan provides the framework for the most appropriate responses when your own business faces unexpected challenges. Planning for the unexpected protects your business. The steps you sow today to prepare will reap benefits down the road.