Disaster can strike at any time – and without any notice. It could be a well-executed cyberattack, an unintentional human error resulting in a data breach, a devastating natural disaster, or a citywide power outage. Whatever the cause, these disasters have the ability to disrupt or even destroy small businesses. One way small businesses can mitigate the effects of a disaster is through disaster recovery.
What is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery is part of an organization’s greater business continuity plan that includes data backup, data storage, emergency power sources, and hot sites with operational workstations.
But, disaster recovery itself, as its name implies, is all about getting systems up and running again after a disaster has occurred. Its focus is on the restoration of IT functions and accessing backups.
Why is a Disaster Recovery Strategy Important for Small Businesses?
It’s not a matter of if a disaster will strike, but when. However, that doesn’t stop many small business owners from betting against it. Studies show that 75% of small businesses have an “It’ll never happen to us” mentality and forgo enacting a legitimate plan of action. Unfortunately, that doesn’t often turn out well. FEMA reveals that 40-60% of small businesses never reopen following a disaster and another 25% that do reopen fail within a year.
Not only can disasters damage and possibly destroy data and equipment, they also result in downtime that can result in loss of business and damage to your reputation. Consider this: nearly half of all website visitors expect load times of less than two seconds, and 40% will exit the site after three seconds. When small businesses are trying to compete with industry giants, often setting themselves apart through superior customer service, downtime can be an unacceptable loss of business.
Four Tips for Your Disaster Recovery Plan
1. Determine Recovery Objectives
Part of forming a disaster recovery plan is determining your Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs). RTO requires calculating how quickly you need to recover to determine what preparations will be necessary, while RPO requires determining how much data you can afford to lose so you can decide backup frequency.
Ideally, you want these numbers to be as close to zero as possible, but the closer they are to zero, the greater the investment will be. Thankfully, unlike a large company like Amazon that may get a million visitors per day to their website, many small businesses watching their budget can afford looser RTOs and RPOs. Already have RTOs and RPOs in mind and wondering what downtime may cost you? Try out our free downtime calculator.
2. Create a Disaster Response Plan
In the event of a disaster, what steps should be taken? Your response plan should identify what employees can do to prevent the loss of assets, inventory, and other property. Additionally, it should instruct on how to access the VPN or company cloud service in order to work remotely, and how to contact other employees.
Drills can also be conducted to walk employees through relocation procedures for themselves and their equipment, and IT should regularly conduct testing including failover of data or systems replicated to a cloud service, restoration snapshots of virtual servers, and battery power (placing systems on a battery to determine how long they can run). Read more in our blog on training for disaster recovery.
3. Review Your Insurance Coverage
Does your current business insurance policy protect you in the event of a disaster? Many small businesses have insurance that pays for direct costs of a disaster (physical damage), but they may not be covered for indirect costs (disruption of and loss of business). To be safe, small business owners should have both types of insurance to protect themselves from disaster. Check into either a disaster recovery policy or cyber insurance.
4. Report Losses to the Small Business Association (SBA)
Disaster recovery for small businesses often begins here. The SBA assists small businesses throughout the country in the wake of disasters, offering advice and access to resources. Businesses can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, equipment, and inventory. Gain a better understanding of the support that is available to you in the event of a disaster by checking out the SBA website.
Create Your Disaster Recovery Plan with Confidence
Many small business owners understand the importance of disaster recovery—they simply don’t have the time, resources, or budget to put a plan in place. Today, there is a better way!
Cloud providers such as DSM offer disaster recovery services. Disaster Recovery as a Service, or DRaaS, offers easy implementation, fast recovery times, high levels of security, 24/7 access to experts, and more—all while being extremely cost-effective.
For more information, you can download our free ebook, DRaaS: Everything You Need to Know, check out our bundled or customized services for commercial business, or reach out to one of our experts to learn more about our disaster recovery plans for small business.