Like most business owners, you have a business plan, a marketing plan, a financial plan … I’ve even met business owners that have party plans for their celebrations!
These plans are the necessary tools for your business to thrive and survive – yes, even the party plan! But, do you have a disaster recovery plan? Do you have a plan in case of an emergency? According to Disaster Recovery Planning.org (drplanning.org), businesses that cannot access their data for more than 48 hours will likely be out of business within a year.
In the Detroit area, business owners may be putting their businesses at risk. Information from a survey released June 20, 2006 by AT&T indicates that 35% of 100 Detroit area businesses surveyed say that disaster planning (aka business continuity planning) is not a priority. The belief of those 35% is that the risk of a disaster at their company is too small.The irony here is that 32% of survey participants say that they have suffered from a disaster, which is 4% higher than the national average. The study cites that blackouts caused 69% of the disasters and 28% due to fire. 47% of participants say that the disaster cost them $100,000 per day, with 6% losing $1,000,000 or more per day!A predominant number of Detroit IT executives who say their company suffered from a disaster say it largely negatively impacted customer relationships (38%), 25% said that it resulted in reductions in employee workforce, while 22% added it negatively impacted supplier relationships.
Uninterrupted or short-term interruptions among businesses seems to rank low in priority. The “it won’t happen to me” syndrome seems to prevail among at least 35% of area business owners.
Perhaps these area businesses are perfectly comfortable putting hundreds of thousands of dollars or more on the line every day. Fortunately, 65% of businesses have a plan in place to recover from a disaster.
What is your attitude toward this? Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place? If your business suffered a disaster today, could you open the doors again tomorrow? What about next week? How about a month from now?
Imagine if 35%didn’tbanks didn’t bother locking their vaults or doors at night. Imagine if 35% of all jails didn’t check to see if prisoners in their cells. Imagine if 35% of all restaurants were never inspected for cleanliness or food contamination. Are you getting the picture?
There is potential for risk here. The AT&T survey did not specify what types of businesses comprised the 35%, but it is possible that a disaster among these businesses could put other organizations and communities at risk.
So, what are the businesses in the 65% category doing that the others are not? They are practicing something known as disaster recovery planning, or DR Planning. Basically, DR Planning is preparing an organization for a disaster, whether it be natural or human-induced. In the world of computers, the main emphasis is protecting and recovering data. Network Computing magazine calls data protection “Priority Number 1” for businesses in 2006. After all, business computer systems can be replaced easily enough, but the data that is the lifeblood of the business cannot.
Here in Michigan, we may never experience the devastation of a hurricane or earthquake, but we do get a smattering of severe weather, including tornadoes. Natural disasters, though, only make up a small percentage of disasters. Hardware failures cause the most disasters, with human errors (deleting files, improper shutdown, spilled soda, etc.) comprising the next largest percentage of computer downtime and data loss disasters.
The businesses in the 65% group realized, at some point, that they needed to have a way to prevent or recover from these episodes. In general, these companies follow, to some degree, the following steps:
- Create a policy statement for disaster recovery, including reasons, goals, resources, etc.
- Conduct a business impact analysis to determine which systems are most vital to the organization and who are the key personnel in the organization that need to be involved.
- Identify preventative measures – how can a disaster be avoided?
- Develop a strategy for recovering from a disaster.
- Develop a plan.
- Test the plan and train personnel – without doing this, what is the point?
- Maintain the plan, because technology and situations change frequently.
The moral of this story is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yes, putting safety measures in place will cost money. Yes, putting these plans in place may take time. But, in the end, if your company experiences a disaster, you will know exactly how to react, resume operations and minimize the financial impact.
As solid backup plan, including off-site data storage, is an essential part of a distaster plan. Acme Data’s remote backup service can solve two problems in a single process:
- Automated backups – no need to worry about leaving enough time at the end of your busy day to “squeeze” in your backups.
- Off-site storage of data – The backups are stored on Acme Data’s remote backup server at a in a data center, which is a restricted, secured location.
Typically, these two steps occur like this:
- Somebody in the office must remember to change the tape, CD or DVD on the PC to be backed up.
- The backup utility runs, writing the data to the tape, CD or DVD. If the backup is too large to fit on one tape, CD or DVD, then somebody must be present to change the media.
- The backup is then verified (most people do not do this step).
- Once finished, the tape, CD or DVD is then taken off-site (maybe). Oftentimes, the media is “secured” by storing it in a drawer or a box within a few inches of the PC. If the backup media IS taken off-site, it is usually taken home by the boss or the office manager. For other companies, the media is picked up by a storage company once each day or week (this wastes a lot of energy!).
Which scenario sounds the most efficient and secure?
Think about that, and then come to Acme Data’s website and take the data risk survey to find out if your data is at risk!