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Disaster Recovery Plans: Do You Have One?
Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are issues that almost all small businesses fail to think about. More frequently, they decide they haven’t the resources to address such “unthinkables.”
If your business was down for 1-2 days or more, what costs would you incur?
Lost revenues and lost productivity. These are obvious. You won’t make the money that you would have if you remained open. This is especially true if you provide a service. Services are inherently tied to time, and time cannot be re-created. Sure, you can work extra hours next week, but it won’t be a service provided at the time it was expected. However, even if you provide a product that can be purchased next week instead of today, a customer didn’t get it when they most wanted or needed it.
There are other far more serious consequences of business downtime than just unsold goods and services. There are the intangibles that can’t be so easily measured but have long-term consequences. For example
Helping the competition – You give your competition a real edge. Present clients and potential ones may go to a competitor while you are down. Not all will return. Your competitors now have ammunition against you to use in sales pitches.
Employee frustration – Employees will carry the burden of the extra hours and stress of helping get things back together. That can lead to a lot of frustration, which if things don’t get back to normal quickly, can damage long-term productivity. Most importantly, it can damage the respect they have for management (that means you). In general, they will recognize that you didn’t have the foresight and wisdom to anticipate the need to create disaster recovery and continuity plans. How can that not damage their trust and support for the company and you?
Negative brand reputation –Your customers will also wonder how you couldn’t have cared enough to make plans to handle trouble. Think of the negative way a customer sees it. The event suggests a company that doesn’t think ahead. A client is not “off base” to feel angry that you didnt care enough to make plans to support him if a disaster hit. Also, if you can’t handle disasters well, what else aren’t you handling properly?
These are just a few of the reasons everyone needs to consider disaster recovery. To learn more, see our e-guide “Staying Alive: The Definitive Guide to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for Small Businesses“.
The foundation of any successful business continuity solution is the ability to retrieve data from any point in time from anywhere. When the topic of data recovery and business continuity comes up, you get the feeling that many decision makers at smaller businesses and organizations wish they could channel their inner six year old, simply cover their ears, and sing "La, la, la. I Can't Hear You. I'm Not Listening."
Everybody thinks bad things only happen to other people. Just because we hear about a fatal car accident on the morning news, doesn't mean we fixate on that news when we ourselves get into a car and drive to work.
So no matter how many times the owner or executive of a small to midsize business (SMB) hears of other small businesses being crippled by hurricanes, tornados, fires, or flooding, they aren't necessarily overcome with fear to the point that they feel an urgency to take action.
Sure, they may think about backup and data recovery solutions a little more that day, but not enough to initiate immediate change or reverse a lenient approach to their processes.
If you fall into this category, here are eight cold hard truths to consider
- It isn't natural disasters or catastrophic losses like fires that take down small businesses but something far more sinister – malware. Cyber attacks through malware have grown exponentially in the past four years. Malware is hitting everything from PCs to Macs to mobile devices and it's inflicting damage.
- Over half of the small businesses in the U.S. have experienced disruptions in day-to-day business operations. 81% of these incidents have led to downtime that has lasted anywhere from one to three days.
- According to data compiled by the Hughes Marketing Group, 90% of companies employing less than 100 people spend fewer than eight hours a month on their business continuity plan.
- 80% of businesses that have experienced a major disaster are out of business within three years. Meanwhile, 40% of businesses impacted by critical IT failure cease operations within one year. 44% of businesses ravaged by a fire fail to ever reopen, and only 33% of those that do reopen survive any longer than three years.
- Disaster recovery solution providers estimate that 60% to 70% of all business disruptions originate internally – most likely due to hardware or software failure or human error.
- 93% of businesses unable to access their data center for ten or more days filed for bankruptcy within twelve months of the incident.
- In the United States alone, there are over 140,000 hard drive crashes each week.
- 34% of SMBs never test their backup and recovery solutions – of those who do, over 75% found holes and failures in their strategies.
It's critical that small businesses review their backup and disaster recovery processes and take business continuity seriously. Given the vulnerabilities associated with the cloud and workforce mobility, the risk of critical data loss today is quite serious and firms must be truly prepared for the unexpected.