Why your small business needs a disaster recovery plan

Running a small business can, at times, be hectic. You may feel as though there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything that's needed, as well as a few of the would be nice to have aspects. Your disaster recovery plan may fall into the nice to have category, that is, until you need to use it. This post highlights some of the reasons why having a disaster recovery plan in place can be beneficial for the here and now and not just as a maybe.

If you plan ahead then it can free up your time to focus on the now and making your business a success without the added worry of What if something happens?

So without further hesitation, let's look at some questions you may have.

What is a disaster recovery plan?

In basic terms, it's a document that sets out how you'll protect your business if anything untoward happens.

It should cover instances such as how you will get your IT systems back up and running and where you'll go if you can no longer gain access to your workplace. You may also want to include things such as theft of equipment or vehicles linked to the company.

What should be included in the plan?

Here is a brief layout of what a disaster recovery plan could look like and what you may wish to include in it.

  • Objectives - what is the plan for?
  • Scope - what services and locations will be covered by the plan?
  • Internal contacts - who will need to be told within your business?
  • External contacts - do you need to tell certain customers, suppliers or employees?
  • Incident response - which type of events will trigger the disaster recovery plan?
  • Disaster recovery procedures - what will you need to do for each type of event?
  • Alternative work location - where will you work if you can't get access to your usual workplace?
  • Insurance policies - what are your policy numbers and which number should you call?
  • Review - how often should your plan be reviewed and do you need to check that it works?

This list isn't a one size fits all and you may want to add other items to it depending on the nature of your business. For example, if you run a mobile business, you may need to include alternate transport arrangements for if your vehicle is stolen.

Who needs a disaster recovery plan?

You may think that only large companies need disaster recovery plans but they can be even more important for smaller businesses.

Large companies will usually have enough of a financial buffer in order to deal with any costly mishaps, whereas smaller firms are less likely to have the same level of working capital in order to get out of any disasters.

A disaster recovery plan can give you peace of mind in the same way that an insurance policy can as you'll know what needs to happen and when.

Protect your data - your business depends on it

If any of your business is conducted online - this could be email communication, order processing, or invoicing - you can't afford to lose access to your data. This could be down to human error, a cyber attack, natural disaster or any other reason, data loss can put your business at risk, and they can also be costly to correct.

So how can you protect your data?

  • Identify your essentials
    • Check your phone, laptop, PC and tablet for all the information you couldn't operate without should anything happen.
  • Back up your data
    • Make sure you regularly back up your essential information to a storage system that's separate from your computer, and possibly in a separate location from your workplace. This way if you can no longer gain access to your regular workplace you can still have access to your essential information.
  • Consider using of the cloud
    • Over the last few years the cloud has rapidly gained popularity due to the fact that you don't need to be in any particular location in order to access your information: all you need is an internet connection. With most providers you'll get a limited amount of space for free, with the option to pay and upgrade in order to get a larger allowance.

Summing up

Hopefully this post has given you some things to think about when it comes to disaster recovery plans. Your business may benefit from having a disaster recovery plan in place but make sure it is tailored to your business and suits your needs rather than having a generic one.

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