While 2010 was largely called the year of the disaster, 2011 actually saw an increase in the number of disasters. The Huffington Post reports that in 2011, thus far, the U.S. has had a record 10 weather catastrophes costing more than a billion dollars. SMBs that have not had to implement their disaster recovery, much less those that don’t have one in place at all, may see their businesses tested by Mother Nature in 2012 like never before.
Yet 2011 research showed that organizations do not understand the importance of disaster preparedness. Half of SMBs do not have a disaster recovery plan in place, and 41 percent said that it never occurred to them to put together a plan while 40 percent stated that disaster preparedness is not a priority for them.
While larger enterprises have plans in place, disaster recovery is often an area that is shortcut when budget is needed elsewhere. As SMB owners get ready to ring in the New Year, Symantec recommends that SMBs make the following resolutions in order to be better prepared in 2012:
- Resolution #1: Stop procrastinating. Do not wait until after a disaster to think about what you should have done to protect your information. Not only is downtime costly from a financial perspective, but it could mean the complete demise of your business. SMBs can’t wait until it is too late, and need to begin mapping out a disaster preparedness plan today. A plan should include identification of key systems and data that is intrinsic to the running of the business. Basically, identify your critical resources.
- Resolution #2: Don’t take shortcuts. To reduce the risk of losing critical business information, SMBs must implement the appropriate security and backup solutions to archive important files, such as customer records and financial information. Natural disasters, power outages and cyberattacks can all result in data and financial loss, so SMBs need to make sure important files are saved not only on an external hard drive and/or company network, but in a safe, off-site location. 2012 will also see the cloud bring more options for SMBs who need a simple, affordable, secure way to backup and restore their critical data and systems.
- Resolution #3: Ask for help. Most SMBs don’t have the staff or expertise to do it all themselves. In 2012, it’s time to acknowledge this and turn to valued partners for their insight. They can advise you whether traditional software, a cloud solution or appliance is the right backup model for you; they can even help develop that disaster preparedness plan you’ve been putting off. SMBs employees also play a key role in helping to prevent downtime, and should be educated on computer security best practices and what to do if information is accidentally deleted or cannot easily be found in their files. Since SMBs have few resources, all employees should know how to retrieve the businesses’ information in times of disaster.
- Resolution #4: Test and retest. After a disaster hits is the worst time to learn that critical files were not backed up as planned. Regular disaster recovery testing is invaluable. Test your plan anytime anything changes in your environment. If frequent testing is not feasible due to resources and bandwidth, SMBs should at least review their disaster preparedness plan on a quarterly basis.