Small Business – Preparing Your Business for an Active Hurricane Season
Author: Hugo G. Perez, Managing Director, UDT
When it’s time to prepare for hurricane season, most small business owners like you, think of home preparation and sometimes overlook the importance of preparing your business. Aside from creating safety protocols for your personnel, establishing proactive communications with customers, suppliers, etc. … you will need to protect the critical digital assets (i.e. documents/files, customer/vendor databases and other ‘priceless’ data) that are essential for your business to operate.
Backing up data to a USB-removable storage device (i.e. external hard drive) is a good idea but keep in mind that such devices are cheap, but not typically commercial-grade which means that they fail (and fail often). As an alternative, look to today’s most reliable/cost-effective solution for data backup … the Cloud. There are several reliable cloud storage service providers such as Microsoft, Dropbox, Carbonite, and many, many others.
There is more. Testing your data backup by restoring a file, folder, or the entire backup is considered a best practice and a must!
But wait, there is more. Having a solid backup of your business-critical data is only ½ of the exercise as you should also replicate the data geographically outside the hurricane-affected areas (not required if you are backing up to a reputable cloud service). Additionally, a data backup/test recovery strategy is a great start, but not having computing devices (i.e. PCs, Server), electricity, and/or internet access to restore your data and operate your business is a problem.
Here is where a vote for Cloud truly takes the spotlight:
You should look for a Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) provider to seamlessly allow you to bring up a desktop/server computing environment (using your data and line of business applications) on-demand when you need it most, from anywhere, … from any device. The two leading DRaaS providers are Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), but there are many, many others.
Understanding and effectively rolling out a DRaaS may require professional oversight because not all service providers understand small business. Managed Support/Cloud Service Providers (MSP/CSP) focused on small business usually have certified professionals on staff that follow D/R best practices without “breaking the bank.” They tend to offer practical and sound recommendations customized to your business and budget.
Finally, become well-versed by reading other Blogs and white-papers to understand why business continuity is not only about disaster recovery preparedness during hurricane season. It’s about allowing your company to stay up and running, no matter what Mother Nature is up to, and without compromising your company’s security. And yes, also consult with your business insurance agent about coverage and claims.