Erratic by nature, disasters (natural or man-made) can happen anywhere at any time, and often with little or no warning at all. Planning ahead is imperative to ensure that your business can get back to normal operation as quickly as possible, with minimal loss and damage. Small to medium-sized businesses usually think that disaster plans are only important for large enterprises. However, these days even small businesses can’t afford to operate without a disaster plan. Plus, recent technology innovations make disaster planning reasonably priced for virtually every business, regardless of size. For any business owner, three objectives exist for disaster planning: 1) the assurance of never losing critical information, 2) reducing downtime when emergencies happen, and 3) quick recovery after a loss of data. These three objectives translate into three IT services: Backups The process of protecting your data by copying it to a secure device so that it can be easily and and quickly recovered in case of loss. Disaster recovery The process of reinstating crucial business data and procedures after a disaster happens. Business Continuity A carefully constructed plan that specifies exactly how your company will recover and re-establish disrupted functions after disaster strikes. Of these three tasks, Business Continuity is the most comprehensive since it entails much more than a simple discussion of IT matters—it’s a thorough, systematic action plan. And though you definitely need to consider protecting your IT infrastructure and data, you must also consider what you and your staff should do if a disaster occurs. Is there a meeting place where your staff could gather in the event of a building evacuation? Do you have a plan to get in touch with all your staff and their emergency contacts to relay important information? Is there a way for you to communicate with customers to advise when you’ll resume operations? What will you do if one of your main dealers experiences a disaster? The significance of these three services should never be taken lightly, but unfortunately many small and medium-sized businesses ignore them. Why? Simply because when people think about disaster, the first things that pop in their minds are earthquakes, floods, and fires, and they figure there’s a low chance of those happening. But remember that there are also human-induced disasters such as hackers, unhappy employees who sabotage, and employees who thoughtlessly erase important data. Any of these could easily happen to you. You may already have a backup system in place, and perhaps, you have all three—backup, disaster recovery, and a business continuity plan. However, since business goals and technical environments constantly change, your plan requires regular assessment to ensure it’s still accomplishing all your needs. We can assist you in evaluating your existing disaster preparedness or suggest options if you don’t have plans yet. Contact us now for more details on how we can help you.